Department store magnate John Wannamaker is said to have joked, “I know half of my advertising is wasted, I just don’t know which half.”
As competition gets tougher and your margins get tighter and tighter, that joke is no longer funny. You cannot afford to “waste” any of your advertising dollars. It is imperative that you determine which media gives you the best results.
But be careful how you define and measure “results.”
All too often we rely on the opinions of consumers who don’t really understand why they do what they do. When seeking those opinions, we often craft surveys with the wrong questions. History is littered with surveys that predicted tight political races for contests that were won in a landslide.
The classic example of asking the wrong questions is the business that asks their receptionist to facilitate a “survey” asking every caller, “Where did you get our number?”
Of course, the answer in the old media world was usually “In the phone book” or “in the Yellow Pages.” Today, with the demise of printed directories, most would answer “On the internet.”
In either case, the business would conclude that the investment in directories, online or printed, was working. But they seldom ask the most important question in an amateur survey….”Why did you decide to call our company instead of one of the other companies listed online or in the Yellow Pages?”
The answer to “Why did you choose us?” will always yield more useful answers than simply learning where people found your address or phone number.