I’ve been pretty heads-down over the past few weeks, analyzing the data and results from my graduate research and also working on my upcoming book. As I’ve dug into the data, there clearly are some self-evident themes emerging around marketers’ opportunities and challenges with adopting strategic marketing systems and technologies (which I will be covering on this blog in more depth over the coming weeks). One of the clearest themes is the great chasm that exists between aspiration and reality for marketers when it comes to marketing measurement and the analysis of marketing return on investment (ROI).
My research found that these topics are top of mind for marketers, and many state their organizations are already beginning to engage with analytics software. When asked about tactical/operational objectives for new technology deployments, measurement and ROI analysis are at the top. This is consistent with a new Lenskold Group / MarketSphere report, released this week. “Current economic conditions are putting pressures on marketers to better understand their marketing effectiveness as 8 in 10 marketers (79%) report that the need to measure, analyze and report marketing effectiveness is greater in 2009,” according to the press release for the report.
Yet my research found that the same marketers give their organizations low marks on analyzing performance and overwhelmingly comment that their organizations are ‘not aggressive’ when it comes to marketing technology investments. Aspirations are high, but the reality of investment in systems and technologies to deliver on the aspiration is low. This also was echoed by Lenskold/MarketSphere, which further commented in their release, “[B]udget pressures are evident with 6 out of 10 (59%) indicating that this higher demand for measuring marketing effectiveness is not budgeted for … .”
The reality is that marketers cannot get enough of systems and technology to tackle measurement and ROI analysis; they have barely scratched the surface. Far from solved, this is an issue that has only become more important and yet more complicated over time. Customer channels are exploding in number, and yet marketers are incapable of delivering measurement and ROI analysis that takes this new reality into consideration. “Buyers are multichannel beings. Buying cycles are cross-channel,” comments Akin Arikan in his recent book, Multichannel Marketing. “Yet online and offline marketers still perform their measurements of success in isolation.”
So what are marketers’ aspirations; where is the disconnect; what are their challenges; and what are potential strategies for overcoming these challenges?