“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”

It’s a famous John Wanamaker quote. He was an American merchant, civic and political figure, considered to be one of the first serious proponents of advertising and a “pioneer in marketing”.

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He opened one of the first department stores in the United States, with his empire growing to 16 stores which eventually became the famous Macy’s.

Everyone who studies business marketing has probably heard or read his famous statement a hundred times.

But in today’s world, there is no excuse for not knowing how your advertising and marketing money is spent, and more importantly, what it’s delivering. What the ROI is on your investment is a key question.

The digital revolution has revolutionised marketing and with it made all marketing measurable and quantifiable. We no longer need to rely on conclusions drawn from vague correlations: “we advertised and saw sales increase so it must have worked”. We can now track and trace, monitoring our entire sales funnel.

Have you ever heard someone state something like: “our objective was for awareness and clearly many more people are now aware of us so it was a success?” But how are they quantifying that?

For me, marketing and branding work hand in glove. I believe the same rigorous, data-driven approach should be applied to ROI on all customer-facing communications – be that your branding, marketing, advertising … whatever activity in whatever space, face-to-face, email, social media – everything should be measured and appraised.

Do you know if your branding is effective? Have you got data?

Are you aware how your target audience feels about your company or the marketing messages you project?

Are there things you do that frustrate your customers – or conversely things they love?

Do they believe your marketing messages?

Does your delivery match up to your promises?

Do they feel any emotional connection to your brand?

Would they recommend you to their friends?

Investing a little time and money to truly understand how your potential customers relate to your firm, your offer & how they compare you to your competition, is the very least any firm should be doing. It’s the base data you should know.

If you don’t, then perhaps you should do a full review of your brand, position and marketing strategy to ensure you are not spending money without seeing traceable results.

Make John proud and ensure you do understand what you marketing spend is delivering… and why.

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