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Marketing ROI: How to handle all of these vendors

Multi-vendor reports are a pain, right?

If you sit down and look at all the reports that you get from multiple vendors, the total sales they take credit for exceeds the total sales you had in that time period.

So, what’s happening?

ROI (return on investment) with marketing and advertising is difficult to track. Unless you have customer who tells you what prompted them to show up at your showroom, you have no idea if it was the newspaper, the billboard, the radio ads, or the text messages that prompted them to come in.

Here are some of the things you need to do track your marketing ROI:

The last contact gets the credit – You can look at the billboard and the radio ad as branding if the last thing to get some in the door was an email they got that morning. When you track ROI, whatever the customer recalls seeing last is the vendor/outlet that gets the credit. 

Talk to your vendors – Sit down with each of your vendors and let them know that you’re changing how you track their success. You’ll be looking at only giving credit if the customer recalls their particular outlet. If the outdoor signage company doesn’t get any credit in a month, they might not be around the next month. These might be hard conversations, but in the end, you’ll be a lot happier and making more money from your marketing and advertising dollars.

Track what you can – Some things, like Facebook ads, text messages, and emails can all be tracked right though your CRM. If someone got a message on Sunday afternoon and they show up on Tuesday morning, you can attribute that sale to the latest message. 

Ask the customers – This is a shocking idea, but it’s important. “What brings you in today? Did you get a text message from us or see an ad?” Most customers don’t mind you asking. If they don’t remember, you can move on. It’s important to ask the customer what they remember and to track it.

Add tracking – Have you ever noticed those TV ads that say to text a word to their number? Did you ever notice that the word changes? That’s tracking. If I want to know if overnight Saturday ads, which are cheap on TV, are really working, run an ad that has tracking built in. The same for a newspaper ad. Include a texting number and have a special word in the ad. Use a word that’s easy to remember, not some strange code only you understand. When you get those messages, you’ll know exactly where they come from. Even a billboard or a bus stop bench can have a special code that says, “Text TRUCK to 12345 to get a special financing offer.” You’ll know precisely where the customer came from and what they responded to.

Things you shouldn’t accept

The days of “tens of thousand people a day drive past it” are gone. There are far too many ways to track exactly who saw what and when and what they did about it to accept the old idea that eyeballs on ad justifies its price.

Don’t bother with newspaper ads that aren’t trackable. As we noted above, it’s not hard to put tracking into these advertisements, but you need to plan ahead and do it well. 

What about multiple vendor packages?

If there are multiple vendors under a single contract, simply assign them a portion of the sale each. If there are four vendors under a single contract and you can’t figure out which one helped make a sale, they get ¼ of a sale each. 

End of month totals

At the end of the month, add up each source to figure out where you’re getting the best ROI. The number of sales credits should be less than your total sales for the month. If it’s more than your sales, someone is getting credit they shouldn’t. 

This process might take time, but it’s worth it. Eventually, you can narrow down where your sales are coming from and invest more money there. This increases your ROI and reduces your cost per sale. And isn’t that the goal of all advertising? A great ROI?