Measuring Marketing

August 17, 2010

In our recent survey of shopping centre managers, we found that 80% of shopping centres were commissioning advertising to promote themselves. What surprised us was that only 50% of shopping centres were measuring how effective their advertising was.

Marketing budgets can be enormous, with huge TV ad campaigns, but without market research it is impossible to tell if your message is getting to the right people and if it is influencing their behaviour.

Lord Leverhulme famously said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted, and the problem is I do not know which half.” Without this type of feedback on marketing campaigns some shopping centres will never know.

It all Ads up

August 3, 2010

It’s good to see ITV back in the black, benefitting from a general increase in advertising spend.  As the economy has been recovering, firms are reinvesting in their marketing budgets, but are very much conscious of getting value for money.

We at Business Blueprints offer an independent assessment of how effective marketing campaigns are.  A clear indication of the penetration, awareness and relevance of a campaign that is not prejudiced by self-interest, gives you the information you need to judge the performance of your marketing budgets.

In a recent survey, we found that whilst 8-out-of-10 respondents were spending money on advertising, only 50% were conducting any research about the effect of their advertising, and only 35% were getting any customer feedback at all.

False Positives

July 27, 2010

In a recent piece of research amongst shopping centre managers, we found that all the centres we spoke to are tracking footfall as part of measuring the performance of their centres. Footfall is useful figure  and a common currency that everyone can understand as it gives a broad indication of how a scheme is performing, so we weren’t that surprised by this result. What did surprise us was that less than 15% of centres were measuring their conversion.

Knowing footfall has gone up would lead you to believe that your centre is performing better, but if your conversion has dropped, you may actually have less people spending money than you had before.  So the centre may actually be performing worse in financial terms, but someone only tracking footfall may well believe that their centre is actually improving, and the root of the problem will never be looked in to.

By measuring other metrics such as conversion and party spend you can get a more accurate picture of the health of your scheme.

Whatever next? It’s PyjamaGate

January 29, 2010

In amongst all the doom and gloom in our world it is great to see we still have a sense of perspective and the ability to focus on the real issues.

It seems that the wearing of pyjamas has become a hot topic for one supermarket in South Wales where customers have been pushing their trolleys dressed in their finest sleepwear. This of course raises a good question. Should shoppers be able to dress as they like or does Tesco have the right to dictate what their customers do or do not wear? Where does this lead on to? Banning football shirts but allowing rugby shirts, allowing jeans but not if they are too low slung?

Thankfully once again research comes to the rescue with the clarification that footwear must be worn and and nightwear is not permitted – a decision arrived at (according to the Tesco’s spokesperson) by “listening to customer feedback”.

Whose tips are they anyway?

November 26, 2008

The Government has published ‘Service Charges, Tips, Gratuities and Cover Charges: A Consultation’ which seeks views on how the law should be changed to prevent employers using tips or service charges to bring employees’ pay up to the level of the national minimum wage.

I have no doubt that they will receive plenty of views on this as it is a highly emotive subject as you will know if you have any involvement in the operation of a restaurant.  Through staff surveys Business Blueprints discovered 90% of a typical front of house team believe that the tips are entirely theirs as a personal affirmation of their excellent work from their customers.

The most important perspective on this I believe is that of the customer and their intention when they left the additional sum of money over and above the bill for their meal.  At Business Blueprints on a number of occasions we have gained insight through research with regular restaurant users in both focus groups and quantitative studies as to the reasons why they leave a tip and who they intend to receive it.   30% of customers do not leave a tip because the food and/or the service was not good enough.  85% who leave a tip intend for the money to be left equally for the team that created a great experience including attentive service, a caring atmosphere and delicious food.    All the aspects that Business Blueprints seeks to measure in a mystery visit to reflect the likelihood of a person returning to and recommending a restaurant.

And then there is the employers’ or restauranteurs’ perspective – they build a typical high street restaurant at today’s rates for anywhere between £400k and £1,000,000, pay the rent or mortgage, they hand pick the staff, train them, buy all the food, create a ambience that guests appreciate and want to come back to, provide the equipment to cook the food on, provide the recipes and the motivation to do all the above consistently!

What other business or industry is there an external influence on how any income generated by the business is distributed amongst the people who work there – other than ensuring that the statutory and good employee regulations are maintained?

The “restaurant” that creates a memorable experience that can be relished, recommended and repeated will always be rewarded with a good tip!  Surely it is therefore up to the “restaurant” to decide the best way to distribute the “restaurant ” income in order to encourage and reward the team just like any other business – If they decide to in an unjust manner then the business will suffer just like any other.