How to evaluate marketing activity effectively

Evaluation Presentation Background in Blue and White

One of the questions I get asked the most is “how do I measure my marketing activity?” Firstly, I am always pleased to hear this question, as when asking new contacts how their marketing activity is currently performing and delivering for the business, I am met with a shrug of the shoulders and bemused faces!

Many businesses can be spending thousands of pounds on marketing activity, but not know the results, its impact and return on investment (ROI) for the business.

Getting the basics right:

But before you decide on how to measure an marketing activity, there are some other basics you need to cover off:

Young black businesswomen reading a newspaper outisde on a sunny day
  • Who is your audience? e.g. females aged 18-25
  • Will your audience engage with your chosen marketing activity? e.g. do they read that newspaper
  • Why you are doing the marketing activity? e.g. to increase sign ups to the newsletter
  • Set targets of what a positive marketing activity would look like/cover costs e.g. 100 new contacts to database

Once all the basics are in place you can consider the options of how to measure the marketing activity. Measurement of activity would depend upon what activity you have chosen, as not all measurement methods are applicable to all marketing activities. Finally, you need to decide what you are measuring with your chosen activity. Many measurement metrics may apply to one chosen activity, e.g. for email marketing a business could look at enquiries, sales, website traffic, click through rate etc, but each business will place more importance on different results.

Ways to measure marketing activity:

Column one in the table below shows you a selection of ways to measure marketing activity. The second column details the types of results you can measure from the marketing activity and these should be included in the targets you set before the marketing activity commences.

Method and Metrics Table

Methods of measurement explained:

Lady cutting a coupon out of a newspaper

Coupon/bar code

These can be created and added to printed material e.g. £1 off your next purchase of product x which are redeemable for (selected) retailers. Businesses would test amount of discount, which products consumers are most engaged with, or use at a product launch.

Customer Relationship Management tool (CRM)

A database of customers and their sales history. A great tool to segment your customers (ones who buy product x, spend £y per transaction, located near z, lapsed customers) and provide tailored offers and content to them.

Different email address

This is a simple way to gauge response by creating a new email address e.g. help@abusiness.co.uk rather than main generic email info@abusiness.co.uk. Again, this email address could be used multiple times as long as the past activity has finished and no material from the previous activity is still being used.

Different phone number

A business can use an alternative telephone number to their main contact number in order to track response to an activity. The same phone number can be used for different activity, but again needs to be at different times (so no campaign overlap).

Event registration page e.g. Eventbrite, Merlin**

A tool to set up a registration page for an event and capture customer data. Be mindful that the page supplier e.g. Eventbrite may own the registration data and charge a fee to release it to the event organiser.

Google analytics

A free tool to understand more about your website e.g. number of visitors, which pages they visit, how long they spend on your website (dwell time), where they have come from (via social media, via referral link etc) and much more. Ask your website developer to install it!

Landing page

This is just another page to your website, but may not be accessible to everyone. It could be designed for a particular campaign e.g. Valentine’s day so a business can divert consumers directly to it and then track their response e.g. visit, sign up, complete survey, download a resource


A free email marketing tool to design and track email campaigns. A business can have multiple email templates and a range of mailing lists within this mailchimp tool.

Promotional code

These are codes which are advertised to the consumer who would generally use them to gain a discount e.g. SPRING10 either online or by quoting them when making an order. Businesses use these to track the response to different promotions. Each promotion should have a unique code.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) tools e.g. SEMRush, SE Ranking, Mangools

There are many SEO tools which exist to track keywords and how a business and its competitors are ranking for certain keywords in order to appear at the top of the natural listings within Google.

Social Media platform insights – e.g. Facebook and LinkedIn

Each platform has its own version of results/insights. They record different information, but you can gather insights such as number of views, reach, engagement (comments, shares), best post etc.

Survey tool e.g. Survey Monkey

A free* tool where you can create a simple survey and analyse the results. Useful for feedback from customers, after an event or even for insights before a product/service is launched.

Website tools e.g. Lead Forensics/Leadfeeder

Software that reveals the identity of your anonymous website traffic. Ideal for business to business (B2B) companies as it tracks who has visited your website, duration and which pages have been visited.

Unique URLs

Each website page has a URL. For example the homepage of Opportunity Marketing ishttps://opportunitymarketing.co.uk/, but the page about marketing strategy is https://opportunitymarketing.co.uk/marketing-strategy. There are free tools to create your own unique URL to track response. As an example – you have written a blog and post it on both LinkedIn and twitter using a different unique URL on each post – you will be able to see which platform responded the best to the blog as followers will have clicked on the corresponding unique URL.

*These free tools may introduce charges as more functionality is required.

This is not an exhaustive list, but it gives a good range of options to consider when planning your marketing activity.

To conclude:

Unless you evaluate how your marketing activity is performing on an ongoing regular basis, then you will have no idea which activities or campaigns are performing the best. 

A worse-case scenario is that you could be continuing to run a specific loss-making campaign out of habit or routine, when there are far more effective channels to generate better results from the same investment.

  1. Work out your target audience
  2. Understand which marketing activity they use and will engage with
  3. Detail what the business wants to achieve from the marketing activity
  4. Agree how going to measure the marketing activity
  5. Set targets
  6. Don’t forget to evaluate
  7. Amend and repeat….

If you are thinking that this makes sense but would still like some input into your marketing strategy and activity planning, then please do contact a marketing consultant for further details.

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Rachel is a commercial and creative marketing consultant with over 20 years’ experience across a range of sectors both in B2B and B2C using a variety of marketing mechanics within an array of channels to market.

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