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How to Evaluate the Performance of Your Marketing Programs



The marketing campaign you’ve been pulling all-nighters on for weeks has finally come to life. All of the items on your to-do list have been crossed out, your marketing budget has been spent, and you decide to call it a day. But, wait. How do you and your colleagues know how to feel about the campaign? How do you determine whether or not to do it again at this time next year? What do you tell your superiors when they ask how things went? It is time to evaluate the performance of your completed marketing program.


Defining Success


What does it mean to be successful? Merriam-Webster defines success as a “degree or measure of succeeding,” or a “favorable or desired outcome.” In order to determine whether or not a marketing program has been a success, it is critical to measure the outcome of the marketing event that took place. But in order to successfully evaluate a completed marketing campaign, you must have established a set of criteria from the outset that will allow you to measure the impact of your campaign.


The Importance of Marketing Program Evaluation


It is important to evaluate each and every one of your marketing programs for a variety of reasons. For one, you must be able to speak intelligently about the success of a marketing campaign to a variety of stakeholders. Another reason to evaluate campaign performance is to inform future budget planning. If a marketing program proves to be an efficient use of budget, a case may be made to increase budget for next year. If not, a shrewd marketing manager would know to recommend that their company invest elsewhere. Finally, evaluating marketing programs allows you to critically review both program successes, as well as shortcomings, and apply key learnings to future programs.


Key Stakeholders in Campaign Evaluation


A variety of key stakeholders will be interested in understanding how a company’s marketing programs are performing. A few of those possible stakeholders include:

  • Management: Management will be interested to know if the marketing budget they have signed off on is going to good use, and laddering up to the larger objectives of the company.

  • Board Members: Board members may be interested to hear about a company’s latest news and updates, which likely include marketing initiatives.

  • Investors: Similarly, investors will want to know that a company is taking strategic steps toward achieving its goals, mission, and vision.

  • Media: Media may report on a company’s marketing initiatives, and there is no better way to steer a positive story than to provide hard facts and statistics of a marketing campaign’s impact.


Solutions & Recommended Approach


In order to measure the performance of a marketing campaign, you must first establish campaign goals or objectives, sometimes referred to as key performance indicators (KPIs). Start by thinking critically about what you hope to achieve by bringing your marketing program to life. One way to go about this is to consider at which point in the marketing funnel you hope to connect with your audience. You may want to start at the top of the funnel and build brand awareness. Moving along the funnel, you may want to engage your audience and lead them to consider your brand. Finally, you may be focused on increasing conversions through your campaign and moving your audience to the point of purchase or participation. Once you get clear about what you are trying to achieve with your campaign, you can start to set some quantitative goals.

For example, if your objective is to build awareness for your company with your campaign, you may want to set a goal related to the number of people you touch with the campaign. If your objective is related to engagement, you will want to establish a KPI related to the actions that your audience takes to engage with the content or event you are bringing forward. If your objective is to convert your audience, you will want to set a goal for revenue earned, dollars raised, number of individuals signed up, or something similar.

Once you have quantifiable, tangible goals put in place, it will be easy to evaluate how the results of your marketing campaign align with your KPIs. In cases where the impact of your campaign meets or exceeds KPIs, you can consider the campaign to be successful. In instances where your campaign results fall short, you can dig deeper to identify reasons why your campaign did not perform as desired, so that you may make adjustments and do better next time.


How CLASS is Helping Nonprofits Strengthen their Marketing Strategies

Successful marketing programs begin with great marketing strategies. Organizationally, it is important to have great leaders in place who will guide their teams to set and follow strategic plans. Here at CLASS, we encourage the measurement of organizational success as an ongoing practice. If you feel your organization lacks such leadership in marketing, you may wish to seek partnership with a consultancy who can guide your campaign in the right direction.

Conclusion

A marketing campaign is only as strong as the results it produces. You can set your organization up for success by implementing a quantitative framework for performance measurement during program development. Then, as a program comes to a close, you simply need to compare goals with results, and draw conclusions accordingly. You can improve your organization and its marketing efforts by consistently implementing a sound strategy for marketing program evaluation.


About The CLASS Consulting Group The CLASS Consulting Group is a trusted advisor to the board of directors and senior leadership of the Bay Area nonprofit organizations. It is a boutique management consulting firm headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area that provides consulting services to senior management and board of directors of nonprofit organizations and offers community leadership opportunities to professionals.    Since 2002 CLASS’ volunteers have been assisting nonprofit organizations in the SF Bay Area and supporting the communities in which, we all live and work.  Learn more about our mission and story.  Interested in finding more about our services for nonprofit organizations? Simply request a meeting here and we’ll get in touch to tell you all about this opportunity and how our passionate volunteer-run teams are helping nonprofits make the Bay Area a better place, one community at a time.