I love this simple diagram. Two little overlapping circles. But it speaks volumes about the state of modern marketing.
There have never been so many choices when it comes to spending our marketing dollars. And with so many ways to connect with customers, we need to be trying new things all the time. Of course, marketing has always been about experimentation, but the volume and speed of experimentation today is greater than ever before.
At the same time, there’s never been so much pressure for marketers (and their media partners!) to justify every dollar spent. In a recent HubSpot study, 46% of marketers cited “proving the ROI of our marketing activities” as one of the biggest marketing challenges their company is facing. But, there are big advantages for those who do. In Forrester’s study on the Total Economic Impact of Beckon, they found an average 12.7% increase in marketing ROI when using a marketing intelligence to make better, faster, data-informed decisions.
But experimentation and accountability haven’t always seen eye to eye.
Traditionally, marketers tend to be one of two types: creative experimenters who don’t want to be shackled by tracking and measuring, or number-lovers who only want to do stuff that’s easily measurable and trackable back to revenue. But these are stereotypes of the past. Modern marketers must be both—we need to live on the head of the pin and embrace both experimentation and accountability. So if you were wondering why your stress levels are higher than ever before, I think that little shaded overlap in the Venn diagram above explains it.
The key to unlocking it all? Marketing needs united, normalized, consistent data to fuel the experimentation and accountability we so desperately need. Go ahead with that Pinterest exclusive. Do that location-based coupon program. Definitely try those Bluetooth-enabled bracelets for fan check-in tracking at the big event. Do it all. But make sure that the results of each of those—what you spent and what it achieved—flow into a trusted marketing intelligence platform where you can compare the effectiveness of each program against all the others you’ve run.
No one expects marketing to be flawless, with incredibly high ROI for every effort. And there should be no penalty for poor performance. But brands must be experimenting constantly, looking for better and more cost-effective ways to connect with consumers and drive sales. Not everything will work perfectly. But marketers are expected to track and measure performance, and be able to confidently say, “If you give me another $100K, I will do more of X and less of Y.” Without visibility into what’s working (and what’s not), you’re just lighting dollars on fire with every new experiment.
With access to clean, trusted, integrated performance data, marketers can review various tactics and experiments regularly, and continuously shift spend from lower-performing tactics to higher-performing ones. And not just once a year. But monthly, weekly, and even daily if desired. A good data foundation enables both the experimentation and accountability that modern marketing requires.