The Importance of Numbers in Marketing

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Many marketers lack that passion for numbers that our counterparts in accounting and finance have, though it seems that some of the most successful in marketing certainly do not.

As we have discussed in the past, marketing has become a convoluted road map with many different roads to travel. Utilizing numbers and some form of metrics measurement can help you define the best route with the roads given. Any spending can be justified by a solid return on investment. So it is very important that if you do not already have a result for ROI on a given project (from past projects of a similar nature, etc.); that you at least have a way to measure your return on any current or future projects.

Sometimes these concepts get lost in emotion and fear. Many of us have had a conversation similar to this:

Boss: “Revenue seems to be going down therefore costs need to be cut. Marketing person, do we really need to be doing A, B and C?”

Marketing person: “Well there’s no way we can get rid of C, but B can probably go.”

The correct response should be, “Well if we look at the return on investment for all three of these options, you will see that they each derive more than $4 revenue per every $1 spent. I feel that cutting any of these would be a mistake.”

Now, some of you have yet to face a situation like this, and some of you play BOTH of these roles. Regardless, knowing where your marketing efforts stand from a numbers perspective is very important. In dealing with my clients about their trade show or event projects, some cannot get beyond the cost, which admittedly can be high. Others though, know the exact value of trade shows and events in relation to their overall marketing budget and know that every dollar spent is well worth it.

A common objection to the numbers conversation is, “We are not directly selling anything, we are just looking to generate awareness, and that cannot be measured.” This is not true! I recognize that many organizations are not marketing a tangible product, but instead communicating a message or initiative. Fear not, this can be measured.

For instance, if one of my clients is now making a conscious effort to go green and wants to make this known to their audience during their upcoming trade shows. I would work with them to develop 1) a trade show display with the appropriate messaging applied, 2) a promotion relative to this messaging and exhibit and 3)a post-show survey to the trade show attendees to find out if they recall this client’s trade show booth and if they recall their new green messaging. The results of this will give my client numerical data to work with. “The trade show cost us $100,000. Of the shows 10,000 attendees, 5,500 came to our booth; 75% remembered our campaign of which 80% remembered our new message verbatim.” Their cost per fully recounted impression is just over $30. They can now compare this to the other programs and media in their marketing plan and determine its effectiveness.

In closing, the best way to justify anything in the sometimes abstract world of marketing is to find a way to measure it numerically. The numbers will help you to better plan for future marketing efforts and justify any dollars already spent. This will require more time, thought and effort for those of you that are not doing this, but again, what is the ROI?

To learn more, join me in taking the many CTSM (Certified Trade Show Marketer) sessions offered on this topic ( and stay tuned to our other social media pages (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) where I often post links on this and other relevant subjects.

Author: Chase Howells

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