Marketing pro’s ‘fess up: “We’re in the dark!”

If you place adverts in newspapers, on billboards or on TV/ radio — can you really tell whether they’ve paid off with extra sales? One third of marketing people are in the dark, according to new research. But with a little help, they could find out.

When marketing gets murky

Today, it’s fairly simple to tell whether digital advertising is bringing new customers to your door. Online advertising, pay-per-click and mobile campaigns usually come with analytics that track the customers’ journey and show if your ads were worth the money.

But things can get murky with offline advertising. Who knows whether that print promotion you tried delivered a great return on investment and whether you should run it again?

This matters because traditional advertising channels aren’t disappearing anytime soon. UK advertising is on course to hit a record £24bn in 2019 — and print display ads, radio and TV are all seeing growth*.

However, new research shows that getting insights into the return on investment from offline advertising is proving fiendishly elusive for many marketing professionals.

Key findings

A study conducted by Mediahawk uncovered three startling facts:

#1: Marketers are in the dark

One third of professionals admit they don’t know which media is driving purchases. In particular, 38% of marketers cannot figure out whether sales can be attributed to traditional media.

#2: Marketers fail to see the big picture

Often, customers engage with a company via multiple touch-points before they buy. But 23% of marketers said they were using first-click or last-click models. In other words, they couldn’t identify which other channels were influencing customers at crucial moments along the way.

#3: Social media has its own blind-spots

Surprisingly, 31% of marketers said they struggled to attribute sales conversions to social media — even with all the tools available from the channels themselves.

The big message?

In the absence of hard data, it’s clear that many marketers have to rely on gut instinct when it comes to knowing which offline advertising campaigns to back. They could be wasting a small fortune one moment … and missing out on a sales windfall the next.

But the research also identified a potential fix

The study found that 62% of marketers are not currently using call tracking software. With this ingenious tool, professionals can find out which campaigns delivered which sales. When campaigns use specific phone numbers in smart ways, then customer journeys are revealed.

Suddenly, you get the same visibility for your offline activity as your online campaigns — creating the complete picture on marketing performance, so it’s clear where to spend budget next time around.

The good news is that leading call tracking software is fast and easy to use via the cloud. The best providers will also allow 30-day contracts, so marketers can try tools easily and use them in a targeted way.

Discover more

Book an online demo to see call tracking software in action. It’s worked successfully for top brands such as Kia, Worldpay, and Miele, as well as for many smaller businesses too.

*Source: ‘UK advertising spend achieves record for Q1 2018‘ – Advertising Association/WARC Expenditure Report, 31 July 2018.

About the author - Natalia Selby

Marketing Executive at Mediahawk, with 20 years experience in analytics and content management.

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