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EFFECTIVENESS EVALUATION OF MARKETING STRATEGY AND MARKETING PLAN


APPROACHES TO EFFECTIVENESS EVALUATION


In one of our previous articles, we discussed how to develop a marketing plan. Many business owners and managers use our advice, but they often have questions about the next steps. The next steps may seem simple at first glance - evaluate the effectiveness of marketing programs and make necessary adjustments. However, in reality, these processes are not straightforward and require a systematic understanding. In this article, we will explore the process of evaluating the effectiveness of the marketing complex, which provides a necessary foundation for adjusting and enhancing companies' marketing efforts.

Fundamentally, there are two approaches to evaluating the effectiveness of a marketing strategy and implemented marketing plan: from the perspective of Performance Marketing and from the perspective of Strategic Brand Management.

Performance Marketing is a type of marketing in which marketing actions and expenses are oriented towards achieving specific performance indicators such as conversion, sales, customer acquisition, or lead generation. In this approach, the focus is not only on marketing expenses but on specific results that can be measured and evaluated during or immediately after the implementation of marketing programs.


PERFORMANCE MARKETING EFFECTIVENESS


From the perspective of Performance Marketing, the evaluation of the effectiveness of the marketing complex after the implementation of the marketing plan can be carried out using various metrics and data analysis. Here are the main approaches and metrics that can be used for evaluation:

  • Sales. One of the key indicators of marketing complex effectiveness is an increase in sales. Actual sales after the implementation of marketing initiatives are compared with previous periods or established targets.
  • Conversions. Conversion metrics are measured, such as the percentage of visitors who become customers or perform desired actions. This can include conversion from advertising to website, conversion from leads to sales, or conversion from trial users to regular customers.
  • Number of new customers. The number of new customers that emerged after the implementation of marketing initiatives is measured. This can be a useful indicator of effectiveness as new customers indicate the marketing's ability to attract the attention and interest of the target audience.
  • Repeat purchases. The analysis focuses on how many registered customers make repeat purchases. This indicates how successfully the implemented marketing plan encourages customers to engage with the brand repeatedly.
  • Audience engagement. Engagement metrics are analyzed, such as the number of website visitors, views of advertising materials, or social media subscribers. They help determine how successfully the target audience's attention has been captured.
  • Customer satisfaction. Feedback and messages from customers are collected to assess their satisfaction with the product or services provided. This can include surveys, reviews, ratings, and more.
  • Return on Investment (ROI). The overall return on investment is calculated to determine how effective the marketing complex was in relation to expenses. ROI calculation involves comparing the total profit derived from marketing efforts with marketing expenditures.

Analytical tools such as Google Analytics or other web analytics systems are most commonly used to obtain detailed information about the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, measure metrics, and perform data analysis by comparing the obtained data against initial or planned indicators. This evaluation assesses how successfully the implemented marketing plan achieves results.


BRAND MANAGEMENT EFFECTIVENESS


On the other hand, strategic brand management typically focuses on building the brand and creating or changing consumer perceptions of a product or service. Assessing consumer perception of a product, i.e., the strength, positivity, and uniqueness of associations in consumers' minds, as well as the depth of their dissemination among consumers, is extremely challenging but crucial.

Evaluating the effectiveness of a marketing strategy and marketing plan according to strategic brand management involves conducting a specific set of marketing research to identify the associations successfully communicated to consumers, the extent to which the target audience has been reached, and how the overall perception of the brand has changed in consumers' minds.

Firstly, qualitative research methods are most commonly used to identify the associations conveyed to consumers. The following are the most prevalent qualitative research methods:

  • Focus groups. This method involves gathering a small group of consumers together to discuss a specific topic or product. Participants express their thoughts, impressions, and associations related to the research topic. This method allows the researcher to identify general trends, associations, understandings, and convictions of the consumer group.
  • In-depth interviews. These one-on-one interviews are conducted with research participants. The researcher asks questions and invites participants to share their thoughts, feelings, associations, and experiences related to the topic. In-depth interviews provide an opportunity to thoroughly investigate individual beliefs, motivations, and consumer associations.
  • Behavioral observation. This approach involves observing and participating in consumers' everyday life situations. It may include observing their consumption behavior, interactions with products or brands, analyzing their environments and contexts in which they interact with products.
  • Projective methods. These methods are used to obtain internal associations and hidden consumer perceptions. For example, associative mapping or completion tasks, where participants are asked to complete sentences or depict associations with an image.

