Sometimes customers won’t buy from a company unless they know and respect them – that’s the power of branding. Unfortunately, brand advertising (as opposed to promoting specific products, services and deals) can lead to lengthy waits before the micro-business achieves a return on the investment. Awareness advertising, or brand building activities, often don’t generate immediate sales.
Awareness advertising is difficult to measure because it’s not designed to generate an immediate response. It can be done, but it needs different techniques from advertising designed to generate ‘direct response’. Different forms of advertising are explored in Types of Advertising.
The techniques available for measuring awareness advertising can be grouped into two categories; Questioning and Comparison.
Comparison needs a benchmark to be created first, then results can be compared against it over time. For example, a survey may highlight that 50% of prospects have heard of a brand and 15% may consider the micro-business as a potential supplier of a specific product or service. Asking the same questions again in 6 months may reveal that now 75% of prospects have heard of the brand with 25% considering them as a potential provider. It could be concluded that the marketing and advertising activity as a whole was responsible for the increase.
Alternatively, if you were doing only one thing differently, you could conclude that responsibility for the increase rested with that one item.
Questioning as a form of Measurement
Questioning involves asking appropriate questions of prospects, enquirers and customers. Many micro-businesses will ask how an enquirer heard of them or, preferably, how they obtained the telephone number. How about adding this question; “which of these items/media do you remember seeing?” The answer might not indicate whether the activity made them purchase, but it will tell you which of the awareness advertising activities are actually being noticed.
Questioning also helps you find out what people think of the advertising. Create a short survey asking pertinent questions, such as which they’ve seen and which they haven’t, ranked on a scale of 1 to 10 of whether it was appealing or not, etc. The answers can be combined from all respondents to give you clearer picture of how people see and perceive the advertising.
Don’t rely on any single customer’s response, you need to add a number of results to get a true picture. Ideally, you want at least 25-50 responses to a single question before you can start to draw conclusions.
If you want to be really adventurous and courageous, get a group of customers together in a room and hold a ‘focus group’, where an independent facilitator leads a discussion about your materials, without you being there. The results are often both illuminating and scary, so they’re not for the faint-hearted! But there’s no substitute for really knowing how people feel.
Comparing time periods
Perhaps though, the only way to truly measure awareness advertising is to compare a period of not doing anything against a period of activity and then review the difference. You’ll see just how much extra business your awareness advertising helped generate for you. There is a caveat to this approach though; the difference may be due to timing, rather than a true reflection of the power of your brand.
So how do you know if your micro-business would benefit from awareness advertising? Try reading Customer Purchasing Processes to help you identify whether awareness advertising is important for your business. If it is, follow the techniques in this article to get the most out of it. If you also need direct response advertising, see the techniques in Measuring Marketing.