As a business owner of a career coaching/résumé writing firm, I struggle with knowing when to abandon an idea or a type of marketing. Is there a resource that shows when certain marketing efforts should gain momentum based on dollar amount, target audience, scope and depth of undertaking?

For example, let’s say I decide to explore various social media outlets. How do I know how long to make efforts building my Twitter followers?

Tara A. Goodfellow, Athena Educational Consultants INC.,



“It depends” probably isn’t the response you’re expecting. But there is sufficient truth here, especially as it relates to social media tracking. Marketing, combining art and science, does have an element of trial and error. To limit the ‘‘error’’ part, it’s important to be determined about what accomplishment(s) you’re trying to achieve. This requires projecting clear, strong and specific goals for these initiatives. If your aim is to attract ‘‘X’’ number of Twitter followers, your successes will be defined by how actively you pursue almost daily consistency in tweeting and retweeting posts.

Newsletters are usually considered a marketing piece that confirms your presence in a marketplace and your regular attention to the statistics and trends that your audience will appreciate getting from you. Newsletters can enhance your credibility and are a long-term promotional element, so they don’t always allow for specific tracking.

“With a variety of digital/social tools as options, it’s easy to test various avenues with small dollar amounts to determine the effectiveness of ‘call-to-action’ messages,” says Martha McCarthy, co-founder and CEO of the Social Lights and a St. Thomas alum. “These will be effective guides as to whether to continue, and what channels to add. With blogs and branded media outlets Facebook, Twitter, Linked­In, etc., it’s more about slowly building brand awareness.’’

About the author: Michael Hoffman, participating adjunct in marketing, University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business.