This week we are honoured to invite a guest blogger here on Musqot.com. Jussi Pullola is a senior consultant at Vere Oy, and a specialist on the topic of digital business transformation. In his post he shares a number of interesting views on why some organizations are still (in 2016! not addressing Marketing ROI as a top priority. Thanks Jussi – for sharing this wake up call!
Marketing ROI should not be measured?
“Marketing ROI is not interesting, we do not measure it.”
I remember having read such a sentence in a random article / interview some time ago. And this bothered me – why would it not? The first time I came across this concept was in the early 2000s, and the same challenges still probably exist in the B2B sector. We measure almost all the activities of the company using a number of methods, be it production, logistics, sales or economy, but we still do not respond to the marketing efforts. Strange.
I wonder if the reason for the lack of interest is the fact that ROI measurement has always been quite difficult. It is easier to measure the so-called easy marketing metrics – page visits, clicks, pages, CTA conversions, campaigns, attractiveness, visibility, brand awareness, etc. But what about those nasty sales figures? What if the campaign carried out by our advertising agency that we were excited about was not really as good as we imagined it to be? Or if it was good, why was it a success, and where and for which target group did it work the best? Is marketing still planned with feelings instead of numbers? What is the proper efficiency and effectiveness of business marketing efforts?
What is the proper efficiency and effectiveness of business marketing efforts?
One reason for the lack of interest might be the established practices and attitudes. Marketing has always played an important role in building corporate image and production of the material, but it has not necessarily been an integral part of our customer-oriented sales management experience. If marketing has been a part of the so-called normal cost structure, the effectiveness of the business might not have been in the interest of the top management. There are exceptions to this, of course. To my delight, I recently encountered very successful marketing-oriented companies that have embraced the new customer-oriented thinking and have changed their behaviour. These companies stand out because of one positive factor – the results.
At what stage are the marketing organizations trained to use and benefit from a CRM system?
I have been involved in a number of CRM projects and training sessions, and the fundamental goal has always been to get the sales organization motivated to use the system as a whole. It has not been easy; not for me either. But at what stage are the marketing organizations trained to use and take advantage of the system? And what about other experts who are involved in the sales and marketing processes? I believe that these objectives often come secondary to the first objective, i.e. to bind sales personnel to use the solution. However in practise it would be much better to include the marketing scope already from step 1. Results of marketing are quite difficult to measure without having the knowledge of marketing measures and ancillary activities, and this needs to be taken into consideration early in the CRM process.
In addition, the measurement challenge for marketing ROI is the fact that all the marketing costs should be clearly connected to the business as a whole including expenses and sales revenue. How do you measure the real cost of marketing measures during all the stages? This can be done by beginning with the use of organization’s own resources as well as other external services, such as advertising agencies, web-partners, printers, event organizers, etc. Do you get really the allocated costs without special and difficult calculations, and can you demonstrate if these measures create some sort of impact on the business? If an online measurement is possible, then what about the other offline marketing actions?
What could be done to make marketing ROI one of the business management tools?
The first step should be to give up the so-called spreadsheet-marketing – when the marketing plan is created by a spreadsheet program. I confess that I have used this method a lot and for far too long. Excel is a great tool for processing data, but if marketing plans are being carried out with this method to this day, it is time that we wake up. Is a spreadsheet plan / a file integrated with other key management systems? Is this plan visible throughout the sales and marketing organizations in the implementation of different stages? I congratulate your company if this is the case, but I would argue that doing so is quite rare and difficult.
Measurement of marketing ROI is challenging. However, this does not mean that it should not be pursued because it is possible. If you want to see the impact of marketing investment on a business, even in a little more detailed level, be it for electronic or printed products, measuring ROI will be worthwhile to invest in.
I would argue that spreadsheet-marketing is dead and that new marketing tools are quickly invading the field of marketing. Who in the responsible of marketing would not want to know, whether his work can impact on the company to make profit?
Senior Pilot & Partner