Use Market Research to Tie Brand Awareness and Purchase Intent to Sales
For years, I've been saying direct marketers are their own worst enemy when it comes to measurement.
Direct marketers are good at measuring the things they've traditionally measured—response rates, cost per lead, cost per acquisition, etc. But they're not good at measuring the effect that their communications have on the non-responders; when, in fact, the effect of consistent branding in direct communications is what makes direct marketing powerhouses like Omaha Steaks and 1-800-flowers.com top of mind when consumers are ready to purchase (not to mention Amazon).
Even though consumers engage with brands on their own terms across multiple platforms, many marketers are stuck measuring the results of individual tactics rather than taking a holistic view of measurement. So when a single email or display ad fails to achieve the target level of attributable sales within a specific period of time, then they consider it a failure. Even though the communication has made an impact on those who didn't respond, they can't measure it, so they don't count it.
And while many direct marketing practitioners now embrace the idea that their advertising has a cumulative effect of building a brand over time, most fall short of being able to quantify that ROI with meaningful metrics.
That's where market research can help.
Consider the following word equations in light of how awareness contributes to sales for the top direct marketing companies:
Top of mind awareness + brand reputation + need = purchase intent
Top of mind awareness + brand reputation + immediate need = purchase
So it follows that if we can monitor awareness and reputation over time and index it to sales, then we can quantify the effects of those elements on sales revenue.
Start by surveying your prospects blindly—either through mail, email or search ads using relevant keywords. Offer an incentive that's consistent with your product offering, e.g., "Save $$$ on cell phone accessories." Ask respondents the following questions to determine the levels of unaided and aided awareness: