By Yasmine Tan

Any communication, regardless of the medium, initiated for the purpose of advertising availability or quality of any property, goods, or services, but such term does not include a communication (A) to any person with that person's prior express invitation or permission, (B) to any person with whom the party has an established business relationship.

The benchmark is a standard or point of reference and in terms of measuring marketing performance, benchmarks are crucial. Benchmarking is the better marketing measurement campaign that aims to use measurement to prove the link between marketing and profit. In the case of education, measurement techniques can be used to prove the link between marketing and student recruitment, external income generation, or whatever the marketing activity has set out to achieve.

However, the task of measuring marketing performance is not an easy one marketing activities take place at a number of different levels, operational, tactical and strategic. In the case of the latter the effects are longer term and less easy to monitor. Proving the link between marketing and profit is not the only reason for measuring marketing performance. If you do not know how effective different activities or initiatives have been then it is not possible to make improvements and ultimately increase value for money with regard to marketing expenditure and deployment of resources.

The task for marketers is to consider how can we measure the effectiveness of what we are doing? The starting point of any measurement has to be establishing a benchmark. From my experience of working within education marketing, increasing numbers of marketers are investigating marketing performance at a tactical level by measuring the effectiveness of specific and discrete campaigns using response mechanisms built into the promotion or admissions procedures. It is important to establish the baseline at the start what would have been achieved without the activity? In the case of introducing new techniques for an annual campaign, the benchmark will be the level of enquiries and/or numbers of students enrolled in the previous year(s).

However, in evaluating effectiveness, other aspects which may impact upon changes in response must also be noted and taken into account. Other marketers are starting to look more broadly at the range of activities that impact on success in terms of student recruitment. A strategic approach to portfolio management, enquiry management systems, improved relationship marketing and better targeting of marketing activities can result in reductions in the numbers of course failures, increasing share of applications, improved conversion, reduced spend in Clearing, achievement of target numbers and reductions in drop-outs.

The difficulty comes in proving the links. Crucial to this is the auditing of current activities and performance levels. The institution needs to be clear on how it is currently performing, and this needs to be built up from school/department level as activities and performance will probably differ. This will determine the current position from which to evaluate future performance. - 18098

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