“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.” – John Wanamaker
This is an older quote when marketing spends were substantially less digital (19th century), so it makes sense that Mr. Wanamaker was having a hard time figuring out what was working and what wasn’t.
Honestly, it’s hard to look back, not that long ago (this century), and see how we used to track our marketing’s effectiveness (registration cards and “mention this ad…”) and not wonder if we really knew what was working.
Of course they checked the Signage box as the last thing they saw, there are about 2 dozen of them between the main road and your leasing or sales office.
But just because our marketing avenues have become more trackable doesn’t mean they have become easier to manage. It’s hard in this fragmented media environment with new tools and technologies popping up all the time and the constant budget pressure to get a good handle on what is working and what isn’t (and a softer market only will make it harder and more important to justify every penny of your spend).
Analytics and big data have drowned a lot of people in an endless swath of numbers, averages and rates. With all of this data to make sense of, it can be hard to see the forest through the trees.
The Real Estate ROI Model
You remember how we used to evaluate our marketing spend? It wasn’t by click-through rates or average time on site. It was by leases and sales and hitting our pro forma numbers. We evaluated it as a whole.
I’m not advocating for not being “smarter” with your marketing spends. Actually, the opposite. But in order to establish a full marketing program that drives results and can be managed effectively, you need to consider one of the most basic marketing elements: the Prospect Journey.
No, not that one. You need one that matches your business.
Looking at it from the prospect’s point of view, it becomes much easier to understand what they need to see and interact with based on where they are in the funnel. All the tactics you are using now (listing sites, signage, geo-fencing, social media, retargeting, emails, etc.) all have a place along different points of the funnel.
Once you identify where in the funnel each tactic lives and the corresponding action you want the prospect to take, it becomes much easier to evaluate what is working and what isn’t. For example, if I am running a digital radio campaign to drive awareness of my new project I really shouldn’t care what my click-through rate is. I should be concerned with cost-efficient, high impact impressions.
We have made a lot of progress as marketers in terms of sophistication and skills, but we need to make sure we are using those skills for good and to not cut off our nose to spite our face by trying to optimize a KPI that should never have been a KPI in the first place.
Let’s work smarter. Not harder.