Does my marketing work?

You’re trying to figure out what type of messaging works. What your customer’s the actual buying process is. Or maybe you’re trying to figure out what kinds of  information your customers need.  If I understand you correctly, you’re wondering “does marketing work?”

You’ve identified a problem that marketers have been trying to figure out for over 100 years.  A long time ago,  John Wanamaker claimed that half the money he spent on advertising was wasted. The trouble John had was trying to figure out which half was wasted.  It’s my intention to help you with this wicked problem.


Part #1 – map the journey

The first thing I recommend to clients is to map their customer’s decision journey.  Using the map below as a guide, call a meeting with a cross functional team.  This should include anyone from sales, marketing, customer service, web development or financing who has an interaction with your customer.  Then, starting at the trigger point brainstorm answers to the following questions:

Trigger: What causes a customer to start their buying process?

Initial Consideration Set: Of all the options in our category, which 2 or 3 are most likely to be on our customers shopping list?

Active Evaluation: Where does our customer go to research solutions to their problem, find information or get reviews?

Moment of Purchase: What would our customer say is the ultimate purchasing environment?

Post-Purchase Evaluation: What questions does a customer have after they buy from us? How can we extend the excitement our customer felt when they first made that purchase from us?

Loyalty Loop: Why would a customer recommend us and buy from us again?

At the end of this process, you’ll have mapped out most of the points that influence your customer.   Expect to list 20 or more items from traditional media to word of mouth to instore sales people to follow up emails to loyalty programs. These are called touchpoints and will become the focus of all your marketing efforts.


Map your customer's decision journey to find influential touch points
Map your customer’s decision journey to find influential touch points



Part #2 – set baseline metrics

To know if your marketing works or not, we’ll need to know where we’re starting from.  Keep in mind that the metrics you choose to watch will affect what gets managed.  This is important because metrics will shape the behaviour of your team and your focus on developing marketing assets.  The following indicators are but a few examples that could help you figure out if your marketing is working.  There are many more but these should give you a good start.


Make A customer

Sales speed – how long does it take for a customer to move from trigger to buy.

Customer leak – # of purchasers / total # of inquiries

Leads – # of leads generated segmented by campaign, article, video, geographical area etc.


Keep a customer

Net promoter Score – is a measure of how remarkable your buying experience is.  A score over 50% is very high and you can benchmark yourself against other industries

Referrals – how many referrals does your company get?

Rewards given – how many referral rewards do you hand out?  Which are your best referring customers?


Part #3 – Learn 

At this point, you’ve created baseline measurements for all the touch points along your customer’s buying journey.

Now, find the touch points that are most important to you now.  Avoid trying to fix everything now. You’ll likely end up frustrated or overwhelmed by the task. You will need to invest resources into things like developing a non-existent loyalty program, streamlining the lead conversion process of your website or  producing the handout that your customer service team repeatedly asks for.   All of these things are marketing touch points that help to make or keep a customer.

Here comes the fun part.  Allocate your marketing resources (time, people and money) and use an empathy map to make media relevant to your customers.  These media formats could include any or all the following handouts, brochures, how-to videos, podcasts, blog posts, diagrams, photos, landing pages, Adwords ads, TV spots or promo swag.  

Next, learn & repeat.  Create a method to deliver these value creating media assets to your customers.  Record the effect against your baseline metrics.  Learn from the response you get and reinvest in the things that work and pivot your focus from the things that don’t.

As you go through this learning process, you’ll find out what marketing efforts work and what doesn’t.  As you repeat this cycle, you’ll systematically go through all the influential touch points and be able to measure the effect your marketing has on customer acquisition and retention.


Have you tried anything like this before? What do you think of this plan?





  1. Robert Collins says:

    Great post, Marc. I think this is a fantastic way of discovering which marketing channels are most effective for reaching and, more importantly, converting prospects.

    In my experience, clearing defining marketing channels and then modulating those channels based on the resulting data has led to some extremely efficient campaigns, minimal waste, and a better customer experience.

    1. Thanks for your insights Robert!

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