Yesterday was a chaotic day at my house - the furnace died late last week, just in time for a weekend of lows in the 30s. Yes, I'm a New Englander, Houston winter should never be a problem, but come on - cold damp weather in a typically badly insulated Gulf Coast house is not a fun time. Long story short, an entirely new furnace and duct work went in today.
At one point I was chatting with the technician who was running the show, and we started talking about marketing. "I'm a marketing buff!" he said. And you know what - he sure is.
He was talking about how aggressive the salespeople for yellow pages ads were, and I said, "Are the ads worth it?"
"Oh yeah," he said, and explained why. And he knew his stuff. He had actually set up a system so that when new customers call, they track what ad they saw. He'd figured out what percentage of those calls result in business, how much that business is worth on average, and come up with a number for the value of the average inquiry from a yellow pages ad. So he could easily count the calls and decide if the ads were worth running.
Folks, I've worked at $100 million dollar companies doing B2B advertising that can't do that.
You don't have to be one of the big guys to get this stuff right. You just have to think about the process from inquiry to sale, and pay attention to how it's working, and attach some metrics. Yes, it can be more complicated that this. But the guy installing my new furnace today was brighter about this than some marketing execs I've known.