Monthly Archives: August 2011

A is for Analysis

To start at the very beginning is a very good place to start (or so we have heard), so where better to start our A to Z of Marketing than at A.

A is for Analysis. When I started in marketing well over a decade ago, the era of the long lunch, the fluffy campaign and the big budget with no accountability were on the way out (poor me) and ROI (return on investment), measurement and metrics were the new rage. It suited me fine as I am a numbers girl at heart, but over the years I have had staff come and go with the terrible realisation that todays marketing roles are almost accounting roles in disguise (with better shoes and more interesting events).

5 Easy Areas for Analysis

1. Analyse your Web Traffic Stats – if you have a website, you have access to very valuable information just waiting to be analysed! It is believed that a new visitor to your website spends around 6 seconds deciding whether your business meets their needs, is credible and trustworthy. So how do you know if you are succeeding?

By analysing your website traffic you can begin to understand:
– where traffic enters and exits your site
-how long they stay
-what pages are browsed; and
-sometimes even demographic information.

Half a day a month spent analysing your website traffic can give you some powerful insights into how to adapt your page to ensure you are maximising your traffic.

2. Analyse your Current Customers – if you sell a product, you have already succeeded in connecting with your target consumer. They found you, they trusted you; and they have initiated a relationship with you and your business. Asking each customer a few questions as part of your checkout process gives you the opportunity to collate data that you can analyse. Consider asking “Where did you hear about us?” “What’s your favourite Website?”. A quick question can give you a deeper understanding of who your consumer is and will help you target your message to them.

3. Analyse your Past Performance – when we do our Mini Marketing Plan for our clients, the first step we take is to have them fill out our Business Analysis Tool, which is really a survey of the business’ past. We use this tool to analyse what the business has done and also to consider what has and hasn’t worked before to find clues as to what the target consumer might be like. You can analyse past performance by looking at the results you received and then interpreting what they mean. For example, you have distributed over 500 flyers with an offer (always use a coupon code so you know where the responses have come from) but you only received 5 redemptions. You sent an email out to 100 subscribers with the same offer and got 25 redemptions. On analysing this I would think that perhaps your target consumer responds better to offers they can instantly action or your consumer doesn’t pay attention to flyers. I would analyse over a period of time and if this trend held true, I may decide not to use flyers anymore.

4. Analyse your Competitors – when sales are down and enquiries have gone quiet don’t go straight to market with a deal or fear the end is coming. Analyse your competitors. This is as easy as searching for your product or service, and seeing what comes up. Think like your consumers; how did they find you? Are you a bakery? Do most people find you by walking past? Go for a walk around the local area. Has something else popped up that you didn’t know? Look at the supermarket, have they changed their pricing strategy. Or do you sell Dog Outfits online? Start searching in different ways “cute dog clothes“, “designer puppy outfit“, “dress for my dog“, look at the websites that come up, think your consumer could shop at any of these, analyse the strengths and weaknesses and form strategies of how you can improve your offer.

5. Analyse your Profitability – profitability put simply is income minus your expenses, but do you keep track of all your expenses? So many small businesses muddle the line between the owners and the business and expenses are often covered by an owner without them being factored in against the income of the business to really understand profitability. Analyse the profitability of your business as a whole every 3 months or so. Think of it like a household budget – add up all the payments in, then take away every single expense incurred to determine whether you made a profit or a loss. Analyse the expenses to see if savings can be made. Also analyse the profitability of individual campaigns. For example, if you advertise in a publication for $1,000, and your product delivers you $10 profit per sale, you will need to sell 100 products for the campaign to be profitable. Unless you go back and analyse campaign profitability, you can’t be sure it is a cost-effective way to target your consumer.

What analysis do you do in your business? Are you often surprised by the results?

Until next week, here is some more of what A is for

Mary-Anne Amies

Wise Up Marketing Solutions


Turning Surveys into Solutions

Last week we took an in depth look at Market Research and how to hold your own census, and we promised to follow with how to analyse your results, so here it is!

