On an early May morning, a group of casino marketers gathered at the Southern Gaming Summit to discuss the topic of advertising that works. As attendees gathered to hear and see some great examples of great creative, they were surprised to find the subject was about technology (or rather leveraging technology) and measurement.
“Measurement?” you ask. “Advertising folks don’t measure. They create.” Yes, if you’re still living in the Mad Men era of advertising, you are very correct, advertisers typically didn’t measure. If their client was happy and had an increase in sales, life was good. However, that was then. This is now. Today’s advertising professional is part creative guru and part analyst.
As budgets get tighter and tighter, casino marketers find their advertising dollars dwindling while some other channels remain stable or grow (*clears throat* direct mail). We fight for every dollar of our budget, but when your advertising expense line gets compared to the returns we see in the direct mail line, you’re often left with no story to tell. I’ve got nothing against direct mail. I think casino marketers are among the finest direct marketers of our time, but I know you can’t forgo advertising, not even as a test to see what happens. We already know what will happen.
It’s time to start telling your story. It’s time to start measuring.
I think of advertising as an invitation. When you don’t invite people to your party, no one will come. I’ve seen marketers and executives cut and cut advertising budgets rather than cut offers to customers who are not worth the investment. Why? Because direct marketers have the wealth of their database to argue for every dollar they spend. It’s time advertising managers do the same thing.
So, how do you defend your ad spend? With what executives understand best…numbers! Here’s what you can do to ensure you have the proof that your advertising works.
Step back and understand
First, step back and understand what triggers what. Do you know that people who spend time on your website (not just visit for a second) then subsequently create trips to your business? Do you know what efforts are creating which website visits? You can even measure your PR efforts with a simple tool in Google Analytics.
How will you know your advertising works
Second, understand what your goals are and how you’re going to measure the impact of your advertising. Is it an increase in traffic from a certain demographic, zip code or other measurable part of your database? Is it an online purchase? Is it an increase in sign-ups for your newsletter?
Share your goals
Next, share your goals with your agency. Answer their questions. Let go of any pride of authorship and allow them poke holes so you can understand where your strengths and weaknesses are. Together, you’ll develop a stronger plan.
Embrace technology that will enhance your ability to measure your efforts. Creating tracking codes for email and digital links is easy…and free to do. Use them. Mobile offers readily available analytics. Even simply assigning phone numbers or URLs by campaign or media channel is easy to do.
Create a memorable campaign that speaks to what your target customer is looking for.
Measure and adjust
Finally, measure and adjust as you go along so that you are maximizing the return on your investment with advertising that works.