Plot Your Effort and Track Your Results

A service company in Southern California decided to embark on a massive door hanger campaign in key communities. To keep things straight and ensure he didn't miss any streets, the owner bought a large map of the area and had it dry mounted at a local framing shop. As each street was canvassed, he highlighted the street on his map. If a street was hit a second time, the map was highlighted with a thicker line.

After the campaign had been in place for a couple of weeks, he purchased red map pins to mark the addresses where his calls came from. It soon became apparent that the majority of calls came from the neighborhoods where the company had put forth a marketing effort. The most calls came from the streets where door hangers had been hung repeatedly.

Like many business owners, he had always faced a battle getting his people to put door hangers out following each service call. Though he preached the need to place door hangers on the two houses to each side of the customer and the five neighbors across the street, few actually were placed. With the map as evidence, he was better able to demonstrate the effectiveness of the simple door hanger. Getting service personnel to follow through will always be a battle, but slowly he achieved more and more compliance. With more and more compliance, came more and more calls.

Like many business owners, he fought daily (hourly?) fires. It's easy to overlook marketing in such an environment. However, with the map staring him in the face when he walked in the shop every day, the correlation between his minimal marketing effort and the calls he received was impossible to ignore. Because he could so clearly see the results of past efforts, he persisted in the present effort.

It's simple. Create a visual record of your marketing and your call activity. The two should correlate, motivating you to put forth greater effort.

If there is not a correlation, something is wrong. Either you haven't given it enough time, you've got the wrong message or offer, or you're targeting the wrong area. If more time is needed, take it. Eventually, you may need to make corrections in the message, the offer, or the target. Otherwise, you're wasting money.

Refine Your Mapping
Say that you've decided to buy a city map and plot your marketing efforts and calls. Carry it a step further to plot the efficiency of different marketing vehicles.

Instead of sending out a single direct mail piece, send out two. Change one element. Change the headline. Change the copy. Change the way the offer is presenteded. Change the offer. Highlight the streets where each is mailed in a different color and plot the results.

If you put up a billboard or two, mark them on the map. See if you observe any patterns emerging in the call activity. Use red map pins before you start the billboard campaign and blue pins after you start. Of course, you should give it time. It may take awhile for any pattern to emerge.

Test the effectiveness of mixed media. Use one color where you try mail in combination with door hangers and another for mail in combination with telemarketing.

While you can quantitatively measure the results from each tweak in the marketing program, maps make the results come alive. Maps help draw an association.

You can even overlay demographic variables to see if certain marketing efforts work better on some groups than others. It could be that your furniture restoration ad is drawing far more heavily among consumers from neighborhoods that are at least ten years old, or from newer, move-up neighborhoods because the furniture purchased ten years ago is starting to wear. Knowing this helps refine your marketing.

The more you know about what works and what doesn't, about what works for whom and what doesn't, the more effective and efficient your marketing becomes. In other words, you spend less and make more.

Matt Michel is president of the Service Roundtable (, an organization dedicated to helping contractors prosper. Matt is also the publisher of Comanche Marketing, a free marketing e-zine. Subscriptions are available at You can contact him directly at [email protected]. Or send your comments to Contracting Business at [email protected].
Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.