Companies can not survive for long without effective marketing. Marketing plans establish a company's primary goals and strategies for promoting its products or services. After a company plans and sets its marketing plans in motion, it is essential that it follows up with an evaluation of the marketing plan using some or all of these seven ways to view the market evaluation process.

1. Return on Investment

When companies put together marketing plans and spend money putting them into action, they expect to see a return on their investment. Whatever they spend, they expect to receive more in value — whether in the form of sales that exceed the money spent or in the form of new customers that will pay off over time. Having concrete end goals in mind helps companies determine if they have received an adequate return on investment.

2. Reviewing Sales Numbers

Evaluating sales numbers is the most fundamental way to determine the effectiveness of a marketing plan. The easiest way to do this is by comparing post-marketing campaign sales totals with prior periods. For example, if a company was doing $50,000 in shoe sales before a marketing campaign and those sales increase to $75,000 afterward, it is a safe assumption that the campaign was effective.

Some marketing efforts, such as plans that are implemented with long-term intentions, cannot be measured with a simple side-by-side sales comparison in a specific period.

3. Examining Lead Generation

Not all marketing efforts lead to direct sales. However, if a company generates leads from its efforts, the marketing is considered successful because leads fuel the sales funnel. Lead generation comes in forms such as an increase in appointments, an increase in subscribers to a mailing list or an increase in responses in general. Setting quantifiable goals makes tracking lead generations much more useful.

4. Reach of Marketing Efforts

Marketing that expands into new regions is a positive sign. Customer recommendations and word-of-mouth can broaden the reach of marketing campaigns and is usually a positive indicator. The more customer referrals, the better.

5. Paying Attention to Customer Response

Marketing plans are geared toward customers — both current and future. How customers respond to marketing efforts is a sign of a plan's effectiveness. Surveys are a direct way to solicit customer input on specific aspects of marketing campaigns. No matter how good a company feels about its marketing plan, if customers do not feel the same way, it is ineffective.

6. Feedback From Salespeople

It is not enough for companies to hear back from the employees tasked with creating a marketing plan; they must also value the input from their salespeople. Salespeople interact directly with customers, which gives them insight that can help in the evaluation of the plan.

7. Competitor Response to Marketing Plans

The way competitors respond to a marketing plan is often a sign of its effectiveness. If a company puts out a marketing campaign and its competitors replicate it, that is a sign that the campaign is working and gaining traction. If all the competitors in a company's sector go in a different direction with their marketing efforts, it could be because they noticed inefficiencies in a company's marketing plans.