Is your marketing collateral giving you the expected returns?

V KanchanaThis article delves into the measurement techniques that can come handy for a marketing communicator in assessing the return that is derived from the marketing collateral being used for achieving the business objective of the organisation.

It is no wonder if you are stuck between selecting one type of collateral over the other such as a whitepaper over a brochure. Often this question hovers over the minds of strategy makers as they debate over which one would give them the maximum returns. In a recent discussion with one of the key strategic decision makers at a technology firm, we debated over how we could quantify the return one gets by spending on particular marketing collateral.

The objective of any marketing collateral is to convey the intended message to the target audience. However, the question is did your collateral do its work? This is more subjective a question than objective.

If you are interacting with your key clients regularly, getting a quick feedback survey (probably online) or taking a qualitative round of interview with few of the top clients, this should not be much of a problem.

In fact, it can give you great insights into what your customer thinks and what are his brand touch points. However, this cannot be possible on an everyday basis for many small business firms and many companies would not like to spend resources on a survey or a separate feedback interview with their clients.

In such situations, gauging your customers key brand touch points and the marketing media that he prefers the most can become increasingly difficult.

All the more, for a business decision maker, this can mean investing in the wrong marketing medium and thereby losing the marketing share and sales revenue.

For example, a customer might prefer going through a product brochure rather than delving deep into understanding a business case study of a company. The client might not have the time to spend on understanding the business case study but can easily go through a one pager note on the product that he is interested in.

In this case, investing in a case study over a product brochure would be a bad idea and is highly likely to generate losses in terms of sales and market share when compared to the competitors who are doing just the opposite in the market.

Some measurement techniques, though not very accurate, can help in deciphering this grey area of marketing. These techniques help in the assessment of which marketing collateral actually works the most for sales conversion and customer retention and which would not be effective.

The chart below provides a crisp understanding of the techniques that can be applied in measurement of effectiveness of marketing collaterals being used.

Technique

Benefits

Salesforce.com

Your sales rep. can tell you which content on Salesforce.com library are useful during sales and which one was most downloaded in order to convert a prospect to a client. These helps in planning similar content efforts for future and identify gaps and issues in existing content.

Call tracking linked to your collateral

This method gives a direct count for quick measurement.  When you attach a call tracking number to your collateral, you can find out which content the lead actually saw before closing a deal with you.

e-collateral

Cost involved in e-content development divided by the number of downloads of the content. This can further be assessed by the growth achieved in the direct marketing database as a result of ‘request a brochure/whitepaper/case study’ option on the website page.

Hard copy collateral

This is the trickiest of all measurements since you can never be certain if that particular collateral actually helped in closing the deal. However, a general rule is that calculate the cost involved in content development and the printing divided by number of hard copy requests.

With an increasing demand from the customers for e-content these days rather than hard prints of collaterals such as brochures and whitepapers, the quantification task is going to get easier for a marketing communicator as most of the content goes digital and social.

Tracking digital content and measuring its effectiveness is much easier than tracking the effectiveness of hard copies in sales conversion. This is surely going to set the stage for further development in the measurement techniques in marketing communications in the coming years.

Kanchana VAuthor: V Kanchana

Marketing Communications Specialist

Virtual Marcom 

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