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JUSTIN Chicheleko.

Measuring marketing performance

MARKETING’S role in organisations has not been fully appreciated due to the fact that there has been less justification for expenditure on marketing and the contribution that it makes to the bottom line.
Peter Drucker’s famous quote “If you can’t measure it you can’t manage it” challenges marketing practitioners to be more accountable for the activities they are responsible for.
There can be no way of knowing that an individual or organisation is successful at what they do unless clear targets are set and results are measured against the targets.
It requires organisations to establish metrics for success, which would help to quantify progress.
There has been an increase in the demand for accountability for expenditure owing to the growing competition in the business sector. Every department in an organisation needs to show their contribution to the organisation in no vague terms if it should get the funding or investment it requires.
Many scholars and marketing practitioners have stated that the measurement of marketing is one of the most important business needs today as companies face increasing pressures to demonstrate financial returns across the organisation from shareholders, investors, senior managers and the board of directors.
It is not a secret that in many organisations marketing is considered as a “non-critical” unit. Terms like support or peripheral unit have been used in reference to marketing. It is no wonder that when organisations fall on hard times, it is expenditure on marketing and in some cases marketing staff that face the “chop”.
The famous quote by John Wanamaker: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted, the trouble is I don’t know which half”, if referred to in this modern age, would land someone in a lot of problems, if not fired from their position. Metrics address this very problem as the impact of marketing can be easily measured.
Measurement of marketing activities entails that for all activities that are planned and undertaken by marketing personnel, clear objectives need to be set so that results will be compared against objectives.
This should go beyond vague interpretation of results like brand popularity, enquiries and participation at a sponsored event. It requires the use of more stringent and vigorous metrics that can be used to measure activity against objective.
There are many metrics that marketers need to familiarise themselves with that fall into different categories that include customer, brand, product, advertising, sales, distribution, and financial as well as online/digital/ social metrics.
For each category of the metrics, specific calculations can be made for each organisation to establish how an organisation is performing. This is a sure way for an organisation to establish the real return on investment (ROI) on marketing activities.
There is a long-held notion that marketers hate numbers. There is no way that one can be an effective marketer if they do not want to work with numbers. They say after all that “numbers do not lie”. Appreciation of numbers for marketers is now a must.
There are many activities that marketing undertakes, some of which may be easily measured and quantified and others may not be easily quantified. What marketers need to demonstrate is the value that each one of these activities contributes ultimately to the bottom line. This requires more than a simplistic approach to undertaking marketing activities.
It must be appreciated that the aim of measurement is not only to monitor progress against objectives but may also be used to correct what may not be going well. Managers need to be responsive to happenings in the environment, and certain things that might not have been anticipated in the market may come to the fore. The extent of the actual and anticipated impact may be fully appreciated if performance is measured using agreed and standard metrics.
Companies and marketing practitioners are finding marketing measurement useful.
There are several marketers that have a full appreciation of marketing metrics and they are using them at their places of work.
Many organisations in the ICT, telecommunications and financial services sector in Zambia are already using marketing metrics to measure performance.
There are also good advertising agencies that provide detailed information in their reports that includes marketing metrics for the campaigns they run on behalf of their clients.
If marketers need to gain the respect they deserve in organisations they work in and a profession that is respected, showing exactly what they do to increase the profitability of the organisation is a sure way of doing it.
New technology means that there is more information available to marketers that can be used to measure marketing activities. It is time marketers got the respect they deserve by showing the relevance and value they can provide to an organisation.
The author is a marketing practitioner and consultant.