When measuring the sales lift of a marketing campaign, 45% of marketers use some form of basic pre-post marketing analysis, according to The Lenskold Group and MarketingProfs 2007 Marketing ROI & Measurements Study.

A pre-post analysis compares the average sales levels for a period prior to the marketing campaign with the sales levels during and possibly following the campaign. Although that sales lift calculation is fairly easy and the data is similarly easy to access, the question remains: Is it accurate and reliable?

I've met marketing professionals from Fortune 500 firms who admit that every time a pre-post analysis shows a positive lift they attribute the lift to marketing, and when it shows a decline in sales they attribute the decline to non-marketing factors.

The reality is that sales fluctuations are driven by more than just a single marketing initiative, and executives are savvy enough to know that you can't take credit for the upside and no responsibility for the downside.

So the typical pre-post measurement is not accurate enough to support major marketing decisions; moreover, if it is not managed correctly and improved, Marketing can take a significant hit on credibility.

But don't give up on pre-post measurement altogether. This article will explain what you need to know to improve its accuracy and how it should fit into your mix of measurement methodologies.

Pre-Post Analysis Limitations and Potential

How to calculate the lift in sales from a marketing initiative? For the most part, all measurements must work to identify the sales "baseline" (i.e., the sales that would have happened in the absence of marketing), which is then compared with the actual sales.

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image of Jim Lenskold
Jim Lenskold is founder and president of Lenskold Group (www.lenskold.com), a consultancy that delivers a comprehensive approach to marketing ROI measurement and management. He can be reached at jlenskold@lenskold.com.