Monday, January 12, 2009

Gaining More Than "Experience" from Measurement

I recently did some in-depth interviews with CMOs from 6 multi-billion dollar companies which revealed these key measurement challenges and obstacles still looming large in 2009:

  1. Lack of clarity - not having a specific definition of what they're trying to measure, and getting lost in the ambiguity of the process. HINT: define and prioritize the key questions you're trying to answer BEFORE you set out to measure them. Read this.
  2. Inability to measure the "brand" impact - having great difficulty getting funding for branding activities/initiatives due to absence of any hard financial evidence of how brand drives value. Here are a few ideas. NOTE: solve this one now, or what's left of your branding budget may well disappear in the tough year ahead.
  3. No or bad data - this is not a reason, it's an excuse. There are dozens of ways to overcome short-term data gaps IF you realize that doing so is a people/politics challenge and not a technical one.
  4. Low credibility in the board room - the chickens have come home to roost. In the good times, we should have been working on building your knowledgebase of how marketing drives shareholder value. Now, all we can do is move funds from the more intangible activities to the more quantifiable. That's not a strategy. That's an outcome. How to NOT lose the battle next time around.

If you're still struggling to get an insightful and credible measurement program off the ground (or to see it reach a higher level of value), look here to see what your symptoms are, and then find the prescribed cure.

On the bright side, out of this economic crisis marketers are sure to gain some valuable experience ("experience" is what you get when you don't get what you want). As a community, we will learn from it and do better next time. At least, those of us who are actively working hard to get better will.

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