Wanamaker difference to your marketing ROI?

‘’Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”

You’ve probably heard this HILARIOUS observation attributed to John Wanamaker, the chap behind the department stores that eventually became part of the iconic Macy’s.
Good old John is described as a marketing ‘’pioneer’’ and back in the 1800’s that is probably fair.
However, that kind of thinking about marketing in today’s world is anything but OK, with all manner of clever digital monitoring, re-marketing and tracking options now available.
Having said that, it is totally understandable, as for many people in business it can all seem a little overwhelming.
The thing is though, it really doesn’t have to be THAT complicated, if you really ‘Wanamaker difference’ to your marketing ROI (see, I’m equally HILARIOUS John), start with the basics.
You need to ask the simple question, ‘’how did you hear about us/me?’’
Now, stay with me, as although this sounds bleeding obvious, I bet many people don’t ask this. In fact, let’s go with John’s estimate and say half of you reading this don’t have this process down. I say ‘process’ because that is what it needs to be. It needs to be part of the day-to-day data gathering and decision making in the business.
A lot of this can be done automatically if you are embracing a fully integrated digital marketing strategy but the good news is you can start with the basics by simply getting the team to ask this simple question each and EVERY time they deal with an enquiry.
I am acutely aware of this at the moment because I am in the process of making a major purchase for the business and whilst I am weighing up my options I am also noting how many or indeed how few businesses actually ask this simple question.
I don’t get out much.
After three weeks of solid research I have settled on my provider and one of the reasons why I did was because they asked me this question IMMEDIATELY having followed up my initial email IMMEDIATELY.
I was doubly impressed because they are showing me that they are on the ball with their business development, attention to detail and marketing in terms of speed but also in terms of accuracy.
It turned out that I had seen their brand a few times, once on a calendar poster a few months back which was supporting the local pub football team and once or twice on the side of a bus more recently.
Now, the two marketing investments there differ hugely in their value but the key thing here is that this chap wanted to know what was working. He didn’t assume it was the calendar, or word of mouth, or Google, or the bus, although he IS doing all of these things.
He took 30 seconds to politely ask me what percentage of his marketing is working and now he can make an informed marketing decision again based on the facts, not the feeling.
Pioneering it ain’t but it works.