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When and How Do I Track My Advertising?

By Jeffrey Hauser

Each and every time it runs!

Thatís the easy answer. After all, itís your money and your business at stake. You should be learning from every campaign. Here are some basic questions:

(1) How many customers did you reach?

(2) Why did they pick your business?

(3) What was in the ad that made them call or come in?

(4) What media did the best job?

That last question is the result of proper tracking. Itís like going to school. You are given exams to test your knowledge and see if you are ready for the next level. Without the tests, you donít know how you are doing. Marketing must be measured in the same fashion. Suppose youíre running a weekly newspaper ad. If it never changes from week to week, which week did the best? So you have a small coupon or offer that differs each week and thatís your tracking mechanism. The same applies to any other medium,

The radio ad says ask for Sally at the tag line. When it runs in a different station, they ask for Annie. Why the big deal? Because, how do you know which ad at which time is doing the lionís share of the work? Sure, you could survey every customer that comes in, but who has the time and who wants to bother paying customers?

If you run a Yellow Page ad or series of ads, jot down the page number of each and when a customer calls, ask them for that number at the end of the call. Then, you can determine your ROI or return on investment. You should be able to chart how much each customer cost to acquire and whether the particular media is worth the investment.

Every month you should adjust your program to reflect the results. Tracking takes commitment and effort, but so does running a business. Every campaign should allow for a tracking device and an expectation. There is no use throwing good money after bad. Use the results to redesign the next promotion and learn from your mistakes. Advertising isnít an exact science and needs constant tweaking and experimentation. Donít be discouraged by poor results. Instead, learn and move forward realizing that your customers are your best feedback as to why, or why not, they are responding to your advertising.

Jeffrey Hauser was a sales consultant for the Bell System Yellow Pages for nearly 25 years. He graduated from Pratt Institute with a BFA in Advertising and has a Master's Degree from Monmouth University. He had his own advertising agency in Scottsdale, Arizona and ran a consulting and design firm, ABC Advertising. He has authored 6 books and a novel, "Pursuit of the Phoenix," available at His latest book is, "Inside the Yellow Pages." Currently, he is the Marketing Director for,

a Health Information and Doctor Referral site.

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