The primary purpose of marketing research is providing insights to make better decisions that will move your business forward. However, once a decision is made the process shouldn’t stop there. It’s equally critical to understand the ongoing impact those decisions have had on your business. Specifically, what is the ROI that your research-guided decisions are having?
There are three primary ways that you can make this assessment and effectively measure the success of your efforts:
1. Advanced Analytics can transform insights into easily identifiable action plans with anticipated ROI targets. This is true whether we are talking about using choice-based approaches to estimate the impact of product and/or pricing changes, segmentation to identify target groups, or key driver models to predict the ROI of changes in levels of spend or brand perceptions. Regardless of goal, incorporating advanced analytics provides both an understanding of the attainability of your goal and a pathway for achieving it.
For example, a Key Drivers analysis might reveal that focusing on a perceptual attribute such as Longest Lasting may have the biggest benefit for increasing brand consideration. This can then be the focal point of your plans and the key metric to evaluate over time. Likewise, a Choice Model may provide insight that developing a 24×7 Service and Support rather than focusing on Faster Response Time will best enhance the customer experience. The result is clear focus for your goals and a guidepost for assessing your impact.
2. Tracking is an essential component for measuring the progress of your efforts. Whether you are focused on increasing awareness based on a new spending plan, tasked with increasing trial based on new packaging or promotions, or looking to change perceptions around the quality of your products, tracking can provide an objective measure of your progress towards your goals.
Done properly, tracking can provide information about progress towards multiple goals. For example, a campaign designed to increase general brand awareness with a special focus on increasing trial among a target audience can be evaluated through a single tracking program, so long as then program is designed to reach enough of that target audience to have a reliable assessment of their changing attitudes and behaviors. An example of how tracking can assist is whether, once you begin focusing on Longest Lasting, you see key metrics (particularly behavioral metrics) such as Brand Consideration or Brand Preference changing over time.
Driving decisions through research, while critical to success, should only be part of your plan. It’s in evaluating and measuring success where you can truly determine the impact on the business.”
3. Financials and Other Hard Metrics are the ultimate metric for many activation efforts. Unit sales, revenue, and profit are obviously key metrics here. But, not as obviously, we may also want to look at other metrics such as website visitation, word-of-mouth data from social media and direct response to email communications.
Even if your goal is to, for example, increase brand awareness, the goal is usually near the top of the funnel with an expectation that it will have a secondary effect on more “bottom-line” metrics. While bottom-line financial metrics are easy to see with product innovation and marketing spend, it is also possible to evaluate methods such as segmentation. With audience identification, we can test the efficiency of marcom such as direct, and segment-specific, mail. Similarly, with segmentation, we can determine whether segment-specific messaging with customers may increase levels of satisfaction with customer service representatives.
An example of how this can assist marketers is whether, after focusing on Longest Lasting or implementing 24×7 Service offering, you can see product sales, website visits or share of volume increase over previous time periods.
The bottom line is, driving decisions through research, while critical to success, should only be part of your plan. It’s in evaluating and measuring success where you can truly determine the impact on the business. Want to discuss your approach to ongoing research measurement?