If I had only done the math first…

How much work would we all save if we took the time to run the numbers first? You marketers out there know what I am talking about.  You would have avoided the breakfast seminar that generated a bunch of $1,000 leads or that banner campaign that never got any clicks.  And who likes sheepishly admitting failure to their boss who then replies “I coulda told you it wouldn’t work”? Rather than beating yourself up about past failures (since there is really nothing you can do about it now), how about a New Year’s resolution to do a “back-of-the-envelope” calculation with some honest assumptions for every new program.  The process takes minutes and can save hours of work. Here are some things I consider when when sanity testing a program: How much is this really going to cost? Is there a way to test this program or media cheaply in case it is a miserable failure? What kind of response rate do I need to breakeven on the program? How does that compare with my historical response rates? Do my revenue assumption make sense? How long do I need to run this before I will know if it works or not? How much support will I get from the team for this program (ie lead follow-up from sales)? I also suggest you don’t do this in a vacuum.  Find the most skeptical or analytic person in your office to test your assumptions.  This person will often poke at you after the program so why not expose yourself at the least expensive part of the process?  The questions will surprise you and in the end you may kill a few programs before spending a dime, allowing you to avoid embarrassment and focus more resources on your winners.  You will also look more accountable which is valuable to a marketer in the long...

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How to impress your friends: great sources of statistics

I always try to arm myself with primary research when making a presentation or principled argument.  Many times, however, I have to do some searching for that data so it is great when I find a site that does the heavy lifting for me.  Here are some data sources I really like to use: 2007 US Economic Census – Your tax dollars underwrite this methodical cataloging of US industries by NAICS codes.  I have frequently found this helpful when market sizing.  Their latest innovation is graphical snapshots by industry in PDF form. ClickZ Stats – This is a great resource for a variety of online marketing and traffic statistics. The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) – While the juiciest bits are reserved for DMA members, there are some very interesting research reports available for free.  The paid reports are jammed with more numbers than you could ever need. Bureau of Labor Statistics – Some of the numbers are depressing in light of our current economic malaise, but this site still contains more great stuff from our friends in Washington.    National Center for Charitable Statistics – Excellent summary stats of the nonprofit world.  Nonprofit organizations can also get access to the raw data tables. Any other suggestions?  Please feel free to add as comments. Thanks FM...

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Social Media Breakfast 11 Boston

I shared learnings about Social Media For Social Change (#SMB11) from real-world experiments at Firstgiving. #SMB11: Social Media For Social Change View more PowerPoint from Frank...

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My Slides for Social Media Breakfast 11 in Cambridge

Yesterday I shared a series of social media experiments we performed last summer at Firstgiving. #SMB11: Social Media For Social Change View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: boston...

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Marketing Metric of Last Resort

Pretty much all marketers do it.  We spend money on programs that we “know in our our heart” are the right thing but are extremely difficult to track.  What am I talking about?  For me it has been PR.  PR has always been a no brainer as a cost effective way to tell your story in long form and present your organization as a category leader.  Plus from a team building standpoint, everyone likes to see the company’s name or the CEO’s smiling face in the Wall Street Journal or your hometown newspaper. The challenge always arises during budget season when the pointy headed types ask the inevitable question: “So, what did we get for that $120K we spent on PR last year besides some glossy reprints?” As always it comes back to measurement.  In a perfect world, one could connect the prospect who read the product review in a magazine and then bought your product.  In reality it is much more complex.  Different stakeholders learn about you through different media, leaving you with a series of indirect measures. So what is the marketing metric of last resort? When in doubt, I’ve seen people use a measure called “advertising equivalents”.  This is defined as the cost to purchase an equal amount of advertising in the publication where you received PR coverage.  If you get a half page editorial, then this is worth a half page of advertising.  You get the idea.  This is certainly better than nothing but here are the problems: This metric is more about activity than results It assumes you would actually buy media in that publication if you had a choice It has no reflection of the quality of the coverage So, how do you measure those hard to measure...

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