Monday, November 07, 2005

Never Again

With many of you in the throes of 2006 planning and others just emerging from it, now might be a good time to take the pledge of planning sanity for next year. Repeat after me …

“I will NEVER AGAIN go through such a convoluted, sloppy, opinion-driven process of requesting marketing resources and subjecting myself to the eye-rolling, sighing, smug resistance of finance. Next year, I WILL have more factual insight and disciplined measurement structure on my side.”

Great! Now it’s time to get started. Right now.

Not because the pain is still fresh and the motivation high (although that might actually help), but because it will take you a year to develop, validate, and properly stakeholder an effective marketing measurement process. So if you start now, you might just have something in place that makes the process much more collaborative and rational in the fall of ’06.

Some of you might be asking, “Why does it take so long?” The answer is that no effective marketing measurement system is a simple mathematical exercise. The issues are complex; the necessary information and data flows are rarely in place at the start; and there WILL be a number of assumptions that need to be made in the absence of a perfectly reliable algorithm. Not to mention that there may not even be any clear alignment across the organization on what the role of marketing is and what would constitute the definition of “success” in measuring marketing effectiveness.

On the other hand, others out there may be thinking that it’s ambitious to expect to build a comprehensive measurement structure or marketing dashboard in just nine months or so. Perhaps. But if you start with alignment amongst key decision makers on exactly what you’re trying to measure, you can begin to build and deploy your measurement process in stages — bringing modules into play as they are developed and instilling a greater sense of confidence and anticipation as you go. Don’t underestimate the credibility to be gained from just scoping the task and beginning to show progress.

So if the planning process has gotten the best of you this year, start now to ensure you get on a more level playing field next year. Once you’ve sized and scoped what it will take to really create a credible measurement process, you’ll be glad you started early.

Anyone have any experience to share on how long it took them to get a workable measurement framework in place, or how long they’ve been working on it so far?

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