With any marketing plan, there’s a well-organized action plan that outlines area by area, specific digital marketing tactics and outreach activities to meet your goals. But as your plan unfolds, what are the best ways to evaluate your marketing efforts? It’s in the implementation process where you measure and evaluate your marketing plan to see what’s working and what’s not and make adjustments accordingly.
As you review your marketing and PR roadmap, look at all the media channels you’ve invested in – paid, shared, earned, and owned. Do they support each other? Your brand and its look, feel, and messaging, should be cohesive and consistent, so that as you’re building frequency and momentum, you’re building build like, know, trust, and “believability” – which leads your target audience to want to learn more.
How to Evaluate Your Marketing Plan
If you’re like most business owners, you have an informal marketing plan or at least a general idea of what your marketing direction will look like for the next few months. A detailed marketing strategy written by a small business marketing consultant may produce better results, but no matter what you have in place, it’s important to evaluate your marketing plan, and its effectiveness. Here are four ways to measure and evaluate your marketing.
1. Measure your marketing efforts
In marketing, anything worth doing is worth measuring. If you’re not measuring your efforts and evaluating the results of your marketing plan, you’re probably wasting time. Some small business owners look at measurement from a broad perspective, others more carefully. Some programs, like Google, your website, or social media sites, will have analytics dashboards where you can see your Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs.
Other aspects of your marketing will require you to collect information to assess their effectiveness, which is where landing pages and customer surveys come into play. Each stage of the marketing funnel — awareness, interest, consideration, and conversion – can be measured with as much detail as you like.
A marketing plan consultant should always ask which measurement tools you have in place, and how often you’re using them. Here are some common analytics:
- Site-Specific Analytics
- Google Analytics
- Website Analytics
- Focus Groups
- A/B Testing Results
2. Establish SMART goals to track results
Ultimately, the evaluation of any marketing plan is driven by your goals, better known as SMART goals; Smart, Achievable, Timely, Measurable, and Realistic. List your goals so you know what to measure, decide what KPI (key performance indicators) you’ll use to measure that goal, and then find resources to gather those KPIs.
KPIs can be measured in sales, finance, operations, and marketing – and may be customer- focused, measuring retention or churn. Marketing KPIs might track monthly website traffic, the number of online chats which resulted in sales, ranking for keywords in the top 20 search engine results, blog articles published over a certain time, white papers downloaded per campaign, etc.
When you look at your KPIs, you’ll see what’s working in your marketing plan and what’s not. You’ll also be able to allocate marketing spend to those activities that bring in the best results.
3. Measuring against timelines
As Peter Drucker once said, “What gets measured gets done.” Set up a timeline for measurement and reminders on your calendar so you know when to check your KPIs. When evaluating a marketing plan, be sure to compare year-over-year data, while also making note of when you make changes, add new strategies, or have significant events that impact your business. Measurement does not happen in a vacuum.
4. Factors that impact your Return on Investment (ROI)
The final way to evaluate a marketing plan is to look at your MROI (marketing ROI), and the factors that have impacted your return on investment. To get a sense of what could be impacting your ROI, here are a few considerations to keep in mind during your evaluation:
- Look at where your traffic and prospective customers are coming in from. You may have a CRM that automatically does this, or it may be a more organic process.
- Are you paying more for leads than the actual number of new leads? Tracking allows you to see how many new leads are coming in. If you’re paying for lead generation, is it worth the investment or do you need to tweak your marketing strategy?
- Examine the cost of acquiring a new customer. Look at the amount of time, staff resources, ad budget, or outsourced help that’s required. What can you cut or revise? How can you streamline the process?
- What’s your response rate? How much time does it take for you or your sales team to get back to prospects? Do you have a chatbot that captures leads 24/7? Is there a multi-step process that delays contact? Although this isn’t directly related to your marketing plan, it is to your sales plan – and ultimately your revenue and profitability projections.
- What about sales and revenue growth? One common goal in almost every industry and company size is sales and revenue growth. If that’s one of your marketing goals for 2023, measuring sales and revenue will be a major indicator in evaluating your marketing plan and digital marketing implementation.
- What are your customers saying? Lastly, although it may be underrated and more difficult to track, look at what customers are saying about you, online and offline. If there are more than a few negative reviews about your company and particular ways you’re doing business, there’s probably room for improvement. Have great reviews from customers? Here’s how to use testimonials in your marketing.
Bottom line: Evaluating Your Marketing Plans Are Important for Success
You don’t have to be a marketing expert to measure success. Once you make a commitment to assess and evaluate your marketing, prioritize what’s most important and link metrics to your company’s goals. Then you can determine what to change to improve results.
You may have a winning marketing plan, but if you don’t follow the plan and measure results, how do you know how you’re really doing? Second guessing doesn’t pay the bills.