If you can MEASURE it, you can control it.

Whether you are talking about readership of advertisements, response to direct mail, or response to a promotional program, to measure your ROI you will need to control WHAT you do, and HOW you do it. For example, we once placed 26 different 800- phone numbers (pre-Internet days) to measure the effectiveness of an advertising campaign for a client. We not only knew which ads worked, we helped the client understand which markets were hotter than others, why they were hotter, and what to do about it.

Before you talk about measurement, you have to understand control, and the controls available to you and your marketing. AIM is ready when you are. Read more about some of the controls we put in place for our clients, and then let’s talk measurement!

Market share

AIM conducted one study on a client’s distributor customer base. Knowing this client, we also surveyed the distributor’s customers, the contractors. We painted a more accurate picture of the true size of the market.

We presented privately to the National Sales Manager. “Where did you get these numbers?” he asked. “From your customers,” we told him. “They’re wrong,” he argued. Anticipating his reaction, we proudly countered that we had surveyed his customer’s customers and showed the conclusion. The client was stunned. Up until that time, they had calculated the market as their sales plus a certain number of units. As they were the market leader, they figured that was a good estimate. Our research revealed a much larger market, and once they saw that, in two years, they increased their sales over 33% by driving their rep force to new heights and not being satisfied with the status quo.

Customer response

Response contains another principle often overlooked in the marketing mix: conversion to response. In many cases, marketers drive for response and neglect the conversion-to-response ratios. One client wanted to create a package for recruiting students to its technology school. It had a control package that while it did well, needed refreshing. AIM studied the problem and proposed a package that contained a customized letter from the President of the technology school aimed at three target groups: ex-military, female high school graduates, male high school graduates. The package contained an offer for a no-obligation evaluation from a subject-interest level. The response to these packages did not beat the control response; however, the conversion-to-student ratio rose 64%! Conversion-to-buyer ratios are extremely important, and AIM utilizes these to advance the buyer-seller relationship.

Message appeal

One client asked us to hone their message to a target audience of engineers; specifically, how manufacturers relate to engineers. AIM market research produced four concepts that their targets were interested in: A company that will be there for them for the long term, a company that would be responsive to problems when they arose, and two other messages. These messages were then tested with specific customers and non-customers.

AIM produced the resulting advertising using what we now call our “eavesdropping” technique. It is based on everyone’s innate interest in “listening in” on conversations. The spread ads pictured two people talking, and the long headlines featured a direct quote highlighting the messages that the research uncovered. When the ads broke, the client was overwhelmed with responses. “That’s just what I was looking for,” was a message we heard back from the client’s prospects. In an independent readership study, the ads scored as the most read ad in the issues where it appeared. Often message testing research leads directly to proper execution of advertising.


As your current markets experience the economy’s effects, your competitors are looking for fresh hunting grounds. Holding onto customers has never been tougher or more critical to success. The problem of retention, however, begins with understanding your own customer base. Recency, Frequency and Monetary (RFM) analysis can give you important insights into what keeps your customers your customers.

AIM ran a RFM analysis on one of our client’s “dead files” – customers that haven’t been contacted or haven’t ordered for a period of time. One customer from a dead file said, “I thought the company went out of business.” Another from a different data set said, “I just started buying from the competitor because they made it easier for me.” In both cases, information was harvested that enabled better retention strategies.