A marketing update

Not long ago we committed to a more significant marketing effort. We decided to buy radio advertising, an ad in one phone directory, and we placed flyers in student newspapers from several nearby high schools. I thought it might be good to follow up and report our findings so far.

I should start by saying that our measurement tool is to ask customers how they found out about us. Granted, this is not the most reliable approach, but it’s one of the easiest and cheapest. Chances are they will only tell the most recent or the most memorable way they found out about us. They may, for example, have heard our ads on the radio, but not decided to stop in until they heard a friend recommend us. The radio ad may have worked, but it’s the friend that will get the credit.

We also have a bit of a problem (in this instance, anyway) of our main sales people having worked in several different stores. An old customer may come in for the first time, but they may not realize right away that it’s the first time they’ve come to this store. If someone is familiar they may not ask them how they found us, thinking they’d already been shopping with us for awhile.

But all in all, simply asking customers how they found us is not a bad measure. But now for the results.

The flyers have had a small response. This is not unexpected, since our entire reach was probably no more than about 6000 students at three high schools. On the other hand, our cost was about half what we spent on radio.

We’ve so far responses from all three schools. From School A a girl called in about trading in some accessories. We’ve had at least one kid come in from each of Schools B and C as well, and they purchased items. I think we have actually had two customers report having seen the ad at School B.

Radio is working much better than I had expected. Our ads have only been on the radio for about a week and a half, and we get at least one customer per day (today we had two) report having heard our ads. One customer today came in all excited: “I recognized your voice on the radio and had to come find you, because you used to take good care of me at the other store.” That single interaction confirms several things: 1) that people are hearing our ads, 2) that people are paying attention to our ads, 3) and that people remember my partners from the ads they used to do for a different store. These facts add up to a strong indication that we’ve picked the right station/demographic this time around.

The phone directory we chose is probably the least expensive of the three methods of marketing we’re monitoring. They provide their own metrics, in that the phone number in the add is not our real phone number, but a number that allows them to track each call to us as it forwards us seamlessly to our real number. We’ve had about 30-35 unique calls to our store from this directory, either from the book itself or through its online site, and several hundred visitors to our unique listing page on their online site.

We’ve also confirmed some of this through our own measurements. Several customers have indicated they found us through the phone directory.

So far it seems that our marketing efforts are beginning to bear fruit, which is encouraging. From here we will continue to monitor response to help us tweak our efforts down the road and to focus us in on which methods are most effective. This data will also help us determine the best places to put our money if we ever choose to expand our marketing efforts.

Have you had any experiences with various marketing methods lately, good or bad? Tell me about it in the comments!

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