Archive for April, 2009
Apr 09

I was reading the latest book by my long time hero Jack Tout ‘In Search of the obvious‘. In his book, Jack referred to two Web 2.0 campaigns that are considered most successful: the ”Burger King Subservient Chicken” and the ”Snakes on the plane”.

He argued that despite the success of these viral marketing campaigns (.e. # of hits), no-one at this point of time has been able to measure tangible sales results.

This recent article from Advertising age ”ROI May Be Measurable in Facebook MySpace After All” might give us a glimmer of hope. MySpace teamed-up with Comscore (Internet analytics company) & Dunnhumby to create a single source database. That way they were able to take a close look at how Internet ads affect offline purchases.

The first study they did was for a personal-care brand which invested ~$1MM on MySpace. Interestingly the found that only 1% visited an advertiser page on MySpace and half who did ended-up visiting the personal care web site. However the campaign was able to generate an incremental $1.8MM in offline sales. More details in the Advertising age article.

Apr 09

Back to college, I remember the opening question my Marketing Communication professor asked. Is Marketing communication is an expense or an investment? 10 years or so later, I have not quite figured out a good answer to this. An expense. Maybe. If you consider this is a sunk cost. An investment. Most likely. If you think the return of your campaign is going to generate incremental net income. Measuring marketing communication is essentially driven by the quest to assess both efficiency and effectiveness.

Defining effectiveness and efficiency

Being effective means producing powerful effects. For example, a large banner advertising on a popular generic web site might drive positive attitudes and behaviors towards a brand. It does not necessarily mean this was the most efficient way to spend your advertising dollars. Being efficient means producing results with little wasted effort. In this example, a better use of advertising dollars might have been to have more smaller (and less costly) advertising banners on specialists web sites.

I use marketing performance measurement for a number of reasons

1/ To justify budget allocation (with a tendency to go for Marketing communications campaigns with highest efficiency). As much as I would like to stick to this rule I always found some Marketing Communications decisions being made for other reasons (prestige, relationship with a vendor etc…)

2/ To make us, marketing communications practitioners in the wider sense ”accountable”. How many times did I hear marketing communication was like a black box and no-one had a good sense where the dollars were going into. Financial transparency is often a good way to reinforce the idea that we own the marketing plans and respective dollars.

3/ To better understand and articuate reasonable key success factors for campaigns to come ahead. I have found this help both the company and various vendors supporting the initiatives.

4/ To add credibility to the marketing team. When possible, I try to add a measurement element to any large or small marketing communication initiatives, before I receive senior management buy-in.

In summary, in my experience, measurement makes it easier for the marketing team to figure what worked and what did not. As important, it helps to report results to senior management and justify next year’s marketing budget.