There are so many decisions that have to be made every day in your profession: decisions about procedures (medical, legal, corporate), decisions about personnel, time management decisions, figuring out the best way to navigate interpersonal issues at work and at home, thinking about tax implications and paying for taxes, and of course, marketing decisions.
Too often, we are tempted to make marketing decisions based on a hunch. We would never pay our taxes on a hunch or start a patient’s medication on a hunch or file an appeal on a hunch or list a house’s price on a hunch or start a new product line on a hunch. But, we sometimes mistakenly feel that marketing is amorphous.
Yet, the tools are readily available to use good data to drive better decisions, even in marketing.
Perhaps, the most important question you and your marketing professional need to have answered is this:
What marketing are we currently doing ?
How do you find this out? Make a list of every marketing tool you currently are employing like:
- listings in phone books and directories
- online listings
- your appearances (or your staff members’) at community and trade events (health fairs, business networking opportunities, community and residential boards and committees, professional organizations and conferences, charitable events)
- a review of how you communicate with your clients throughout the year (do you send calendars, holiday cards, newsletters, coupons?)
- an inventory of promotional material items you have purchased and produced, how many of these you have distributed and through what means (this spans the spectrum, everything from pens with your name on it all the way to professional brochures)
- a record of your electronic presence including website(s), social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, linkedin and Google+ accounts
The second follow up question, equal in importance to the first is this:
How effective is our current marketing?
Here is where data should be the driver. You shouldn’t just be guessing “people seem to like our website”, “I put a lot of time into Facebook”, “I have run out of pens with our name on it”, or “Does anybody use the Yellow Pages anymore?” Your marketing professional and you need to be sure that you are evaluating all of your marketing efforts with as much data as possible. Together, you should be able to figure out the following:
- Do I have a reliable system that everybody uses who engages with new customers to determine how they found out about us? What is that data? What does it show me?
- How many potential clients did you come into contact with at each community event? Did any of those contacts transform into future business?
- If you have a dedicated phone line attached to a Yellow Page ad, how many calls come in on that line? Do the phone calls turn into legitimate business?
- How much does my online listing and online advertising cost me (per click, per month?) and how many people are becoming customers, clients or patients?
- What is my “reach” on my social media accounts? How many people engage with what is posted? Do they click on links to my website?
- Can I figure out from my new customer data if new commercials or advertisements are effective? Are they targeting the right people? Do we need to make changes?
- How do people traverse on my website? Which pages do they linger on? Which pages get the least amount of traffic? Is there a discernible pattern of how people interact with my website?
- How does my marketing budget and my marketing output compare with my competition?
- How do we track the effectiveness of client communication like newsletters or gifts? How can we figure out how these are received and if they are servicing our brand? Are they cost effective?