Interviews, Quotable Magazine

The Numbers that Matter in Marketing

Dawn Foster of D. Foster Marketing

Does the idea of navigating a spreadsheet send you into a cold sweat? If you find yourself without a calculator and faced with long division, do you get short of breath? If you answered yes to any degree, you are likely someone who is not particularly fond of numbers. But, they are an integral element of generating successful practices in business. So, you need to crunch the numbers yet don’t know where to begin, and are without a corporate coworker to assist you. This is where consultation comes into play.

Dawn Foster saw the importance of such services and founded her own marketing consulting business, D. Foster Marketing. We asked her to help break down how to identify and analyze the important numbers.

I want to hear about your business journey first. How did you actually get started with your own business? Can you tell us about your marketing background?

Dawn Foster saw the importance of such services and founded her own marketing consulting business, D. Foster Marketing. We asked her to help break down how to identify and analyze the important numbers in marketing.

I want to hear about your business journey first. How did you actually get started with your own business? Can you tell us about your marketing background?
It’s been a zigzag. The shortest way to tell the story is that I started my career on the design side of things. I got my degree in graphic design communications with a focus in marketing. Earlier in my career, someone introduced to me how numbers, spreadsheets, and data come into play with marketing.

That was a spark for me. I’m one of those people who considers myself to be creative, but who also loves spreadsheets and numbers. I’ve said that if I hadn’t started my career in advertising and marketing, I’d probably be an accountant.

I’m one of those people who love both creativity and numbers and with my business, I’m able to bring both together. I started my business in 2018 technically, while I was still working at my full time job. I started by just helping people who needed a consultant, taking projects just here and there.

But I’m one of those people who went full-time entrepreneurship at the beginning of COVID. You know, it’s interesting, if people got a puppy during COVID, they’re COVID puppies. I don’t know if COVID entrepreneurship is a thing. But, let’s go ahead and make it a thing. I’m a COVID entrepreneur full-time.

I got a call in February, right before things popped off. Someone said that they needed a consultant full time, which would require me to step away from my corporate position and I decided to do it. So, the train was moving. The stay-at-home order came into play as I was transitioning out of my corporate job. Now, here I am— a full-time entrepreneur.

It was great timing for me. I was there just long enough to have my team transition into working from home and to make sure that they were all set up with the new changes. Then, I transitioned out of my corporate position, into full-time entrepreneurship, and I already had a client. That was phenomenal. Since then, I’ve just been taking on clients.

I’m curious about what it’s like moving from a corporate background. Which things did you take from that experience and which things did you leave behind?

One of the things is that I do it my own way. That’s probably one of the bigger things that I’m now able to do as an entrepreneur. When in a corporate position, I always represented someone else, another brain. But now I’m me. I can show up to work 100% myself. I represent my brand. I represent what my business stands for. I determine how I treat my team. I always ask myself, does this align with my morals and my business morals? And that’s one of the things that’s great about entrepreneurship.

There are days where you’re gritting your teeth because of your job, but there’s way more flexibility in being an entrepreneur. Things that I learned from the companies that I’ve worked for: don’t be afraid to change. I’ve seen companies that were afraid to do something different than what they’ve always done, or they always tried to play it safe. I’ve also learned that investing in new ideas and systems is inevitable in order to be successful. It’s something you’re going to have to continuously do.

I think that’s a lesson that works well for my business. I know that I just can’t stay in one place. I need to introduce new processes and new systems if I want to continue to grow and scale.

What do you feel are the things that people are doing wrong with marketing?

It varies. It can range from just lack of consistency, just doing something here and there. It can also be not having a plan or being strategic about what your marketing and branding efforts may include. Also, when you’re not patient with marketing initiatives. It takes a good amount of time to really tell if something is working or not working.

I think that sometimes there are unrealistic expectations. Some people think that, ‘If I do this for one week, two weeks, three weeks, people are going to be banging down my door. I’m going to shut down the internet.’ But that’s not the case.

You also cannot just look at competitors and do what they’re doing. That’s not going to work. Theirs is a different audience. They’re working with a different budget. They have different resources and positioning. Marketing’s not one size fits all, and a lot of people approach it as if it is.

What kind of numbers do you find the most important? How should people be using them?

The numbers you pay attention to should directly relate to what your overall business goals are. If you want to drive more people to your website, that’s your overall business goal. So, with email, you need to look at your click-through rates rather than your open rates. It doesn’t matter if they opened it. You want them to click and get to your website. It’s the numbers that are closer to the bottom of the funnel that should carry the most weight. Numbers to focus on should always tie into how far people are down your funnel and the actual goals of your business.

If consumers aren’t taking the actions that you want, then you need to back out and focus. I’m going to give an example. Say, you want people to book a one-on-one consultation call.

People land on your website, but aren’t booking. You need to figure out what’s happening when they get to your website. If people are opening your email, but not clicking to get to your website, figure out why people aren’t clicking. If no one’s opening your email, you have to figure out why people aren’t opening your email, right?

It’s about paying attention to the numbers that are going to get you closer to your end goal. I always have clients start with a goal. If you’re not starting with a goal, that’s how you go down the path of wasting time, effort, and resources and focusing on things that don’t really matter. Focus your attention on what’s actually going to drive more revenue, or whatever it is that your business focuses on.

In a perfect world, you’d have three months to test things. Three months is ideal because you have a good set of numbers to evaluate success.

Typically within about three weeks, I usually have a gut instinct as to how things will perform, change, and identify any trends. But, within those first three weeks, I won’t touch anything. With that remaining time, I may make a small tweak here and there if I notice that something’s definitely rising to the top. When I say small, I mean small in that it will not impact what it is exactly that we’re measuring.

A great example of that is I live in Texas. In February 2021 things shut down. There was no electricity. Everyone was just in place without power. So for the month of February, for Texas, I couldn’t use that data for your social campaigns because people weren’t on social media the same way. Emails also had to stop because people weren’t opening their inboxes. So, that’s about two weeks of data that I can’t do anything with.

Do you look at these numbers every week?

I personally can obsess over numbers. There are times where I’m looking at numbers once or twice a day, just to see where we’re going and what we’re doing for the client. But, I will give overall reporting once or twice a month. That’s a high-level view. I make it easily digestible for the client. I’ll have my spreadsheet crunch all the numbers and then I’ll translate what it all means. Then, we look for any recommendations or opportunities that come up from the reporting that I put together.

To learn more about Dawn’s journey, listen to her feature episode on the Quotable Podcast.

Connect with Dawn:
Instagram: @dfostermarketing
Facebook: @DFosterMarketing
LinkedIn: @dfostermarketing

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