Monday, June 02, 2008

Measuring MarCom Effectiveness: Now 10% off

"How will I know you're right?" is a favorite quote attributed to clients across any agency's roster. And it's the right question to ask...once this question has been answered: "What are we trying to accomplish?"

We've run workshops on measuring communications effectiveness recently and we've put a stake in the ground: Communications should be measured for what it can accomplish...nothing more, nothing less. I know, we would seem to have a firm grasp of the obvious here. But in the heat of input, planning and seeking the ever bigger idea, it's often important to touch this stone. Communications (and it's spawn advertising, PR, sales support and promotion) can do three things:

1. Generate awareness
2. Impact perception
3. Compel action

Sometimes, communications do a great job of awareness (like brand advertising) but the objective gets confused with a measurement of action (like increasing sales). Othertimes, branding objectives make taking an action (like coupon redemption) seem far too tactical for the big brand mission. We're simply trying to ensure that we help our clients by aligning objectives, what gets measured, and the idea.

Search engine marketing (e.g., Google's AdSense) and behavioral targetting of display ads has moved contextual-based approaches to targetting light years ahead of more generalized demogogic approaches such as age, income and gender.

And now comes Brandcaster. According to Wired, Brandcaster hopes to begin using the same principles of contextual and behavioral marketing as the search engines to deliver: coupons.

So what?

For one, pity newspapers. 90% of the 285 Billion coupons distributed last year were printed by newspapers according to NCH marketing services (ref: Wired article).

For two, cheer for advertisers. Only 0.4% of those 285 billion coupons get redeemed (ref: Wired article).

For three, get our metrics in order. If an advertiser is investing in promotions/coupons, networks like Brandcaster will make paying for peformance the defacto approach. And when you pay for performance, it will be important to have modelled your expectations of performance lest you underestimate or overestimate success.

Lastly, moving couponing and promotion online may also make tying communications to sales more routine because the ability to measure against objectives around an action will be--as they are online--a data-rich, realtime environment.

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