How Do I Know If I'm Spending My Marketing Dollars in the Right Places?


No matter what business you’re in, advertising is a necessity to influence the consumer, stay front of mind with a target audience, and promote your business, brand, or promotion to new or existing customers. Whether you’re utilizing radio advertising, magazine advertising, or digital advertising in your marketing strategy, it’s crucial to know the best channels to spend your budgeted advertising dollars and ensure the most success with your marketing efforts.

Like everything else, advertising equals money. By the time you pay for content, design, placement, and other expenses, you’re looking at quite a hefty bill. That’s why determining marketing ROI can help you decide the best way to spend your marketing dollars, and is such an important practice for small to medium-sized businesses. Thankfully, there are strategies, tactics, and resources that can help, even if you don’t have experience developing a marketing budget or analyzing your advertising success.

Below are steps to take when planning your marketing strategy, which can help determine the best ways to spend your marketing dollars, no matter what industry you’re in.Guide-to-Tracking-Marketing-ROI

Before Spending Marketing Dollars

The first thing you should do as a business is to determine your overall marketing goals for the campaign. What are you trying to get from your advertising and marketing efforts? Are you trying to increase sales or attract new leads? Maybe you want to drive attendance to an event or increase traffic to your website.

It’s also important to consider the target audience for the campaign and research the demographics, know where they spend time (What mediums do they spend time on?), and how they can benefit from your business, product, or promotion.

Next, determine how you can measure success based on your goal. This can help define what the call to action should be. If the goal is to encourage a purchase from your website, use a special offer code to track the ad’s success and make sure that it is clearly stated in your call-to-action.

Last, choose the best medium for your ads based on your target audience and the demographics that the potential mediums offer. Check to see if the demographics of your target audience align with those of the advertising channel. If you are targeting a millennial audience, understand where and when they spend time on the advertising channels you are considering for your ad placements.

Throughout The Duration Of The Ad

You’ll want to be intentional with your marketing efforts during the ad to help you know if you are spending your dollars in the best way. Tracking is vital to determining the success of your marketing. Train front-line employees, as well as decision-makers, on how to track your call-to-action throughout the duration of your marketing efforts.


If there are coupons, special codes, or if you need a head count (ex. If you are marketing your event, you need to know the total number of attendees), all employees should be knowledgeable about what to track and how.

Also, if collecting detailed information is necessary, like collecting contact information for new leads, educate employees on the importance of the data along with the proper collection process. Consistently review and analyze the tracking metrics throughout your marketing efforts so you can realign the efforts if something is not going right.

After The Ad Is Complete

Once the ad is complete, you’ll want to pull all tracking information related to your efforts and determine the return on investment (ROI) based on your goals. There are several ways to measure and determine the ROI of your marketing based on different variables and goals. 

Based on the ROI for your marketing efforts, consider whether (or not) the ad is worth running again, or if it could be enhanced (content, messaging, medium, etc.) before placing it in the future. Consider the following factors when analyzing your marketing efforts and their ROI, and reassessing for future use:

  • Medium: Was this medium successful or would the ad perform better on a different medium?
  • Duration: Did you allow enough time for marketing efforts to make an impact? Or, possibly, were they running too long?
  • Timing: Would these efforts have performed better at a different time of day, week or year? Are they timely based on holidays, calendars, etc.?
  • Creative: Could something be slightly altered to have a different impact moving forward? Colors, images, messaging, etc., could all affect the creative impact.

Research, planning, tracking, and analyzing are key steps to determining whether (or not) you are spending your marketing dollars in the right place and if your marketing efforts are effective. While there are many more details and factors that determine the success of your marketing, these steps can get you on the right track to spending your marketing dollars wisely. Mid-Missouri-Marketing-Resource-Blog-Subscription

Originally posted 11/21/16 - Updated 2/15/23

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