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Brands: The advantages of owning your brand trackers

Posted by Jason Abromaitis and Drew Chambers on Aug 20, 2019 9:02:00 AM

Don’t let the students grade their own tests! When you own the analysis and ROI calculation (instead of your agencies) you will get a more honest view of what is and is not working.

You need to track a lot of information to understand your position in the market. And there are no shortage of ‘MarTech’ companies out there offering ways for you to view that data based on a wide range of sales and marketing tactics that you may employ. Your agency has been all too eager to help you to monitor your marketing efforts as it helps them to control the flow of information about what isn’t going well.

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The students grading their own tests

Our CEO Jason Abromaitis uses this phrase and it couldn’t be more apt. When your agency owns the data and reporting, you’re asking them to grade themselves. You’re also missing the opportunity to assess new ideas that you may have that may make the difference.

We believe that agencies are mostly honest and hardworking and want to help you to grow. But they are still motivated to make sure that you view them in the most positive way possible. One easy place to start taking back control of the process and getting a more honest scorecard is to take ownership of your brand tracker. By getting an unbiased view of your brand, you can get better insight into the areas that need improvement without the sort of ‘touch-up’ that an agency might add to soften reality.

An added benefit to taking ownership of your brand tracker is portability. If you look to switch agencies, it can be tough to tie metrics given different data sources, methodologies, etc. With Corus, you'll be able to track performance consistently across your business and over time.

Sure, agencies won’t love having you take over the brand tracker given the enhanced accountability and reduced barrier to breaking up, but you’ll be making their job easier in at least one way as you give them clear metrics and goals at the outset of any campaign.

Getting Started

The general framework of a brand tracker is straightforward, a funnel of the population down to your most loyal customers. Depending on your industry, you may need to include awareness and adoption of an entirely new category of product or service in addition to assessing awareness, consideration, trial, and usage of your brand. We have template surveys ready for you to begin the process of developing your brand tracker, and support available to make sure that you’re asking the right questions of the right audience.

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A simple framework for brand tracker contents is to ask each of the following in a concise way:

  • KPIs
    • Category awareness, need, consideration, use
    • Brand Awareness - aided and unaided
    • Brand Consideration (if applicable)
    • Brand Trial and Recency (if applicable)
    • Brand Satisfaction (if applicable)
    • Brand Loyalty (if applicable)
  • Likely Drivers
    • Demographics
    • Psychographics
    • Past Experience with Category / Brand
    • Barriers to Trial - e.g. cost, alternative solutions, distribution / availability
  • Appeal of new ideas
    • There is usually room to test new concepts within this framework to a subset of respondents to get a sense of the impact of those concepts on consideration

Keep these surveys simple, quick, and on a regular cadence (monthly or quarterly is most common). If you need help keeping surveys short, check out this piece here. In asking questions about each topic, ask meaningful questions. Think about the difference between, ‘Were you satisfied with your experience?’ and ‘Would you be disappointed if you couldn’t have that experience again?’ or the difference between ‘Would you buy from us again?’ and ‘Will you be purchasing from us again in the next 3 months?’. These little nuances make a big difference in getting more meaningful data that will find problems sooner.

A note on audience - as you have a target customer or key segments defined, you may want to set up a tracker that specifically targets the customers you’re looking to win in addition to general population (census-matched) so that you can see if there are pockets of customers you’re missing and how you’re doing in serving your core audience.

Switching Panel

If you have a specific targeted population, we make it very easy to identify and screen for the participants you need. If you’re looking for general population, we have a one-click census matching ability. Many companies will push you to build an ‘online community’, but maintaining a panel is expensive and challenging, and an outdated concept given the beauty of a simple random sample. Trying to track longitudinal changes bottom-up has more downside than benefits compared to a top-down random audience with reasonably balanced quotas.

Sample Size

This dovetails to another question we get all the time, which is how many respondents do you need for statistical significance? As with any analysis, the more data the better, and we tend to encourage around 1000 responses to start so you can do some deeper diving. With a particular segment, 60 responses should give you directional insight, and shoot for 160 in any given segment for more solid insight.

Follow up

Trackers are most valuable when they’re used on an ongoing basis. This way you can start to track the efficacy of the initiatives that you’re driving. Much like you’d use social media tracking tools to see if your mentions are going up, you can also start tying together feedback from real people about whether your efforts are affecting purchase behavior.

As with all the tools at your disposal here at Corus, we’re happy to also help guide this journey for you. We really think it’s a valuable piece of the puzzle that brands can leverage to improve ROI in a meaningful way. Good luck!

Read more about use cases: Use Case

Topics: Insider, market research, brand tracker

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