Tracking ROI for Decision Making and Resource Allocation

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by | Oct 26, 2016 | Marketing & Branding

As senior living community leaders, many factors come into play when we make decisions, big or small. We have to weigh the thoughts and opinions of our fellow team members, and potentially board members, depending on where you work. Considering the views of our residents and their families is also key, and of course we all have our own personal experience and beliefs to draw upon.

One thing that all of these factors have in common is that they are based on opinion. Those opinions may be well-educated and well-informed, but they are still opinions. That’s why it’s important to include other factors in your decision making process – namely, key performance indicators (KPIs) and in particular, your return on investment (ROI) across your various initiatives.

“Measuring the ROI of your marketing and public relations efforts can be tricky,” says Taigen Thorne, Director of Public Relations & Media at SageAge Strategies. “The methods marketers use can often feel nebulous and confusing, especially to those not familiar with the marketing world. Fortunately, there are smart and simple ways to track the ROI on your marketing efforts, and the insight you gain can help inform your decision making.”

By tracking the ROI of your marketing efforts, you can gain insight that will lead to smarter decision-making and better resource allocation, which in the long term leads to money savings and better outcomes.

First, ask yourself: Are you paying close enough attention to your marketing metrics?

Signs you should start tracking your marketing ROI more closely:

  1. You can’t definitively say what sources are driving leads. Say you have multiple campaigns running – a bus-side ad, a large billboard and a direct mail campaign, for example. Can you definitively say which of these is driving leads, and compare their performance to each other? Do you know how many leads each is pulling in, and the quality of those leads? If not, you’re missing a huge opportunity to hone in on what’s effective and what’s not.

  2. Your marketing reports are confusing, and you have a difficult time discerning what matters. Marketing metric reports are confusing, no doubt about that! But if you aren’t clued into the key metrics that really matter – and more importantly, how those metrics tie into actual sales calls, leads, and customers – the report might as well be in Greek for all the good it’s doing your organization.

  3. You can’t definitively say how effective (or ineffective) your marketing efforts are. If someone asks you, “How many sales did your marketing efforts lead to last month?” and you can’t answer … it’s time to start thinking more deeply about the value your marketing could bring to your organization.

It’s worth noting that there are some metrics that marketing influences simply cannot be tracked. This includes things like, the number of people who saw an individual ad but didn’t act; the top-of-mind awareness generated by your marketing campaigns; buzz that develops in the community when people talk to one another (but don’t convert); and all the multiple touch points that a customer had with your community prior to converting on just one of those touch points.

That said, there’s still plenty we can track, and some simple ways to do it.

  • Step 1: Ask all your customers where they heard about you. It sounds really simple, but that’s because it is! You should have a running list of all the marketing efforts you are currently running or have ran in the past. From billboards to call campaigns, each matters. Start getting a handle on the effectiveness of your various efforts by asking your current and prospective customers how they learned about you. What you discover may surprise you. This information can help you make better decisions about where to allocate marketing funds, and what campaigns need to be revisited or eliminated entirely.

  • Step 2: Institute a contact management system for tracking all individuals in your sales funnel. If you don’t have a CMS in place, you’re not only doing more work than you need to, but you’re missing out on leads that get dropped due to human error. Putting all of your contacts into one place makes it much easier to draw conclusions about the quality of leads and where those leads are coming from. It could illuminate questions like, “What marketing campaigns pull in the most qualified leads, versus campaigns that pull unqualified leads?” Then, your sales team can do a better job focusing on people who are more likely to convert.

  • Step 3: Start putting codes on every single marketing material you put out. Asking your customers and potential customers is an excellent start, but not everyone will give you a useful or even honest answer, simply due to forgetfulness. Take the guesswork out of the equation by assigning tracking codes to every ad, mailer, flyer, and the like. This can be a specific phone number only assigned to that campaign or as simple as a word or number you ask customers to mention when they contact you. Ask your sales team to ask each lead where they heard about you, too, and put that information in your new CMS for better tracking.

Doing the steps described above will level up your marketing metric tracking tenfold, and provide you with insight about effectiveness that can help you make better decisions about where to spend your limited marketing funds. And guess what: This only just scratches the surface of the types of tracking you can implement. Get in touch with our team today to discover even more ways you can boost your marketing insight.

SageAge Strategies is a multiple award-winning, strategic growth and marketing organization that can provide market research expertise for your community. For more information, please call or email Adrienne Mansfield Straub at 570-601-1720 x100 / adrienne@sageagestrategies.com.

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