Conversions, Lags and a Return on Your Investment

In recent networking, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting a University Professor that delivers courses in marketing.  It was good for both of us to share experiences and viewpoints.  He learned a bit from me about what it’s like in this day and age to slug it out mano y mano in the business development and marketing world.  While I got to learn from him how this generation of college marketing students view the career they’ve chosen.

A long time theory I’ve had about television was absolutely cemented in this conversation and my theory was this: What’s popular on television will spark what’s popular in career choices.  For example, I can not  tell you how many people are telling me their kids are going to school to be in Forensics.  I’m a HUGE criminal mystery fanatic.  From Law and Order (and like every variation or spin off) to Dexter to Criminal Minds to iZombie…I’m hooked. For more than a decade these types of shows have had all sorts of Forensic Scientists that are finding out all the cool minutia that helps solve the case. 

This sort of exciting and glorified action, in my opinion, creates a sense of awe and “That’s what I wanna be when I grow up” mentality.

Back to the Professor.  He was quite surprised to learn that I live and breath by numbers, statistics, and conversions.  He even asked me if I could come speak to his students as they don’t seem to believe him!  It’s like they all think their lives are going to be an epic episode of Madmen.  They think they are going to jump into the advertising world, not even knowing the difference between Marketing and Advertising, and that it’s going to be all sex, alcohol and spinning some really good ideas.  Well, yes, you can have that…let’s be honest, but the fact is if you’re not in love with watching the numbers and taking responsibility for what you’re putting out there for the world to see, you will indeed crash, burn and wind up with a drinking problem and probably an STD or two.

So television viewing habits aside, what’s it all about? Let’s start with the basics, shall we?

Marketing [mahr-ki-ting] –noun

1. the act of buying or selling in a market.

2. the total of activities involved in the transfer of goods from the producer or seller to the consumer or buyer, including advertising, shipping, storing, and selling.

Notice that Advertising is actually a part of Marketing. Not necessarily the same thing.  There’s an important distinction between the two.  If you don’t recognize the umbrella that Marketing has over Advertising, your overall marketing will become focused solely on the act of advertising and your overall success will fail as a result.

Advertising [ad-ver-tahy-zing] –noun

1. the act or practice of calling public attention to one’s product, service, need, etc., especially by paid announcements in newspapers and magazines, over radio or television, on billboards, etc.

2. paid announcements; advertisements.

3. the profession of planning, designing, and writing advertisements.

So those are the basics.  Read it, learn it, understand the difference, now move forward.

Why is it that I live and breath by numbers and statistics?  Because in the Business Development world my job is to bring in new interest. More customers, more people saying I want what you have, shut up and take my money!

If I’m not tracking my advertising, my marketing (and my PR actions) then how will I know what is ACTUALLY working?  This isn’t just a fly by the seat of your pants type job.  John Hamm isn’t knocking down my door to discuss strategy…or anything else!  So I’ve really got to roll up my sleeves and watch what the public is doing. 

How do they react to our slogans, color, logo, advertisements?  What’s bringing them to our websites and how many are going to our sites? How many are coming back and after all that, how many are actually calling?  How long does it take for a response on any given platform, meaning what’s the response lag between my outflow and their inflow?

I was shocked to hear this professor tell me he was surprised how much I look at numbers.  I look at them daily,  several times a day. It depends on what I’m running at that moment.

Then from all of that research, tracking and effort I can honestly determine which outflow, which platform and what words are creating the best Return on my Investment both regarding my money and my time.

Truthfully, nobody wants to waste either one, so why wouldn’t our marketing be all about numbers?

*Stephanie Santiago

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