I'm a huge fan of 360-degree reviews. You may have heard of these. They are typically used in the Human Resource department of a company for employee reviews. The objective of the review is to get a view from all different angles (thus the name 360 degrees) of the particular employee.
Here's how it works: You're an employee working at one of the large automakers (who will remain nameless). Assuming you still have a job, you work daily with other employees just like you, for a direct supervisor. You have people reporting directly to you. In the process of conducting your review to decide whether you will get a two-cent-per-hour raise (I know, don't get too excited), your performance will be reviewed by your boss, your peers, and your own direct reports. This ensures that you're getting the most accurate representation of the quality of your work. It also serves as a great checks-and-balances system. If your boss didn't like you, that is only one leg of the review. And one of these days you will be part of your boss's 360-degree review.
Let's take similar methodology and apply it to your current marketing tactics. This will allow us to see your greatest opportunities for expansion.
Step 1: Make a list of all the people who have a hand in or are touched by your marketing efforts.
For example: The CEO, your marketing director, marketing executives, salespeople, engineers, research and development folks, vendors, partners, and your customers. The key here is to make sure you are not leaving anyone out. If you miss one person, you are not fully getting a 360-degree review.
Step 2: Construct two to three surveys for those people to complete.
The first survey will go to all internal employees, the second to your vendors/partners, if applicable, and the last to your customers. It's up to you if you want to send this to all your customers. It depends highly on how many customers you have. If you're a smaller company, I recommend sending it to all your customers. If you're a larger company with thousands of customers, send it to enough clients to get a good response back. Typical response rates range from 3% to 10%. I've seen lower, but I've also seen response rates as high as 90%. But those are just the averages.
A few important notes on these surveys:
- I encourage you to send these 100% electronically. When sending surveys electronically, you have a much higher chance of getting a response. There are various survey tools out there, such as SurveyMonkey.com, Zoomerang.com, and KeySurvey.com.
- Keep them short to increase your response rate.
- Give some type of incentive for your outside vendors, partners, or customers to fill these out, and watch your response rates skyrocket. (For example, give them 10% off their next order.)
- Modify anything to fit your business.
I like allowing for comments after each question to solicit additional feedback. The reason I ask and solicit more open-ended feedback is to ensure that we don't miss any of the trends.
Step 3: Compile the data.
This is going to take you quite a bit of time. Here are some tips for compiling the data:
- Many of the survey software tools will do this for you.
- Develop three different Microsoft Excel files and label them appropriately (internal, vendors/partners, customers).
- Start with the quantifiable data and get that into Excel. Most likely this will be a simple export.
- Move on to the open-ended questions. Take all the responses for each question and place them into Excel so you can see all the data in front of you.
- Scroll down the column of open-ended questions and look for trends. I like to use the find feature in Excel to see whether similar words are being found. For example, you could search for craigslist to see all the places it was mentioned.
- When you find similar answers in the open-ended questions, group those together.
- When you have this task done, you should be able to easily see the results for the quantifiable section, and all the answers to the open-ended sections grouped together with similar thoughts.
- Lastly, do the same thing with the comments as you did with the open-ended questions: Group similar comments together, using the find feature to aid in this task.
Step 4:Interpret the data.
You now have your data organized in a much more logical format so that you can start figuring out what it all means. Print out all the sheets and spread them out across a long desk so you can see everything. What you're looking for here are trends across the various groups, as well as weaknesses in your marketing strategy. Keep in mind that in this exercise bad news is actually good -- it's what you're looking for. It's great to see the good stuff, but we're more concerned with the areas in which you need to improve because these are your greatest opportunities for improvement and growth. What you are most likely going to find is two-fold: 20% of your marketing is producing the most results. The other 80% is a waste of time, money, and energy.
The above is an adapted excerpt from the book Marketing in the Moment: The Practical Guide to Using Web 3.0 Marketing to Reach Your Customers First by Michael Tasner. The above excerpt is a digitally scanned reproduction of text from print. Although this excerpt has been proofread, occasional errors may appear due to the scanning process. Please refer to the finished book for accuracy.
Copyright © 2010 Michael Tasner, author of Marketing in the Moment: The Practical Guide to Using Web 3.0 Marketing to Reach Your Customers First