It is undisputed that the elements of marketing are expanding and undulating at a phenomenal pace. While some standard KPIs have been assigned to mediums and platforms, we’re finding that continuous technical change and outlet specificity are making those time-tested standards irrelevant if not obsolete. As industries and businesses, we need measurement and analytic tools to see what type of ROI our campaigns are garnering, but it is becoming increasingly foolish to continue thinking that those metrics are reasonable or worthwhile. I don’t know the magic metric to rule all metrics (for I would be a very rich man) but I do know that proper and innovative piecing together of the puzzle lead to a company’s stronger ability to establish measurable and meaningful KPIs and be able to find true ROI.
- You need to have a strong team that does not limit themselves to one form of media. There is a movement – albeit a slow one – to not have digital be a department in marketing, but core to marketing. Pepsico has fundamentally been doing this for a number of years. Other companies are following suit. By doing this, you also ensure that elements feed into each other and don’t seem disjointed. By leveraging all of the components effectively, the campaign only becomes stronger. This is where strategists are key. While many people are taking on the title of strategist, the ones who have solid knowledge of all media platforms (not just digital) are the ones you want to engage on your team.
- Hire seasoned people and trust them to do their jobs. As part of this, make sure you staff effectively. If you are just staffing to execute the check boxes a brand manager might tick for a campaign, that probably means you’re not really running effective campaigns. Conversely, if you’re top-heavy with senior people and too many strategy types, the attempts to execute “amazing” pieces will fail due to overwhelmed manpower. Without proper staffing, your hits will be greatly diminished.
- Realize that education and trends in the media landscape are no longer relatively static. Because of this, embrace education across the board. Whether it is in the form of regular workshops or internal summits to learn about publishers and technologies directly from the companies. For too long, employees have been protective of their domain and the friction and challenges that causes is counterproductive. Additionally, you never know where that great idea is going to come from. Why handicap your organization by stifling those ideas? Embrace constant change and learning by allowing (or even prodding) employees to go to functions where their knowledge base can be expanded.
- Now, take that last step further and give up on the fact that once someone is hired for their expertise, you can run them ragged on execution alone. Even if it’s a matter of setting an environment that 30 minutes per week would be spent on research, it can only help the bottom line. An example of what you can find in only a couple of minutes is exemplified in this post about why your mobile strategy might be failing. The knowledge about these tidbits of information help the people who are actually executing and the executives who are questioning and approving. It’s sad that I see teams who are so overburdened with deliverables that they can’t even spare 30 minutes and the executives don’t understand what they are doing, so getting anything approved is a challenge.
- Appreciate that the team can execute the prettiest piece of marketing collateral ever, but if the distribution is not clearly thought out, you risk having an epic fail. Too many executions in all forms of media have lacked proper distribution or placement and have produced zilch in the ROI column. Setting the expectation that distribution/placement plans are as integral to getting a green light as the actual creative will guide the company towards clearer ROI achievement.
- Remove the silos in your ROI thinking. It is naive to figure you can spend x on on-air, OOH, print, SEM, Social and mobile and think that none of them have an effect on the other or that they should all be considered individually. Tools are being developed by numerous companies that start to look at all the pieces of a campaign and assigns value as each relate to reaching the determined goal. MarketShare is one of those companies who have a product that is just being brought to the market that effectively removes the silo between platforms. The product (which is not on their site yet) looks promising.
These barely scratch the surface, but its a good basis. Effectively, don’t shortchange your company by building barriers between groups or barriers to constant learning and growth. Welcome new ideas and platform opportunities and don’t discount all the exploration and learning that bring efficiencies to your company. The pieces are all there – it’s just how you choose to put them together…