Welcome to the second in our series marketing and value. In December’s issue of Foreword, we explored marketing maths and revealed how, with a few quick sums and a bit of common sense, it’s easy to spot value for money marketing activities.
But of course value of money is not the whole picture. As a purpose-driven not-for-profit, your bottom line needs to deliver on your mission as well. This month we’ll look at how to measure the value of marketing activities towards your mission.
Start by organising your marketing activity into ‘mini-missions’ – or marketing campaigns.
A campaign is a controlled series of activities designed to create a change in behaviour, among a specific audience, to achieve an objective that will move your mission forward.
For example – let’s imagine your mission is to sell chocolate bars for profit. If the main barrier to achieving your mission is lack of distribution, then your objective might be to launch your product in a new geographic area. If your product was already widely available, your objective might be to increase the number of bars existing customers buy.
The audiences we are addressing, the behaviour we need to change, the activities we’d undertake and how we measure them will be very different in each of these campaigns. And when your mission is more complex than selling sweets, it gets even more complicated. In the business of social change, it’s likely that you’ll need a combination of different campaigns, with different objectives, to very different audiences, to move your mission forward.
That’s where a well-constructed marketing plan can help. A strong marketing plan will define a clear role for each communication channel in changing audience behaviour; and a method for measuring success.
Once you understand what to measure and why, it’s time to collect data. The digital revolution has provided non-profits with a great deal of rich data about the performance of campaigns at a very low cost. Here are our top five sources of marketing data:
Some self-managed website platforms have easy to use reports built-in. If you have a more fully featured website, then getting set up with a Google Analytics account and you’ll be able to see how many visits are made to each of your webpages, when, and from what source (eg: Google, Facebook, direct entry of your web address).
When you’re setting up a marketing activity, you may also consider using a vanity URL. This means using a subtly different web address in each of your marketing touchpoints, allowing you to track how much activity was directed to your website from each touchpoint. For example, you might have www.yournonprofit/infosession as the address on your printed flyer; but link to the same page in your email newsletter with the address www.yournonprofit/infosession/e.
If you’re using excel and manual methods to manage your email lists, switching over to a free email management program like MailChimp will give you access to reports on how many people opened your email, and – if you structure clickable links within your email well – insight into what content interested them as well.
While you can learn a lot about what content works well on your page in Insights, for detailed reporting on paid posts, try Ads manager instead. To open Ads manager, go to insights/promotions and click on the link at the bottom of the list of recent promotions. From here you can choose from a dizzying array of measures to analyse your campaign performance.
- Phone system.
Consider using a dedicated phone number for specific enquiry types, or use your CRM to track purpose of incoming calls and what prompted the call.
- Your Customer Service Team.
Your customer facing staff are your best source of customer intelligence, but they are also busy people. Frontline staff and customers alike can sometimes resent ‘extra’ work collecting qualitative data in the form of tick lists or survey forms. Consider building opportunities to collect insights about what the people you serve are thinking and feeling, into existing meetings (for staff) and service delivery (for customers). This sort of qualitative feedback is invaluable, and can be analysed alongside quantitative data that’s easily collected using some of the system-based methods above.
Once you have collected your data, it’s time to analyse and draw conclusions. Getting an external perspective can be invaluable, because it will help you to avoid two common mistakes:
- Focusing on the measure, not the mission.
Watching likes or clicks grow on a social media post feels pretty good. It’s exciting to see the ticker going up and up, but important not to conflate a media metric with mission success. Likes, views and email opens are measures of reach and engagement only – you’ll need to measure all the way along the sales funnel to connect the media measure (eg: clicks) with the campaign objective (a change in behaviour that moves your mission forward).
For example, let’s say your mission is to ensure your current client base successfully transitions to NDIS. Your marketing plan includes an education campaign with the objective of all of your clients attending an information session as a group or one-to-one.
To define success of your mission (education), you’ll need to measure not just likes and shares (engagement) but also clicks (enquiry); completed reads of the session information on your webpage (proposals); how many tickets are sold (sale); and how many actually attended the session (retain).
Finally, you’ll need to collect some qualitative data as well on how attending the session changed the attendees’ level of readiness for NDIS transition (your mission).
2.Comparing apples and oranges.
Working on tight budgets it’s important to be able to justify expense, so at the end of a campaign we want to know what performed well, what didn’t – and what we could skip doing next time.
This leads us to compare channels, and ask the hardest question of all – which channel works better?
In a multichannel campaign, it’s often the combination of different media that drives a result with each channel playing a specific role. In our information session example above, you might include a poster that could be put up in your offices to build awareness throughout the month before the event, and a Facebook ad running the week prior to the event as a reminder to book.
Trying to tell whether Facebook or the poster drove more event bookings is like comparing apples and oranges. Even if you have diligently collected data on both channels, without a great deal of time and expense it is impossible to know whether the people who bought tickets to your information session after clicking your Facebook ad, ALSO saw your poster earlier that day.
The question to ask yourself is – did any of the channels NOT work? If it’s clear that one element of the campaign had little or no impact then reconsider its role before you abandon it altogether.
Next month we’ll look in more detail at choosing specific media to fit your message. In the meantime, if you’d like a new perspective on planning and measuring campaigns to move you closer to your mission, feel free to get in touch:
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 1300 284 364.
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