Wednesday, January 20, 2010

More than words — Why Marketing Effectiveness is an outdated idea

We’ve been asked why we choose to talk about marketing performance instead of marketing effectiveness, the latter being the term that most people still choose to use.

Marketing effectiveness has become an outdated term since it’s often narrowly defined as the act of measuring the effectiveness of marketing investments relative to actual results. While we don’t question the importance of identifying the right measures, developing processes to collect data, and using those learnings to inform future marketing investments, this is only part of what needs to be addressed to improve marketing performance. Insights such as ROI enable measurement and drive change that may lead to better decisions but they are primarily focused on end results.


It’s critical to address process and people, the key variables that permit organizational alignment and make change possible. Companies will frequently assume that if employees have better information they will know how to apply it but that’s not always the case. Taking a more holistic view and recognizing that you can’t just focus on pulling one lever without adjusting the others is an important obstacle to overcome. We’ve encountered situations where marketing organizations have undergone organizational changes; significant time and energy went into deciding where to place people but not enough resources were dedicated to update processes accordingly. The result has been poor coordination and communication, leading to confusion and ultimately subpar marketing performance.

We believe this is what makes our framework unique. It takes a more holistic view of the marketing process, and allows organizations to not only understand how changing inputs and variables impact marketing performance, but also ensure that those learnings translate into actions and ultimately improved marketing results. Ultimately, the key is being able to translate information into learnings and actions.