A Marketing Horror Story - Social Media Explorer
A Marketing Horror Story
A Marketing Horror Story

Michael Meyers, the character from Halloween, scares the living daylights out of me. Still does. Probably always will. I am sure he is standing in my back yard when I let the dog out at night. He’s there. I promise! I am a textbook scaredy cat. Always have been. And I don’t seem to be getting any braver as I age. But, today, we marketers have our own boogeymen… too many choices, technology purchasing decisions, and (gulp!) being measured…

And like Michael Meyers, I think this is the stuff of modern marketing nightmares: Being accountable to a result of a campaign. I know it makes marketing leaders shudder. Because the CEO is asking what that campaign bought him. There are so many choices and channels out there in the digital and social landscape that many marketers wake in a cold sweat hoping they choose the right one. Then you layer over that the idea that these things need to net a measurable result and cue blood-curdling scream!

Twisting the knife

Michael_MyersAccording to an Accenture study, 1 in 5 marketers scored themselves below average in terms of quantifying ROI. Meaning 20% of CMOs think they are doing a poor job of quantify their marketing spend. People in the C-suite are asking, but they can’t get the data. Couple this with unprecedented pressure from consumers to get a “personal” experience (without being tracked), and a decreasing share of wallet, many CMOs are feeling unprecedented pressure to perform in a measurable way.

There are so many roadblocks and challenges to getting the data and measuring the digital marketing spend. And the challenge is multi-faceted. On one side, there’s tracking. Tracking is absolutely awesome-sauce to marketers. We love it! We need it! We cannot live without it! But, to consumers, it is being elevated to “F-bomb” vitriol. Basically, we marketers want to track our consumers. These same consumers want anonymity, until they are ready to buy from us. To funnel is meaningless to consumers. As I mentioned in an earlier post, consumers just want their darned toothpaste without a RFID chip inserted into their arm! Is there middle ground? You bet. Are we there yet? Nope.

Secondly, so many of the systems that are in place for marketing organizations are generally walled gardens that do NOT readily share data. Passing data from social interactions to the CRM to the sales database is no small undertaking. It would require (challenge #3) us to engage the over-burdened IT group in embarking on a project to get these systems that we bought many years ago to talk to one another. And the IT workload means that project would be slated for 2017.

So, we get to the truly scary part…what if we find out that our campaigns, strategies and programs are… NOT WORKING?!?! The biggest nightmare of all. What if we get all these roadblocks out of the way? What if we find a way to elegantly track our consumers? A way that is not creepy or intrusive. What if our systems are talking to each other because our IT team is suddenly has bandwidth? And then we discover that the very expensive, beautiful ad campaign didn’t even come close to paying for itself. Eek, I just shivered!

Making decisions based in fear

However, I like to think of this inversely. Instead of being the girl that twists her ankle running away from the monster, I grab my own knife and start running after him! Because I refuse to make decisions based in fear. I like to think about what we can learn from metrics. Instead of thinking we might learn that things don’t work, we might learn a baseline from which to grow. Let’s say that the ad didn’t make its money back. Ok, well, now we have discovered what that type of ad produced “pre-analytics”. And we can take this knowledge and build an ad with a result in mind. A result better designed to best the previous ad’s result.

Having our marketing campaigns measured shouldn’t be the equivalent of Michael Meyers standing in my backyard. (Seriously, he’s there.) Measuring an ad or social update should be viewed as just that; a measurement. Something from which you can optimize and grow. Something from which you can use to make the future of your company more prosperous. And something from which you can correlate to sales so that the marketing budget is growing and the C-suite knows that marketing is making a profound financial impact on the business. So that leaders can know when the brand makes a status update on social channels, the business can expect to reap specific monetary rewards. Nightmare no more. That is a love story.

About the Author

Tracey Parsons
Since 1995, Tracey has been developing digital solutions. Currently SME Digital’s lead strategist, she continues to be dedicated to bringing cutting edge, thoughtful and measurable solutions to marketers. With more than 15 years in digital, Tracey not only brings vision, but the tools and strategies to execute against complex next generation concepts. She has worked with some of the world’s most recognized brands to develop and devise cutting-edge social, mobile and digital marketing practices.

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