This is just a small portion of the possible types of qualitative research that can provide researchers with the necessary understanding of consumer associations, brand perception, products, or services, as well as help uncover new ideas and opportunities for marketing strategies development.

However, even after identifying consumer associations through qualitative research, it is impossible to determine the extent to which these associations are prevalent among the target audience, as qualitative research involves only a very small portion of consumers.

To validate the hypotheses of qualitative research, it is necessary to conduct quantitative research on statistically representative samples. Consumer quantitative research refers to research methods that involve collecting and analyzing quantitative data, i.e., numerical measurements, to obtain objective information about consumers, their behavior, thoughts, beliefs, associations, and perceptions of products, brands, or services.

Structured questionnaires, surveys, polls, or experiments are used in consumer quantitative research to gather quantitative data from a large number of study participants and draw statistically valid conclusions about the target audience as a whole.

Different types of quantitative research are used to study consumer associations. Here are a few of them:

  • Structured questionnaires. This type of research involves creating a structured questionnaire with questions aimed at studying consumer associations. The questionnaire may include a list of words, phrases, or concepts to which research participants must respond by providing ratings or indicating their associations.
  • Semantic differential scales. This method is used to measure the degree of connectedness or associative links between objects, words, or concepts. Participants are asked to evaluate semantic differences between pairs of words or concepts based on certain criteria, such as similarity, dissimilarity, positivity, or negativity.
  • Dictionary-based analysis tools. This approach is used to analyze textual responses or open-ended answers from research participants. Texts are analyzed using linguistic algorithms and software that extract key words, terms, or phrases related to consumer associations.
  • Associative mapping techniques. This method measures the strength of associations between objects, words, or concepts by asking research participants to spontaneously associate them with specific stimuli. The results of associative mapping can be used to identify frequently occurring associations and create consumer profiles.

These methods allow gathering numerical data that can be analyzed and interpreted to draw conclusions about the consumer associations of the target audience.

Simplified, the main idea behind evaluating the effectiveness of the marketing mix from the perspective of strategic brand management is first to identify the consumer associations that have been successfully created in the minds of consumers and then to statistically confirm that these associations are indeed prevalent among the majority of the target audience.

But wait, qualitative and quantitative methods only explore specific aspects and associations and do not answer questions about the overall perception of the brand by consumers as a whole and in relation to competitors. To address this, researchers use comparative and holistic brand equity evaluation methods.

Comparative and holistic methods of assessing overall brand equity are two different approaches to determining and measuring the value and effectiveness of a brand:

  • Comparative methods. These methods are used to compare the brand with other brands or competitors according to specific criteria. One of the most common comparative methods is brand valuation, which is based on evaluating financial indicators such as profit, expenses, assets, etc., associated with the brand. Comparative methods can determine how successful the brand is compared to competitors and what its competitive advantages are.
  • Holistic methods. These evaluation methods aim to understand and measure the intrinsic value of the brand, including its impact on consumers and consumer attitudes towards the brand. One such method is assessing consumer awareness and attitudes towards the brand through surveys or questionnaires among the target audience. Holistic methods provide insights into how consumers perceive the brand, how it reflects their values and needs

Both approaches have their advantages and disadvantages, and the choice of a specific method depends on the specific situation and goals of brand evaluation. It is important to consider that assessing overall brand equity is a complex process that may involve various aspects such as financial indicators, consumer associations, reputation, and more.

Achieving the commercial objectives of a company through effective marketing requires a deep understanding of the market situation, consumer needs, the ability to analyze and explore alternatives, and a creative approach to problem-solving. Our company has extensive experience in defining optimal marketing strategies for our clients' businesses, creating a strong brand and market positioning, as well as developing a marketing mix and implementing the chosen strategy. You can familiarize yourself with the services and solutions our company offers on the "Services" and "Solutions" pages, respectively.
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