In our discussion of the 5 steps to host your own census, the first step was to:

Define your problem We generally undertake Market Research to solve or shed more light on a problem e.g. “Why are our sales decreasing?” Or to prove or disprove a theory e.g We are losing sales because our prices are too high. So start by writing your problem down at the top of your page, as a nice big heading, everything from here has to help us solve that.

So dig out your piece of paper (which if its anything like ours now has coffee stains, phone messages and assorted flower doodles all over it) and refresh your memory as to why you went to all this trouble in the first place. What were you wanting to shed more light on? What question needed answering? Which theory needed proving? When it comes to analysis, this problem will again be the hero at the top of our page. By the time we finish mining the data we received, we want to feel informed and educated and ready to spring into action.

If you used Survey Monkey, take advntage of the inbuilt analysis tools or transfer your data to a spreadsheet. If you used email or a form, you will need to collate all your data into a useable format (If you are confident using a program such as Microsoft Excel or Mac Numbers, I would highly recommend it as this will allow you to evaluate your data and turn the responses into tables and chart,s bringing your findings to life visually).

When we designed our survey we looked into the importance of different question types. Now that we are ready to analyse, we need to consider how we asked the question, in order to decide how to analyse it:

  1. Qualitative answers are best typed as a list and read over a few times, before making generalisations, identifying themes and noting any key insights. When it comes to qualitative responses we have to think about weighting, not getting too caught up in what one person says and we need to think about responses as a whole in context of who our target market is this is. This is where our demographics help (more on that later…). With our qualitative data if we left an area for other comments, we would read over all responses and make generalisations like “most consumers think we are doing a good job and don’t need to change anything”, “when asked for any other websites they use often, a few responses mentioned eBay”
  2. Quantitative answers can be easily analysed by summing and averaging responses and also by comparing different demographic groups. The great thing about quantitative data is that you have set the boundaries of the response type in your inital question design, making collating the data and drilling down (moving from a top-level view to sub groups of respondents) much easier. If you click the image below, we have completed some examples of creating data tables to collate responses, and then using different charts to make the data come to life.
  3. The Demographic questions which we ask at the end of our survey put the responses into context. This allows us to break out each question into different groups, to look at how those groups differ and also discard responses from groups that we may not deem relevant to our survey. As an example of how the context will help ensure we make our decision based on relevant results, first consider the above graphic where we saw that 54% of all respondents liked our current layout a lot, initially this is exciting news, but, is it relevant? If we then look at the graphic below, and imagine our target market is Women aged 56-70, we can see how valuable splitting by demographic is, all of a sudden we are presented with the fact that of all women surveyed only 7% aged 56-70 like our layout a lot, compared with 20% aged 41-55 and 18% aged 26-40, this immediately puts up a red flag (where we thought we had a lovely green one). It seems as though our current layout is too young for our target market, we would then look at responses between these three groups to other questions to diagnose the specific issues, and then form an action plan.

Once you get started you may find analysing your data is a bit like falling down a rabbit hole. You start thinking of more and more questions and keep drilling down in different ways to get the answers. At the end you should hopefully have some very powerful insight to assist you with your initial problem, plus a whole lot of answers that you didn’t know you asked for.

So now you need to spring to action, but first a final thought:

  1. Reflect – take a moment to think about everything you have learned and consider are you looking at the good and the bad?
  2. Listen – what are the top 10 useful facts?
  3. Re-Confirm – clarify with your target market that you have understood ask another one or two questions let them know how valuable their input has been so far
  4. Act – take what your target market are telling you and implement and tell them you did it because of their input
  5. Start again – do it all again in 6 months. Look for the changes in responses and whether your action improved key areas

So how did your survey go? If you need more help with how to analyse, just let us know where you get stuck! Next week we will launch a 26 part blog, we are very excited about it… any ideas what it might be?


