Performance marketing

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The thing about corporate leadership is you need to know what you are leading.  Sounds simple right?  If you think you are leading “people” or, worse, “employees” you are toast.  If you are leading “change” more toast.  Throw “turnarounds,”  “team” and “movements” in for good measure. The what you’re leading is the product and product result for which people are paying.  Airlines are in the long distance transportation business.  If they lose sight of that and someone creates a helicopter that gets passengers where they want faster and cheaper the airlines lose.

Only when a leader understand the what can s/he focus on the why — what the company trying to accomplish? Should the why be to make the most money possible, that’s not leadership because it lacks product endemic vision. To take the fast helicopter example further, the why might be tied to the fact that when flying on a plane today one spends more time preparing to fly than actually flying. The why might be to be the most efficient means of long distance transport.

With the what and the why answered a great leader can then govern the chess pieces toward the how – the strategy. Everyone wants to be strategic.  But strategy without plan, without reason is really just a tactic is disguise. A company with a leader who has a dashboard with forty gauges and knows them all, but can’t tell you the what and why gets a B- at best. Peace!

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There has been recent debate on marketing blogs about the role of the “creative technologist.”  As if technologists were not creative in their own right.  Edward Broches of Mullen and Scott Prindle of Crispin are active discoursers.  A big marketer and agency challenge today is finding and creating a central point around which the creative department, media department, strategy dept. and technologists can array.   As a brand planner, I vote strategy. Messrs. Brooches and Prindle, it seems, choose a coder comfortable in the sunlight and art galleries.

But upon further thought, I’m going in a different direction.  I am rolling with a creative analytics person. Talk about head down types.  Any new agency worth its fee has analytics people in pods around the shop.  They are overworked, natively digital and not particularly creative – though they may snowboard.  What they aren’t, are invited to the creative briefing meetings. And if they are, tend to be the quite dude in the corner.

These Analgesics (analysts who can find the pain) are seers of patterns. They may not be able to come up with a selling idea, TV spot or first user experience, but they can and should be in the room and allowed to contribute. Perhaps not the central figure, but in the room. Analgesics munch numbers like nobody’s business, plus they are real consumers.  Bring them to the table. Let them talk without being derided.

Analyzing success metrics, seeing patterns and predicting patterns will be the new black in creative development.  Peaceful!

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Here’s a marketing dashboard for you: A daily view of money coming in and a daily view of money going out.  As they say on the Long Island Rail Road “Please watch the gap.”  Cursor over the money coming in and it should be able to show drop downs of the various expenses by category. Cursor over the money going out, the same.  If you can’t parse the ins and outs by day, look at the data by week or in three week rolling averages. That’s Da Monies.

Factors Influencing Revenue.

Money going in and out is a nice start but tying actual tactics and events to spikes and dips is what is exciting.  Pumping GRPs of TV into the market should create revenue lift.  Promotions the same.  A big bad news story in St. Louis might create a dip. As might a poor earnings reports.  Careful monitoring and modulation of marketing dollars, based on a game plan and strategy, introduces a higher level of accountability to marketing. But it’s not often happening.  In healthcare, there are chief quality officers, who own the data.  When physician mistakes are up or when hospital born infections trend high, the average patient discharge rate slows down. Where is this type oversight in marketing? With the CMO?

The Opportunity.

I’m sure P&G has some dashboard jockeys.  One of them will be a millionaire soon if s/he figures out a marketing dashboard application that ties Da Monies to the marketing.  With precision. Elegance. And with standardization.  Coming to an iPhone near you. Peace!

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