as published on November 18, 2011 by the Dallas Business Journal
For entrepreneurs, it is never too early to start thinking about which marketing metrics to track when running a business.
Some of the most basic but important marketing metrics can be gathered through survey-based Awareness, Attitudes and Usage research.
This type of research provides quantitative marketing metrics about product and service knowledge, perceptions and customer behavior. The research is often set up as a “tracker” used to monitor brand health and trends affecting business growth, but it can be implemented as an ad-hoc research project to gather feedback from the market at any time. Typical question areas include:
- Awareness: Both top-of-mind (“Which brand comes to mind when you think of …?”) and recognition (“Have you heard of Brand X?”). Awareness metrics are important to decide where and how to invest advertising dollars.
- Attitudes: Beliefs and feelings about the brand, company or products/services. We need to understand how our brand is perceived to direct our marketing communication to either strengthen or change those perceptions.
- Usage: What, when, where, how much, how often do you buy/use Brand X and Y? Knowledge about the purchase behavior of customers and noncustomers allows us to quickly become aware of and react to any changes in the market as new marketing strategies, products, and prices are put in place not only by us, but also by old and new competitors entering the category.
As these marketing metrics are gathered, entrepreneurs should also put systems in place to capture transactional data linked to customer profiles (such as demographics) so results can be validated through triangulation with actual sales data. While sales data can tell us what customers do, it doesn’t tell us why they do it. The metrics can fill some of the gaps inherent to transactional data and support better business decisions.