Marketing Performance Management
The marketing industry gets a lot of attention for its potential contributions toward revenue growth and company prosperity, but often the attention stops short of marketing performance itself. The planning, budgeting, and campaign execution phases zap up all the energy before assessment and analysis of the results of marketing efforts even begins. What you are left with, then, is a less than optimal approach in which the outcomes of yesterday’s marketing efforts do very little to inform the marketing of tomorrow. In a world where return on investment is such an imperative, this less than optimal and yet common approach seems very counterintuitive.
There are, of course, several obstacles standing in the way of properly managing marketing performance. On the one hand, a varied marketing mix usually presumes siloed data streams. Disparate data streams make analysis and insight-gathering difficult. On the other hand, unfocused goal-setting might preclude a company from knowing what benchmarks to seek or expect. A lack of direction makes assessing performance of any kind, good or bad, difficult.
The road to properly managing marketing performance bridges these obstacles. First, companies should set clear goals, called key performance indicators, to understand as specifically and realistically as possible where they want their marketing efforts to take them. Second, companies should invest in the development of methodologies or tailoring of analytics to track their efforts and ensure their goals are either being met or on the way to being met. Third, companies should collect and consolidate as much information about the results of their marketing efforts as possible. Finally, companies should take the necessary time and energy to analyze the information at their fingertips before using any gleaned insights to measure marketing performance, optimize the marketing process, and inform future marketing decisions.
The light at the end of the tunnel, as far as properly managed marketing performance is concerned, is the benefit to your bottom line and your target audience. On the one hand, budgets often figure in marketing execution as a sunk cost – a necessity companies dedicate dollars to regardless of actual marketing performance or shifting marketing goals. On the other hand, planning often similarly fits into marketing execution as a routine – a script or action that can be haphazardly reused and recycled time and time again. Instead of this empty “money in, money out” attitude financing tired methods to solicit flat marketing outcomes, how much better would it be if marketing budget and planning resources could be galvanized more strategically? The forward-thinking attitude behind the proper management of marketing performance empowers companies, at the end of one marketing cycle, to reinvest their returns in such a way that each marketing effort builds on itself, and each new execution becomes a better version of the one preceding it, wasting no money on channels that return too little revenue and messages that miss the most receptive audiences. Getting smarter about your marketing, as a direct result of effectively evaluating marketing performance, allows you to stay on target with your goals, if not to exceed them.