Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Why marketing is difficult to measure

Despite its central importance, marketing's value to the business can be difficult to quantify. There are 4 main reasons for this:
  1. Marketing is about perception. It's about positioning products and services within a space in people’s minds. This can only be measured over a period of time and in relation to alternatives. Damage done to a brand today may not translate into lost sales until the day after tomorrow.

  2. Marketing is multi-channel. People often purchase after exposure to a variety of different messages. All, some, or none may have contributed to the final decision; the advertiser does not (always) know. Hence the most often-repeated saying in marketing: ”half my advertising is wasted, but I don’t know which half”.

  3. Marketing is creative. It is populated by ideas-people, visual-thinkers and wordsmiths. Not by statisticians or accountants. Yet numbers are the language of business and some argue that marketing would have more influence if they were more willing to quantify.

  4. Marketing is part of the whole. The marketing led company has products and services designed with customers in mind, serviced by customer-care departments and created or provided by customer-focused people. When considering sales or profitability, it is impossible to split out the influence of the product, the after-sales service, the marketing, sales effort or the skills of Human Resources to find good people.
However, moving towards a data-driven culture in marketing has big benefits, not least of which is making decisions based on fact rather than guess-work. As innovative technologies become more powerful and more affordable for marketers, measures become more relevant. And excuses less so.


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