Last week, I co-presented a webinar on my 2006 study with research partner Larry Bodine, "Increasing Marketing Effectiveness," for The Society for Marketing Professional Services. One of our slides showed the paltry sum (1/10th of one percent!) that professional service firms formally budget to monitor their marketing effectiveness. Right after that, we showed them one of our boffo findings: a significant statistical connection between having a formal marketing measurement budget (even a small one) and competing extremely effectively.
Since the webinar, we heard from gotten numerous questions about how to properly set up a formal marketing measurement program.
- DO use your good judgment to conceive of a few potential marketing measurement projects. make sure they are well-defined and well-framed. Consider, if you have to, a pilot measurement project that you'll lead under the auspices of one of your firm's marketing champions.
- DO NOT plan a massive, complex, multiple-office or practice-wide marketing ROI project. Starting too ambitiously can set you up for a hard fall.
- DO show your professional passion about the importance of marketing and developing business more rigorously. Show your senior colleagues the factual connections between marketing measurement and competitive success. Use our study findings. If you have to, go elsewhere for additional evidence.
- DO NOT back down when naysayers tell you they already know how well the firm is doing. Tell them about the evidence that anecdotal and subjective measurement techniques are associated with less-than-extremely-effective professional firm competitors.
- DO prepare your senior colleagues for a formal measurement initiative for 2007. Tell them you're going to require a specifically protected sum of money and/or people resources in order to undertake measurement.
- DO NOT underestimate the importance of internally marketing the firm's commitment to measuring itself, even if you don't yet know exactly what will be measured. You will have to overcome internal resistance. Be reassuring that measurement will lead to increased competitive effectiveness. Don't give up.
- DO seek the input of your firm's internal influencers about which meaningful marketing or business development initiative they feel the firm needs to measure. Make the case for your own suggested initiatives, from your preparations above. Make sure you help them choose an initiative that is clearly related to the firm's revenues with clients.
- DO NOT let your measurement project be derailed when budgeting time comes. Continue making the case for formal measurement. Don't be afraid to use some of your personal and political capital to ensure that your measurement project will go forward.
- DO position your measurement program as an objective look at the firm's marketing strategies and tactics. A marketing department is not solely responsible for the success or failure of a marketing initiative. Let's say you want to measure an upcoming seminar. Ensure that your metrics are related to client outcomes, and that they focus on tangible facts, unequivocal elements and non-ignorable input. Make sure you measure significant client feedback. It may not be important to know that they liked receiving their invitations six weeks in advance; it's more important to determine how highly your attendees rated the content.
- DO NOT fall prey to the temptation to measure individual performance. In this case, you are measuring marketing initiatives on the merits of the initiative themselves.
- DO position your measurement initiatives as being objective enough so that improvements can be made in the future. Communicate clearly that you intend your measurement initiative to be the beginning of small but significant measurement initiatives that will have a positive impact on the firm's marketplace growth.
- DO NOT be afraid to call something a "failure." “Failures” should be positioned as opportunities to challenge the firm's strategic assumptions and make appropriate competitive changes.
- DO communicate about the measurement results and your "lessons learned" after your first marketing measurement project. Repeat the initiative, and revise your measurement metrics to provide continuously more meaningful and actionable information.
- DO NOT give up on measuring. Even if some of your senior colleagues express skepticism about the value of formally measuring marketing and business development, make sure you stay on target. Cultural change will happen.