This hidden marketing metric could be a game changer in the way you advertise your business.
There is a hidden marketing metric, both on and offline, which many business owners have no idea exists or if they do, just flat ignore it.
Just like the elusive Higgs Boson (or God Particle) in the realms of particle physics, using this hidden metric in a marketing strategy could be the discovery that could radically change the way you look at your marketing efforts in the future.
I’ve been thinking of writing about this for a while now, but following several recent conversations, I decided it was time to put my fingers on the keys and get it done.
In these days of strategic marketing and sophisticated analytics, you can pretty much measure every action that takes place on a website or your social media estate, and be provided with lots of data that can tell you many things about the people who visit your online estate.
Age, gender, location, device, operating system, interests and many more nuances allow you to build up a picture of your audience so you can provide personalised marketing to them, among other clever things.
But this isn’t about what you can see through your analytical data, it’s about what you can’t see – or more importantly – don’t ask!
I have had several conversations with business owners recently who tell me their marketing efforts, both on and offline haven’t had the best results, using both social media and printed matter.
Of course, when someone sees your marketing on social media and clicks through or sends you a message through the social platform, it is easy to attribute that sale of your product or service to that particular ad. Or, if someone comes into your shop and tells you they got your details from a printed marketing advertisement, again, this is an easy connection to make.
This is all well and good and in a perfect world this would happen every time, but what happens when it doesn’t?
Take a look at this scenario and see if it sounds familiar.
Tom is at home one evening browsing on Facebook when he notices your ad for the ‘latest and greatest widget’, being a big fan of your widgets he clicks the ad, which takes him through to your website. There he reads all about your ‘latest and greatest widget’ and decides he wants to buy one.
He doesn’t have enough money to buy it there and then, as he doesn’t get paid until the 25th and it’s only the 9th, plus he’d like to see the new widget first as he has a few questions he’d like to ask about them. So, he decides that he’ll visit your shop the weekend after payday to see the widgets and make his purchase.
On the morning he is due to visit Tom calls ahead to make sure you still have the widgets in stock before he makes the trip to town. He Googles your business name and calls by clicking on the number on the Google listing, using his mobile.
The phone rings a couple of times then answers, the person on the other end responds, ‘Widgets R Us, can I help you?’
Tom says yes, ‘I’d like to know if you have the ‘latest and greatest widget’ in blue, in stock?’ the shop assistant says ‘yes we do’, so Tom asks can they save one for him until he gets there, to which the shop assistant agrees.
Tom gets in his car, drives to town, views and buys the widget and goes home again, to put his new ‘latest and greatest widget’ through its paces.
This happens to the shop with about 60% of their customers, they view the product online but prefer the personal service the shop provides, so go and buy from there.
At the end of the month, the business owner looks at the data for his latest ad and notices that whilst people had clicked through to see the ‘latest and greatest widget’ landing page, not many purchases had been made online and concluded that the ROI on the ad campaign was low.
He also notices that shop sales are up one month, but down the next, but when he asks the shop assistant why they think that might be, they say they don’t know. So the business owner just gets on with business and is thankful that they are selling their widget stock, although he’s not really sure where his customers are coming from.
However, based on the data in front of him he decides not to run his Facebook campaign next month, when the online traffic will be reduced, including the shop footfall.
This happens in businesses of all sizes all over the country every day but it could so easily be rectified by simply training customer-facing staff, either phone or face-to-face, to ask that all-important question ‘how did you hear about us?’, then get them to capture that information on a form or CRM system.
Of course, for shop owners or places of business that people can visit, there will always be an element of footfall that is just passing trade, but the rest of the time that person will have got your details from somewhere.
It could have been Facebook, Google, word of mouth or some other source, but unless you’re asking the all-important ‘how did you hear about us?’ question at the point of customer contact, then you’ll never know and your marketing metrics will never add up.
This marketing metric doesn’t require a lot of extra effort to execute, just a shift in awareness to ask THE question and capture THE data, but will reward you with helpful insights that will help you drive your future marketing strategies.