Marketing Waste: Measuring Success

December 5, 2007 by

This is part 2 of a 4 part series on using your marketing budget effectively. You can read the original post to get a better understanding of Tim’s money-saving advice.

We established last time that avoiding wasted money in marketing hinges on measuring results. So, how do we do that in a church? Well, I’ve put together a simple, three step process to help you.

Step 1: Establish a measurable indicator for every marketing effort.

What will you watch to see if your marketing effort is successful? If you can’t answer that question, stop right now before it’s too late!

Measurable indicators, or goals, should be specific so that you can tell if you really meet them. For example, you might send out a direct mail piece to your community and then watch your worship attendance the next Sunday to see if it goes up. Well, that’s an indicator, but it’s not terribly specific. A lot of things might influence your worship attendance, so how do you really know if your marketing helped?

On the other hand, if you include a coupon on the direct mail piece that someone can redeem at the church on Sunday, you can collect direct mail pieces and see exactly how many people received them and brought them back. That’s more specific. Or, what if you put a special URL on the postcard pointing people to a hidden page on your web site? Track the traffic to that page and you know exactly how many people responded to your ad.

One of the problems church staffs have with setting up these goals is that they don’t seem very “spiritual.” But broader, spiritual indicators, while noble, are difficult to measure. We’d all love to see more people grow closer to Christ as a result of our marketing efforts, but how will we know if that happens? Our specific indicator may not be eternally significant, but its purpose is only to measure the effectiveness of the marketing effort and keep us from wasting money. Keep this in mind when setting your specific, measurable goals.

Use the Internet to measure your goals.

The Internet can provide you with accurate, real-time tracking. Why not create goals that take place on the Internet so that you can measure them easily and effectively? A goal might be a visiting a certain page on your web site, signing up for a newsletter or completing any online form. For each of our company’s software products, our goal is getting a person to sign up for a free account. By using a tracking software like Google Analytics you can precisely track how many people complete your goal and where they come from.

Post By:

Tim Wall


Tim Wall used to be a full-time pastor of technology, communications and what not. Now he leads worship at his church, he blogs (sometimes), and he also works for Element Fusion, a company that builds web-based software products like Sky and Light.
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6 Responses to “Marketing Waste: Measuring Success”

  • Nathan Ketsdever
    December 5, 2007

    Great post. How do you do that in the context of social media and blogging


  • Nathan Ketsdever
    December 5, 2007

    Great post. How do you do that in the context of social media and blogging


  • Tim Wall
    December 5, 2007

    Nathan, the nice thing about social media and blogging is that the tracking mechanisms are already in place. If you can create a goal that exists online, say, tracking unique visitors to your website … etc., then you can easily see where they are coming from and get value.
    The trick, as with any effort, is establishing the goal and making sure it is trackable.
    If you have further questions about this let me know. The next few posts in the series will get more into the cost side of the equation and measuring return so be sure to check those out.


  • Paul Loeffler
    December 6, 2007

    Yes, but these two examples only measure things that occur if there’s enough interest by the person for them to turn in the coupon, or go to the website. Is there a way to extrapolate the little bit you get into how many actually came? If you market a concert, you can tell how it worked by how many tickets you sold because they have to have a ticket to get in. If I advertise a free Christmas Cantata, offering a coupon for free coffee if they come, all it measures is how many people like coffee, and were willing to stand in line, or got there early enough to. Does that make sense?


  • Stephen
    December 7, 2007

    Thanks for the timely reminder Tim to include measuring into marketing strategy. It seems as though that can often be the last thing included, and the first left out of marketing planning. Thre is a reason for that – it’s the most difficult part!
    However, I am not sure that an entire marketing strategy should be dependant on each activity having tangible positive results. Brand growth and development will come from a variety of ‘contact points’ with the ‘customer’ (using that term for potential church goer for the want of a better word).
    It does take repetition and mutliple ‘hits’ before someone gets the message and might bite the line. I agree that measuring is important, but it’s also crucial not to throw away a good marketing activity just because statistics don’t tell a good story.


  • Tim Wall
    December 12, 2007

    @Paul — good points. That is exactly why setting the goal is very important. You have to make sure that whatever goal will give you valuable information back.
    @Stephen — I agree that some aspects of marketing cannot be measured, but I also think we tend to use that as an excuse sometimes when, with a little extra work, we could achieve some form of measurable results.



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