The reading level for this article is Novice

Before you spend any money on your next marketing or advertising effort, do your homework. Well-informed decision makers make better advertising and marketing decisions. You can estimate your ROI for almost any advertising and marketing tool – including direct mail and Internet marketing. Just consider the following elements:

§         Costs involved (add all costs involved, directly and indirectly)

§         Number of pieces / impressions / recipients reached

§         How much you will be charging for the products or services being promoted

§         The expected percentage of response (always calculate conservatively)

§         The expected percentage of sales from those responding (be conservative)

Your advertising and marketing success will depend a great deal on the quality of your target audience, how much revenue your new customers generates, and how many people responding to your advertising or marketing effort are likely to turn into buyers. An appealing design and great copy, plus a planned strategy (including frequency) can greatly improve the outcome. Keep in mind that every promotional piece, every advertising and every marketing tool you produce is carrying your product or company name. Your professional image is one of your most precious assets, so you must ensure that every and each marketing piece you produce, mail out, deliver or distribute is contributing to enhancing your professional image, promoting brand awareness and ultimately building up your brand equity.

Keeping track of response:

If you have not been keeping track of your advertising and marketing efforts, it’s time you put an effective system in place. It’s crucial to keep track of your advertising and marketing response so that you can better understand what is and what is not working in your current strategy. In every piece you produce or publish, you can insert a unique code or a call for action that will help you keep tab of responses. The response may be a visit to the store to redeem a coupon, a call to a unique toll-free number, a request for an specific brochure, a visit to a web page, etc. It’s hard to isolate one single effort within your entire media mix, but if you place a tracker on the ad, web page or reply coupon, it’s possible and very helpful.

Sales response is the ultimate number that provides reliable information on your success – although it does not depend 100% on advertising or on a single marketing tool, it can help you understand where your clients are coming from, what is prompting them to do business with you, how they respond to your marketing and advertising efforts.

Learn from the past:

Finally, consider how you have used marketing and advertising dollars in the past, how your ads and marketing tools performed. Did that 1/4 page ad work? If not, why? Was it timing, creative, audience, an external factor? What about that direct mail campaign? Did you pre-qualify your mailing list? Did you follow up with a second, third or fourth piece? Try to identify what made your previous effort work, or what caused it to flop. Advertising and marketing response (and therefore, your ROI) is affected by many factors but you can look back and use the actual figures for each campaign to predict your future ROI more efficiently. That will lead to a higher and higher ROI.

June 2004. © Mediamix Design & Publishing Inc. All rights reserved.

This Marketing article was written by Deia Farrell on 3/30/2005

Written by Deia Farrell, a Principal and Marketing Consultant with Mediamix Design & Publishing Inc., a full-service creative and marketing company in Florida.