I was somewhat distraught about my career prospects when I read the proclamation on the front of Wired magazine last month: "The Web is Dead." The articles supporting the title were interesting and by reading them, I realized that things were not as bleak as the cover line seems to be saying they are. The Internet pie is growing, but it is no longer a simple apple pie -- it has morphed into a mixed fruit torte.
At best, marketing measurement tends to slant toward short-term payback at the expense of longer-term brand and customer development. But when you add heavy doses of highly measurable online tactics to more quantitatively elusive offline approaches, the slant can become an outright bias. Unchecked, this can seriously impair the marketer's ability to make smart decisions beyond the next quarter or two. This is particularly acute with respect to fully integrated programs designed not just for lead generation, but for brand and customer development.
Cookies! Bad! Beacons! Spying! Tracking! Data! Evil! Seven words summarize the thesis from the Wall Street Journal's sensationalist article from a few weeks ago. You know, the one about how audience tracking tools are spying on and victimizing unsuspecting consumers via targeted advertisements. As a proponent of consumer awareness, I appreciated the Wall Street Journal's prerogative, but the entire story was not told.
While the economy may be improving, CFOs will be cautious not to spend too far in advance of strong demand. This will continue to fan the flames under the question of the expected payback on marketing investments, and expose cracks in your measurement foundation. So now more than ever before it's critically important to improve your ability to measure and improve your marketing ROI, and your credibility in explaining it. But most marketers can't spread their resources too thin, so what will really make the most difference to elevate your measurement game?
Which of the following is the biggest obstacle to better measurement of the payback on marketing investments: Lack of data; low measurement skills; drowning in a thousand metrics; or low credibility in the eyes of key stakeholders? While data and skills are critically important components of measurement success, there is no single obstacle more formidable than lack of credibility. Data, after all, can be estimated within reason. Skills can be "rented" while they are being developed. But credibility either exists or it doesn't. And if it doesn't, the road back can be long and winding.
All this fuss about online privacy and cookie-targeting got me curious. I decided to visit the preference management pages for some of the major cookie targeters and take a look. What exactly do "they" know about me?
So often I hear that a given approach to measuring the payback on marketing is "too complex." It often gets voiced as. "This is too complex for our executives to understand. Can't we just make it simple?" The answer is YES. We can make it simpler. To do so, we need to start by recognizing that there are several types of "complexity" that need to be managed:
I'm hearing more and more "dashboard bashing" these days. Seems that many have tried to implement them, and then drawn the conclusion that the view isn't worth the climb. It seems it was a good idea in concept, but it just hasn't "stuck" within most companies. Why?
A few weeks back, fellow Metrics Insider Josh Chasin delivered a well-considered treatise about the importance of effective storytelling for propelling online media to new heights. I read his post with great interest since I had just submitted my own piece which called for new measurement techniques, metrics and insights as the missing link to achieve that very same objective. At first, these two views might be seen as opposite ends of the spectrum. But they're not.
Of all the marketing jargon that's penetrated our brains, I think the concept of the "breakthrough idea" may be one of the most dangerous. Would we all love to have one? Sure. When one comes along, can it revolutionize our business? Absolutely. So what's the problem? Shouldn't we all aspire to the same success?