Monday, October 8, 2007

Measuring and Tracking Your Marketing Effectiveness

I hate to admit if for all of cyberspace to know but . . . I guess we are kind of geeky. And, now, we have reason to be proud of our geekiness!

There have been countless studies on how few companies really have a handle on how their marketing campaigns truly perform. And, in the frenetic pace of life that exists within most companies today, marketers simply move on to the next campaign without fully understanding what occurred in the last one. This is pure craziness . . . and definitely where that geekiness comes into play.

Vtrenz has recently written a whitepaper on this very subject and some of the statistics noted within it are astounding. For example, "38% of marketers say that new marketing campaigns are rushed to market based on the limited intuition of a few people." What??!?!?! The paper goes on to talk about the fact that the very nature of many marketers is that they are more drawn towards the sexy, creative, right-brained part of marketing, rather than the "boring" left-brained analytical part of it. As strange as it may sound, this boring stuff is the very thing we live for! Let's face it, without the power of analytics, how are you ever going to know -- beyond a gut feeling -- how your marketing campaigns are actually performing? You can't know unless you close the loop and measure each campaign's performance.

Vtrenz also tells us that most companies are struggling with measuring the financial impact of marketing campaigns, and, in fact "42% of them say that their company's ability to measure financial returns from marketing programs is a long way from where it could be."

We're not saying that it's easy to put measurement systems into place, however, it really isn't that hard and it doesn't have to be expensive.

Vtrenz cites five first steps of getting this measurement system in place:
  • Define marketing ROI and obtain agreement from the Leadership Team
  • Create a closed-loop process through your marketing systems
  • Draft marketing ROI plan and include sales in the thought process
  • Monitor implementation for areas of improvement
  • Incorporate ROI findings into the planning process
Now, we're not saying that a lot of thought and time doesn't go into this. In fact, it does. However, we'll argue any day of the week, that without some way to track the effectiveness of your marketing programs you are doomed to failure. Some time or another, you are going to be asked about the dollars that you are spending on your campaigns, how what you are doing is increasing sales or bottom-line profitability, or some such question. If you can't provide proof of the success that you are creating through your marketing programs, management scrutiny will increase, your budget will be cut or worse.

It is incumbent upon all of us direct marketers to take a scientific approach to what we do on a daily basis to increase profitability. If you are struggling with putting a measurement system into place, take a look at this whitepaper (you'll have to comment and ask for it from us or look on Vtrenz's website for it). It will give you the insight you need to get started on this process and at least provide an outline that you can share with your Leadership to get them to buy-in. We predict that you'll come out smelling like roses.

Just tell your boss that the geeks from RRW think it's a good idea!


KDPaine said...

I share your astonishment. I've been helping organizations measure their marketing effectiveness for 20 years so it's not like it's a new concept. The key is that "gut feeling" stuff. Too often it comes down to whose gut is bigger and more powerful. How much longer will it be until marketing is driven by data instead of instinct?

Nancy Arter said...

I hear you, KD! It is very frustrating, and as reported on our post today, the employment market is getting tougher for mediocre direct marketers. You have to be proving your effectiveness and the effectiveness of your campaigns consistently. Those who continue to go with instinct better have great -- and correct-- instinct.

Thanks for the comment!