STEP 5 –  Evaluation

Evaluation answers the questions… What worked?  What didn’t work?  What was the return on our investment?

While you may be evaluating different tactics along the way, at the close of your plan, you will review the plan as a whole and determine the outcomes.  Evaluation will include reviewing the performance of each individual tactic and strategy and whether or not you reached your various objectives. When you are determining your tactics, consider ways you can measure and track the success of your tactics.  For example, for your Facebook interactions with customers you could track the interactions you received from posts.  You could include coupons or calls to action so you can show customer response and whether or not that helped you reach your objective.  As part of your evaluation processes, we also recommend signing up for an analytics program like Google analytics to review your online traffic and social media activities.  Google offers a free comprehensive training to help you learn analytics.

For exercise, let’s look at how we would evaluate the example in the previous section of this training.

Objective 1: Increase customer engagement with a focus on digital media platforms by 75% by June 30.

Strategy 1:

  1. Select and develop three social media platforms to create awareness about our business and increase customer engagement.

Tactics: (For Pinterest platform)

  1. Create a Pinterest page with the following boards: New products, Customer testimonials, Customer resources and Support.
  2. Promote the Pinterest page through other social media channels.
  3. Send email invitation to existing database of customers announcing the Pinterest page and its benefits.
  4. Add product whitepapers and how-to ebooks to the Pinterest customer resources board.
  5. Add a FAQ photo and link to the Support board.
  6. Add photos of the many uses of our products to the customer resources board.

Evaluation:  For purposes of evaluation, let’s assume we had a total of 3000 customers and only 300 were actively engaged with us on our existing social media channel Facebook.  Review the performance of the above tactics to determine how many more customers were actively engaged in the time period.  Below are questions you might ask to evaluate these tactics.

1. Did we create a Pinterest page with five customized boards?

Answer: Yes

2. What were the activities and how did they perform?

Activity 1 engaged 100 customers

Activity 2 engaged 75 customers

Activity 3 engaged 48 customers, etc.

Evaluation shows you what tactics are working and what aren’t so that you can make changes going forward.  And remember, for this particular objective, we still have two other strategies that we would evaluate.  If you return to our previous section,building your plan, you will recall the above strategy was only one of three we had devised to help us meet the objective.  The others are shown below.

  1. Select and develop three social media platforms to create awareness about our business and increase customer engagement.
  2. Develop mechanisms to capture customer data and feedback for use in further developing customer communications.
  3. Select and develop traditional marketing platforms to create awareness about our business and increase customer engagement.

As part of our evaluation, we would evaluate the performance of the remaining two strategies and their tactics to see if we met the objective of increasing customer engagement by 75% by June 30.

IMPORTANT NOTE: We have discussed ways that you can evaluate the performance of your tactics and strategies using quantitative analysis.  Just as important, is the process of qualitative analysis where you might consider conducting a customer survey or focus group to gauge their perception of the tactics.  You should also survey your staff for their perception of the tactics.  A survey or focus group is an informal analysis that can provide valuable information.