This is a question that I seem to be asked an awful lot. I am told that we have accountants for the numbers, analysts for the sales figures and web analysts for the websites but, where in the mix does the information come together? One single report? I don’t think so!
So imagine you are working for a large organisation. You have a £2 million budget and are currently tasked with streamlining business operations and workforce numbers. Does cutting the sales-force mean that they are going to save money? Well yes because they are saving X in salaries. However, think of it this way. You have 100,000 people coming into your stores on a regular basis (known as footfall) and analysis shows that you need 150 staff to cope with the rate of footfall to attain a certain level of sales. If you cut that staff number then the remaining staff will have to work harder for the same amount of money – thus the only motivator could actually be having a job in the first place!
Now if we apply that same logic to the small business owner – yes you and me. We need to have valued intelligence and haven’t got the multi-million pound budgets of banks. However, look through your organisation and see what figures you can get and correlate them against one another.
Looks a scary equation and most people would look at this and say “No Thanks”. However, what if I told you that you could get valued insight / intelligence without having to worry too much about the algebra? Would you be interested?
Let’s look at a situation where a measurement strategy could be applied to a small business:
You are a builder.
- You are proud of your business and deal with all clients on a face to face basis. Clients feel comforted that you’re at the end of the phone when they need you.
- You freely give out your mobile number and have an email address but it isn’t brand focused e.g. hotmail.com.
- There is no web site presence at the moment
- There is no social media strategy because simply it wasn’t there when you were a kid and you don’t understand it.
- Most of your work comes from word of mouth from various structural engineers, architects and previous clients.
So where does the intelligence fit in. There isn’t a website so you can’t measure how many people are interested in your brand. Your mobile phone is your main point of contact but because there isn’t an IVR (interactive voice response) which can help you classify calls as sales, prospects, follow-ups or supplier related – this also isn’t measurable.
So we’re looking at understanding where most of the business comes from so the builder can understand where to concentrate his prospecting. If engineers and architects are generating 80% of the business leads then the builder needs to start looking at understanding where he can maximise his exposure to this particular population. More importantly the builder needs to understand how these engineers/ architects communicate. Do they use email, websites and social media to broadcast their message? So will your communication strategy need to adapt? More than likely.
Then this leads onto the more measurable side of things and the need for understanding more about metrics.
- How many phone calls received from the site?
- Is there a noticeable increase in calls on your mobile after launching the site?
- How many people come to your site?
- How many people browse rather than bounce*?
- When visiting your site where do people come from?
- If you’re doing online marketing then is it generating more business than its costing you?
And what is most important…. Is understanding how to get insight and actions from these metrics.
If people aren’t coming to your site, then ask why? Analytics and measurement will tell you (in part) where people are coming from. How do your competitors fair? Are their sites better? Do they have affiliation with professional bodies, they do online marketing, they do telemarketing, they do print marketing, and they have more pages that get indexed by the search engines? Take a learning point from this.
More to the point will a positive recommendation, a referral from a professional body, or any other form of marketing result in an increase in revenue? This is where a measurement strategy helps define marketing strategy and business strategy.
What about broadcasting your message via Twitter? How does this communication channel have an affect on your traffic? If you send ten tweets a week will you realise a 5% increase in traffic? Is this traffic going to be related to sales queries or product queries?
It is this sort of understanding which will give you the ability to adjust levels of input. So if you identify that twittering increases brand exposure without increasing sales then this is the best communications/marketing channel should you wish to maintain a brand position without increasing sales. This is great if your work schedule is near capacity.
- Look at where your marketing expenditure is concentrated
- Are you getting a demonstrable return on investment (ROI)
- Segment your activities into various sections – experimental, crucial, seasonal and normal.
- Try and apply financial values to all activities. This will enable you to review and compare all your marketing efforts.
Having something as simple as the list above can help you understand why measurement is important and it can be done on a minimal budget. The adding context (the why something has happened) and building this into an on-going strategy that is the hard part. But very very rewarding.