Measuring marketing effectiveness

David Shearer

Profits, sales, market share, penetration, customer loyalty, CPM, CTR, share of voice, ROAS, ROMI, brand awareness, consideration, clicks, followers, views, likes, LTV, CPA – given this proliferation of choice, it’s no wonder clients and agencies alike struggle to define the metric by which to judge their marketing effectiveness.

And that’s not the end of it…the explosion of Digital in all its forms whether via traditional or online media channels has created a more complex and complicated media landscape, in constant flux and expansion. This growth and transformation is happening more quickly than ever before, too not only in response to evolving consumer behaviours but also technological advancements.

The resultant ever-shifting landscape and exponential growth in choice for every single media channel means clients, businesses and marketeers face daily challenges in making effective decisions to reach their target market. This is equally true regardless of the size of business or the audience they aim to reach. They also face major challenges in measuring whether these decisions have made an impact on that audience.

As I mentioned at the start, this complexity has made it more difficult than ever before to arrive at a definitive metric for what is and isn’t working : so many different channels to consider; is there a common currency? what is the combined effect of the media channels I’m using? where should I focus my marketing activities – brand vs performance?

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any more confusing, you then need to consider how you factor in emergent routes to market? Just to use one example, many clients are entering the world of Influencers and while embracing the possibilities also cautious about what it will deliver (not another separate metric to measure!).

Another example such as the few clients already considering the immense opportunity that gaming, now the biggest entertainment medium on the planet, offers as part of their future marketing mix. However, this also involves defining metrics for another ‘new’ media channel as well as trying to work out how this channel contributes to the overall effect.

Cookies have been the key component in the pre-eminence of performance media in recent years. This tracking mechanism has allowed clients to assign a value to their performance media at the very least (this is not the time for all of the other debates this automatically prompts). Though it may be a year or so away yet, we now have the cookie-less future to contend with! This presents a whole new array of challenges on how we track our target audiences’ behaviour.

So, how do you navigate this complex media landscape and provide a holistic view of communications activity that connects audiences with brand activity and day-to-day digital activation while informing strategies from sponsorship and e-commerce right through to data strategy?

Needless to say(probably), there is no silver bullet. But there is a reason why this piece is peppered with questions. If you adopt a rigorously questioning approach to defining what effectiveness means to your organisation and whether your advertising works in delivering business results then you’re halfway there.

If you do this every day as an identification of your company culture rather than a project to win awards, you will succeed.

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