Is Your Marketing Strategy Working? How to Effectively Measure Your Progress
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Whether you are a large chain of restaurants or a mom and pop neighborhood eatery, your marketing strategy is vital to the success of your restaurant. But how can you measure the success of your marketing program? What are realistic expectations?
There are some principles and a process that can help define the goals and subsequent success of your marketing program.
Your marketing plan will require a budget, so it’s important that you don’t institute a marketing program unless you expected a positive return on investment (ROI). Unfortunately, it’s difficult to assign value to the outcome of certain marketing programs and many programs don’t make for easy ROI calculations.
In addition, it’s rare for one single marketing effort to be directly responsible for new revenue. Customers usually respond only after being engaged by several marketing activities, from online to in-store. An ROI evaluation might not demonstrate all the causes and effects. And lest we forget, there are a multitude of variables outside the marketing plan that can affect restaurant performance and perception. Image source: www.tripadvisor.com
Therefore, if you really want to evaluate your marketing efforts, you’ll need to think beyond simple measurement; you need a disciplined process.Start by setting clear goals and objectives
, and ensuring everyone involved shares an understanding of the marketing objectives. Be specific and realistic. These include goals such as drive trial by new customers; improve brand perceptions; increase brand awareness; increase the number or frequency of repeat visits from existing customers; get email sign-ups; increase average check. Don’t forget that marketing is not a panacea for things that operations need to deal with, such as repairing a bad experience or the quality of the food.
Once you’ve set achievable objectives, define what success means to your company and how you will measure success. Ensure that your definitions are not subjective, but rather data-based and time-oriented. For example, you want x-number of new Facebook “likes” during the week of a new promotion or y-number of retweets from the introduction of a new special.
From here, you will need to design a program to meet those goals. While different programs will need tailored approaches, there are some universal guidelines for effective marketing:Keep it simple and clear
. Your customers are busy, with short attention spans. Less is more.Be different
. Even though you want to keep your marketing short and to the point, you can still be creative and express your brand personality.Image source: www.readthehook.comBe focused
. Target your audiences and tailor your messages. You won’t be able to appeal to everyone and you won’t be able to include every detail.Always, always, always include a call to action
. Whether it be to visit your website, like you on Facebook, visit your store, or share a deal, be clear about what you want people to do as a result of engaging with your marketing. Make sure there’s an easy way for people to get more information, and include a time frame for response to encourage action.Tracking
. Your program should be trackable so that you can measure results by tracking responses to different efforts. For example, track your flyers and direct mail by using a specific code on each for when guests respond using that particular coupon or flyer. Train your employees to ask all customers how they learned about your restaurant, and set up a tracking system for responses.
When you use a detailed, disciplined process like this, you will get accurate results by which to evaluate your marketing program. It’s important to remember that no marketing program will make you an overnight success. The keys to an effective marketing program lie in time, consistency, and follow-up. Set realistic objectives and plan for reasonable time frames, and your marketing plan should provide you with the customers to make your restaurant a success.