How to measure awareness advertising

If customers don’t know you exist your chances of attracting them are the same as trying to teach an elephant to tap dance.

This is the first rule in marketing – make sure your potential customers are aware of who you are, what you stand for and how you can help solve their problems.

However it is much easier said than done. These days the media choices can be overwhelming, check out the image below that identifies the different social media options alone!

Social Media Map from Brian Solis and JESS3

Source: Brian Solis and JESS3 http://www.theconversationprism.com/

Add to this social media mix, the traditional media – TV, print, radio and billboards and you have some difficult decisions to make.

Where should I invest to generate maximum awareness for minimum cost? and How will I know whether these investments are paying off?

Deciphering the impact of advertising is notoriously difficult, there is a classic saying in advertising circles attributed to the father of advertising, John Wanamaker who said:

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

Awareness advertising is designed to widen the pool of potential customers and remind them of how you can help them. The goal is to position a company’s brand favorably and regularly in the customer’s mind.

The measurement challenge comes from the fact that it is not necessarily designed to elicit an immediate response. Regardless there are a few ways you can get a handle on the impact of this type of advertising:

1. Prospect Surveys Before and After Comparisons

This technique involves establishing a baseline and then comparing results against that baseline over time.

For example, a simple survey may highlight that 10% of prospects have heard of your brand and 15% may consider you as a potential supplier of the product. The consideration metric is an important one to include as we are not interested in awareness alone. We really want to know whether we are in the “evoked set” – the top 2 or 3 brands customers have as top of mind for any particular product category.

Asking these questions again in 3 months may reveal that now 25% of prospects have heard of your brand and 30% of them would consider you as a potential provider.

You can reasonably conclude that your advertising activities were a significant driver responsible for the increase.

2. Asking Customers at their Point of Inquiry

Many companies will ask a new customer how they heard of the company or product. This is a great technique for companies that get a lot of inbound calls, a quick question can be asked at the end of the call to which most customers are happy to respond.

To go a little deeper a survey can be conducted asking customers which specific media they remember seeing. Their answers won’t tell you whether the activity influenced their purchase, but it will tell you which of your awareness advertising activities are being noticed.

To understand the advertising’s influence, we can design questions to elicit feedback on the messages sent.

For example “which of the following ads have you seen?, which haven’t you seen?, rank each on a scale of 1 to 5 on whether it appealed to you or not.

Next total up the answers from all survey takers to give you a clear picture of how people perceive your advertising.

NOTE: Where ever possible please do some of this in pre-testing to make sure you are eliciting the response you want!

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