If You Didn’t Measure It, You Didn’t Do It!

Measure_MarketingHere at SmallOfficeCommunicator.net, we have a long held belief, that I brought with me when I started this project: if you’re going to spend money doing something, the only way to know if you accomplished your goal is to actually measure it. Here is a process I’ve used that works well to both define the problem that good small office communications should solve, and provides a yardstick to measure results.

The first step, analysis, breaks down into three main components:

  • Need – What is the problem, and what is the result we expect from the money we are about to invest?
  • Content – How will we move people to the desired result?
  • Measurement – What measurement will show that you actually met, or better, exceeded, your goals?

Need drives the entire process. You don’t want to spend the money to do something that doesn’t need to be done. A situation or a problem exists – and it usually has a measurable cost. You need to solve the problem and eliminate, or at least significantly reduce that cost.

You may have to invest time and/or money to solve the problem, but if the problem is well defined and quantified, not only can you reduce or eliminate the problem with appropriately targeted communications; you can also measure how well you did it. It could be increased sales, increased signups for a new program, or broader support within a community for a new service or idea. Whatever it is, it must have the necessary yardstick to measure success.

Let’s use an example to illustrate how this process might function and how well it can work.

Several years ago, a company was planning to introduce a new product into a fairly saturated market. Though the new product represented major innovations and would likely have been very successful by itself, the company needed to ensure that success and overcome several other issues.

The NEED – Define the situation or problem:

  • Moderate market share for existing product – #2 position in sales as reported within the industry
  • Lack of respect for the company because of “me too” or parity products in the past
  • Low company sales force morale from carrying unexciting products
  • Lack of personal contact by company executives with dealers across the country
  • An exciting new product to launch, including many firsts, under a new brand umbrella, based on a new and very unfamiliar technology – wanted to make the new brand equal the technology in the minds of dealers, dealer sales staff, and consumers

The GOALS – what were the desired measurable results?

  • Capture #1 sales position in the marketplace, as measured by published industry data
  • Establish the new technology and brand within the company, plus the dealers, and consumers
  • Build new levels of respect for the company brand and their sales force in the market place
  • Dealer owners pleased with access to company executives
  • Retail clerks educated and excited about the new technology/brand/product, and motivated to successfully sell it
  • A memorable event to keep the company “top of mind” for the foreseeable future.

 The Obstacles – What’s in the way?

  • Low respect for company in the market place – would dealers even listen?
  • Large number of outlets and clerks to be informed/trained/motivated across the country, preferably in as short a time as possible
  • The introduction would be in January/February, the worst time to travel a show around the country.

All of these elements defined the measurement criteria. Sales can be plotted against the launch. Market share is a standard industry published statistic, and can be plotted against the time of the launch and in the months after. Respect will be reflected in the attitudes of the retail clerks to the sales representatives calling on the stores and the how the products and the company are received after the launch. This, and how well the event was remembered, would show up in weekly sales call reporting.

Observable, accurate, and actionable.
The hallmarks of good metrics.

Now, let’s actually see how these needs point to the best tools to use to accomplish our goals.

The Action Plan:

  • First, a major National Sales Meeting to introduce the product to the company sales force – a real excitement-building event. This event needed to send the sales force out on the street HIGHLY motivated and educated, and ready to share that excitement with the sales staff at retail and motivate them to promote the new technology/brand/product. It would also be presented to company internal staff to get them excited by the new technology that the company would be selling.
    This national meeting would have two parts:
  1. The Product Introduction itself – a big screen, highly informative, exciting, highly motivational, and inspirational introduction to the product and the exciting concepts that were now available for this market, UNIQUE TO THIS PRODUCT.
  2. Extensive Product Training – Hands-on product training to send a highly educated sales force out fully qualified to successfully train dealer clerks around the country.
  • An innovative Press Conference to gain broad press coverage of the new product – additional image impetus for the company and the product to the dealer network and the buying public. This would have extensive, highly interactive and hands-on demonstrations of the never-been-seen-before new features of this product. The Press needed to help get the word out to the retail dealers and the public and it had to be from first-hand experience.
  • A Major Advertising and PR Effort followed the Press Conference to not only publish the product, but also the unique and powerful way in which it was announced.
  • A Continent Wide Road Show for the retail outlets.
  1. Impressive, big screen live event, toured to major cities in a number of major U.S. and Canadian markets. This was new to this audience – even in this market. The event would also feature extensive hands-on demonstrations to train the retail sales people how best to sell this exciting new technology.
  2. Company executives would travel with the show to deliver the corporate and product message face to face and “press the flesh”.

So what was the result? In a nutshell, a smashing success:

  • The company quickly moved from #2 in sales to a VERY strong leadership position … #1 in less than four months as measured by industry standards. Sales for at least one other company virtually stopped during the next several months after the introduction.
  • The event enhanced the visibility and credibility of the company as shown by comments in field sales call reports, industry publications, and the consumer press.
  • The new brand gained almost instant recognition by dealers and consumers alike.
  • Retail sales staff kept the company and brand top-of-mind for many YEARS after the event.
  • Sales remained top of market for many YEARS after the event.
  • The “Coat-Tail Effect” significantly improved sales for other company product lines.
  • The launch was so successful, that the process was repeated, successfully, many more times for later launches with the same winning results, again keeping company and brand very much “Top of Mind.”

This is a process that works:

  1. First, define the market, the goals, and the objectives
  2. Acknowledge the obstacles.
  3. Use the best combination of tools and resources to achieve those goals and overcome the obstacles
  4. Finally, because you have the proper measurements in place, you can make sure you actually do achieve, or better, surpass, your goals. You can report the actual return on your marketing investment.

But if you don’t measure it, how can you possibly know that you did it?

DanSig-02

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