5 Steps to host your own Census! (Or Market Research for Small Business)

Being a passionate and dedicated Marketer, over the years I have become near obsessed with measuring; measuring results, measuring profitability and of course measuring the target market. To the average Australian the Census is 20 minutes of their life spent form filling, of which there seems to be no immediate benefit and no future return. For me, the avid Marketer the Census means the collation of data that will allow demographers (people who study the populations characteristics), students and marketers (and I am sure others), the opportunity to extract data, compare shifts, and come up with fantastic statistics – like “43% of Australians had Take Away for dinner on Census night” (Ok so maybe not that one).

So already on a Census high, when I came across a question about Market Research on a Motivating Mum Forum by Clever Mama owner Danielle, I decided the topic to explore in my first blog post was staring me in the face! Market Research for Small Business.

Creating a survey, sending it out and analysing the results is not new news in the Marketing World, however the digital age has certainly made it a lot easier. I personally recommend Survey Monkey, it’s Free (for a basic package), easy to distribute, it presents very well and most of all it has great in-built analysis tools, while still letting you download all the data to excel to really get into the nitty-gritty of it. Although if you don’t want to get that technical, you can make a survey in word, email it out, then collate the results in an excel spreadsheet.

So big or small,  here are the 5 Steps to host your own Census!

  1. Define your problem We generally undertake Market Research, to solve or shed more light on a problem e.g. Why are our sales decreasing? Or to prove or disprove a theory e.g We are losing sales because our prices are too high. So start by writing this down at the top of your page, as a nice big heading, everything from here has to help us solve that problem.
  2. Brainstorm your content Now start to brainstorm, write down words, sentences, thoughts, competitor brands, anything you think is contributing to your problem, anything you would like to know more about that would help. Imagine your ultimate consumer is sitting in front you, this is your chance to pick their brain, as at the end of all this we want to know our ultimate consumer inside out.
  3. Organise your questions Although it has been disproved that the attention span of a goldfish is 3 seconds, when it comes to Market Research it’s best to still think that is a fact, so less is best. We want as many full responses as possible, and to get this we need to maximise attention, therefore we need to minimise effort and time to complete the survey. There are two types of questions we can ask, as explained in the picture below. Using quantitative techniques will maximise completion as they are quick and easy to answer, and will also maximise your ability to undertake simple analysis.
  4. Create your Survey Organise your questions logically, so you uncover more at each question, use quantitative first, then finish with one or two qualitative so your consumer has a chance to tell you anything you didn’t think to ask . e.g 1. Select the brands you have heard of from the list below. 2. Have you heard of Wise Up? 3. On the scale below select how you feel about the Wise Up brand. 4. Rank the 10 characteristics below in order of importance when you are selecting a Marketing partner 5. Now rate out of 5 how you feel Wise Up performs on each Characteristic. 6. What services do you wish Wise Up also provided (please list below) 7. Is there anything else you think would help us improve? (please write in the box).
  5. Don’t forget the demographics It is important to end with some demographic questions (think of the Census!) it could help to know Gender, Age Bracket, Country / State of residence, Metro / Regional etc, these help in 2 ways, firstly we can make sure we only analyse relevant answers e.g If your product is women’s lipstick you might want to discard data supplied by Men, or females under 15 and secondly we can look for differences by demographic e.g 60% of Women 18-25 like our logo but 70% of women 26-34 don’t like our logo, depending on who we are targeting this is more valuable than knowing 55% off all respondents liked our logo. Demographics help us put our findings into perspective, and paint the picture of who our ultimate consumer is.

Now all that’s left to do is try your survey out on a few friends first, iron out any wrinkles, then take a deep breath and send en masse.

Next week I will do a post on how to analyse your survey responses, but in the meantime, have you done any surveys before? How did you design them? How was the response? Or are you working on one now, feel free to send your draft to me and I’ll help you iron out the wrinkles.



%d bloggers like this: