Determine your measures for success. Make your goals challenging, but
achievable. Do you want to increase customer retention, improve market
share, penetrate a new market segment, change a perception, generate
more store traffic, reduce customer complaints? Be specific and make
your objectives measurable. For example, by what percentage do you
want to increase sales?
the Metrics to Measure Your Company’s Performance:
Compile a list of factors that are important in your industry.
Criteria may include:
growth; market share; distribution methods; sales force size,
effectiveness and training; advertising budget and effectiveness;
inventory levels, delivery time; product quality; customer
plant capacity, locations and age; age of equipment; ability to
expand capacity; skill and turnover of labor force; union
relations; quality control; supplier retention; raw material
employee turnover, age of facilities
experience, depth and turnover of top, middle and supervisory
effectiveness of communication systems; access to information;
cohesiveness of top management ranks; compensation plans;
decision-making speed; strategic planning ability
- Technology/Research & Development: age of R&D facilities; age of production
technology; production patterns; basic innovation; engineering
abilities; experience of R&D team; R&D budget; R&D
Methods to Collect and Organize Data:
Determine a process for tracking and reporting all relevant data.
Report on trends that emerge from your findings on a regular
Yourself to the Competition: You can glean
a lot by doing your homework, including shopping your competitors.
- Annual and 10
K reports on public companies
search engines by competitors' names or key words
associations and publications
- Business and
general press as well as press releases
research firms, including online computer databases
Research: When you need specific information
about your customers and prospects that doesn’t exist, conduct your
own primary research.
There are two types of research: qualitative and quantitative.
Qualitative research is used to understand why customers behave
as they do or to develop hypotheses about that behavior. Personal
interviews and focus groups (a meeting of 8-12 carefully selected
people) are two examples of this semi-structured type of survey.
Quantitative research is a highly structured form that attempts to
answer how much. Numbers can be projected to the universe that
the sample represents. Telephone, online and mail surveys are
Your Strengths and Weaknesses: Rate your
company on your developed list of metrics in comparison to your
competitors. Look for clusters of strength that may give you a
on Customer Retention: Customer retention is a matter
of business survival, as getting a new customer is five times more
expensive than retaining a current one.
Work on core product and service attributes to build customer loyalty
(such as treating each customer as a valued individual). Businesses
must focus on such issues as instilling a helpful staff attitude,
delivering on advertising promises, developing a favorable return
policy and providing accurate product information. Use your success
with current customers to attract new referral business, but also
remember that not every customer is worth keeping. You cannot be all
things to all people. Sometimes, you have to let customers go and
train energies on those clients who are the best fit.
Effective measurement lays the groundwork for future plans, so
keeping track of results is the only way to improve your marketing
efforts. The key is determining which data should be collected. Your
marketing results may be measured in sales (dollars or units), market
share, store traffic, number of inquiries or reduced complaint rates,
or other metrics. Tracking can also be based on surveys that assess
Employees: Having top employees who are motivated
is critical to your company’s success. Track the effectiveness of
your recruitment methods and retention levels as well as employee
satisfaction and performance.
the Information: Analyze the intelligence
you’ve collected, draw conclusions and make recommendations based on
it. Develop a plan for seeking out opportunities to
demonstrate your company’s strengths. If weaknesses are critical
drawbacks to your company’s success, develop a plan for overcoming