So, your strategic marketing campaign is complete and you’re ready to plan your next one. Congrats! But before you do, you should be evaluating and analyzing how effective the campaign was so you can do even better next time. However, if you’ve been waiting until the end of your campaigns to analyze them, you’ve been missing out on important data. Campaigns should be evaluated at the beginning, middle, and end. Here’s why!

Collect Benchmark Data in the Beginning

You may be thinking, “What is there to analyze before my campaign even starts?” Although there won’t be results to analyze from your campaign, you can still collect baseline data about your audience’s current attitudes so you can determine what has changed by the end of your campaign.

To begin this process, you should set goals for your campaign. What do you want to achieve? You may want greater brand awareness in your key publics or for your audience to take a specific action, such as purchasing a product, visiting your website, or donating to a cause. Or, perhaps you are trying to change your audience’s attitude about your company or product.

Use the acronym SMART to create your goals. They should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. Read this article to learn more about creating SMART goals.

Once you have established your goals, you should conduct audience research so you will have benchmark data to compare your end results to. How does your audience currently feel about your company? How many visitors does your website currently get per month and how many do you want by the end of the campaign?

Having initial data will give you something to come back to so you can determine the success of the campaign. You may also choose to research similar campaigns from other companies so you can have a realistic idea of what to expect from your own campaign.

Finally, you should decide now how you’re going to analyze the results at the end. Will you conduct a focus group or survey at the beginning and end to determine how your audience’s attitudes have changed? Are you going to record your website traffic each month to see if there’s an increase? Decide this now so you don’t realize later on that you can’t collect the data you need.

Analyze Your Progress in the Middle

Once your campaign has reached the halfway point, you should create a progress report to figure out what’s working and what’s not. Often, tweaks and adjustments can be made, so if something isn’t working you may be able to change it.

Overall, you should determine how your campaign has been progressing so far. Are you on track with both your timeline and budget? You should also look at how your target audience is responding to the campaign and if you’ve started to see a difference in awareness, attitudes, and/or action. Are you seeing more clicks to your website? Are you noticing more positive product reviews? Is your audience taking the action you want them to take? If not, you may want to take another look at your messaging or do further research into what’s worked for other companies. It’s okay to make small changes along the way.

Check out this helpful article for tips on creating a progress report.

Evaluate Your Campaign At the End

Once your campaign is complete, compare your final data to the baseline data you collected at the beginning. If you decide to do a post-campaign focus group or survey, you should conduct this soon after the campaign is complete.

Do you notice any changes or improvements when you compare the end result to your baseline data? Did you achieve the goals you previously set? If not, how far off were you from achieving them?

Regardless of your campaign’s results, there is always room to learn and improve for the next one. Keep these results in mind when you’re planning future marketing campaigns by noting what worked well and what you could have done differently.

Creative Spot is a full-service marketing and advertising agency in Columbus, Ohio. If you would like to learn more about how we can help your organization create a strategic marketing campaign, please contact us.