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Marketing by numbers doesn't add up

Painting by numbers won't produce a masterpiece, and marketing by numbers won't do much for you either. It is difficult to measure marketing's direct effect on sales and profit in the short term. But in the long term it becomes clear that effective marketing does very well.

It's not a case of crossing your fingers and hoping - marketing doesn't require blind faith. It does take time.

Don't start spending your hard-earned cash on marketing without first establishing exactly what you want to get for your money. The goals you set for your marketing must help advance your company's overall aims.

But to measure the success of your marketing campaign you need to think beyond the obvious numbers. Sales, costs and profit are measures that should not be ignored but market share, distribution, customer gain and retention, and reputation must also be added to the equation. Get these right and sales and profits will follow.

There are three key factors that people often overlook in putting marketing to work:

  1. Your marketing efforts and activities must be sufficient to achieve critical mass. Advertising, canvassing, direct mail, etc. all require a minimum level of exposure, effort, energy, numbers and cost to work and achieve their effect. Inputs below these levels are not productive and are often completely wasted. Targeting your effort at the right prospects, in the right place, at the right time is also crucial.
  2. Don't forget to get your people on board. Make sure that everyone in the company is aware that marketing is not just adverts and promotions - that is 'merely' what the money is spent on. Marketing is what everyone does, and everyone should know what the key objectives of the company are. The message that surveyors, installers and support staff send out should match what you project in your sales and marketing. Everyone needs to pull in the same direction for it to be effective.
  3. Be realistic in timescale. Establishing awareness, reputation and brand values and translating them into a dependable stream of enquiries and sales takes time. Realistically two to three years of sustained effort. During that time your advertising and promotion will become increasingly effective. A short sharp campaign at the start may create little more than a ripple of interest that soon dies down. A similar campaign after two to three years sustained marketing will generate a flood.

Holding marketing to account is essential, but doing it by numbers doesn't always add up.

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