Tracking the Effectiveness of Ads

Subject: Tracking the Effectiveness of Ads
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com>
To: techwr-l digest recipients <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 14 Sep 2000 10:30:49 -0700

In between writing the chapters of my latest manual, I'm
organizing a print ad campaign. The campaign has several distinct
phases, starting with building company recognition, the release
of each product, and the detailed ad for each product.

This isn't the first time through this process for me, so I feel
reasonably confident about the contents of the ads. However, this
time around, I've very concerned to evaluate the effectiveness of
advertising in each source. It's not that the company needs to
save money, although it is cautious. It's more that I have seen
advertising cost run out of control in the past. For example, the
last company I was associated with kept adding new venues for
advertising and didn't stop to evaluate what it was doing until
it had over 40 venues and was locked into yearly contracts with
most of them. This kind of practice is very easy to fall into,
and I (as well as my client) would like a more responsible

So far, I've thought of two means of tracking:

1.) Find out when each magazine will be on the shelf and track
activity on the company web site, as well as phone calls in the
next five days or so. This approach will worst best if each
magazine one at a time to the list of venues.

2.) Put some sort of tracking code into the ad that people can
refer to when they contact the company. However, I'm not sure
that people will bother unless there's some reward for using the
code, and the company is cautious about possibly open-ended

The trouble is, I have no formal marketing background. I've
learned on the fly, branching out from pure technical writing as
clients asked me to. So, although I feel confident about the
content, I'm less certain how to get some results to analyze.

Does anyone have any suggestions about how to track ads?

My thanks in advance for any replies.

Bruce Byfield, Outlaw Communications
Contributing Editor, Maximum Linux
bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com | Tel: 604.421.7189

"'O 'Melia, my dear, this does everything crown!
Who could have supposed I should meet you in Town?
And whence such fair garments, such prosperi-ty?' --
'O didn't you know I'd been ruined?' says she."
-Thomas Hardy, "The Ruined Maid"

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