Measuring Marketing Strategy – Is It Working?

Let’s look at the term “marketing strategy”. Do you have one, or are you taking a shotgun approach and hoping you hit the target? Without a strategy and a way to measure the results you have no way of knowing what is working and what isn’t.

So what is a marketing strategy? Simply put, it is figuring out who your audience actually is and finding out what has meaning for them. People don’t buy what a business sells. They buy what has value to them. They buy something to solve a problem they have. What problems does your product or service solve?

There is a difference between strategy and tactics. Both are important, but having a strategy will help you analyze which tactics are working and which are not. Maybe you have heard of the Wanamaker dilemma – “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”

How Do You Measure Your Results?

That is where strategy and analytics can help. But how do you do that in this online\offline world of mixed media – digital, social, print, etc.? You use data analysis to track and refine your marketing efforts; to help figure out what is working and what isn’t.

What are some of the tactics you can use to accomplish this? Let’s look at a few.

Facebook Insights – There are two components to Facebook Insights:

  •  Page Insights – Page Insights looks at the interactions with your page such as likes, comments and shares. You can see how many people interacted with a particular post; how many shares and likes it has received, and what the reach of a post was. Engagement is one of the most important stats to monitor. You can also download the Page Insights data, which is important if you want to look at website clicks instead of likes, shares and comments.
  • Audience Insights – Audience Insights helps you learn more about your target audience on Facebook, including information about geography, demographics, purchase history, etc. For example, if you are doing a product promotion, you might want to know how many people on Facebook live near your store, past purchase behavior, demographics, and do they tend to buy online or in store.

Call Tracking

  • Call Tracking allows you to assign different phone numbers to different marketing campaigns. This way you can track the effectiveness of various campaigns.
    • You can assign call tracking numbers to mail pieces or Google AdWords campaigns and use that to A\B test the different ads and mailings. The call tracking software will show you which calls came from which ads.

UTM Tracking

  • UTM codes are some extra text that you add to a URL to tell Google Analytics (and now Bing as well) a little bit more about the link. I won’t go into the technical details here, but I will explain a little bit about where they came from later. This is a sample of what one looks like:
    • Everything after the “?” is your UTM Code and can be used to track general information like total traffic from social media to granular details about an ad campaign.
  • Why is UTM Tracking valuable?
    • A proper UTM link can, at the very least, answer 3 important questions
      1. Where is the traffic coming from?
      2. How is it getting to me?
      3. Why is it coming to me?

By using the three or four UTM parameters:

  • Source
  • Medium
  • Content (optional)
  • Campaign

You can tell Google Analytics how to sort the incoming traffic so you have detailed information about the traffic from your marketing campaigns. This allows you to look at the data and see what is working and what isn’t. What needs to be tweaked and what needs to be discarded.

So What is UTM Anyway?

UTM stands for Urchin Tracking Module. It was a web statistics analysis program developed by Urchin Software Corporation. Urchin was acquired by Microsoft in 2005 and became the basis for Google Analytics. In 2009 Google integrated AdWords with Analytics and in 2012 discontinued Urchin and Google Analytics, derived from Urchin, became its own product.

Time to Start Tracking Your Marketing Efforts

By using various methods to track your marketing efforts and analyze that data, you can make your marketing efforts more effective and spend your marketing dollars wisely. Instead of throwing things at the wall and hoping something sticks, you have data to look at and analyze, so you can refine your marketing strategy.

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