Thursday, March 26, 2009

Is There an Upside to This Economy for the Marketing Profession?

I just got back from judging this year's CADM (Chicago Association of Direct Marketing) entries for their 2009 Tempo Awards.

I have to say, after looking through a good deal of entries, I really appreciate strong creative, but in the end, it's all about results, no matter how pretty the pictures are, how clever the copy is or how many seconds the very creative, Flash-centric design takes to download at the microsite.

Now that's an incredibly simple statement, but still one that many marketers and agencies don't live by. One of the few positive by-products of this bad economy for the marketing profession is that it is forced to become more accountable.

There's been at least a decade of lip service to ROI in the marketing department, but few real results. I don't think there is much of a choice these days, as marketing is being forced to evolve. In my opinion, this situation is actually good for our profession and will help ensure its future, which I believe, should include a more stable seat at the executive table.

For those who think we are there, I beg to differ. When an executive recruiter who works with CMOs calls me, ecstatic over the news that CMOs are now averaging a little more than two years before they are out, things are less than what I would consider stable.


Chris said...

Right on. It's absolutely an upside, and at the same time an opportunity for marketers and businesses who realize the importance of results to leapfrog slower competitors.

It can be challenging for marketers because its so easy to get caught up in the more glamorous (and less tangible) discussions of brand, awareness, etc. But if you're not focused on results - leads, conversion, membership, donations, revenue - you're likely playing a losing game.

Daniel Kuperman - Effective Marketer said...

It's sad we need to be pushed to show results just because of the economy... but at least now ROI is getting more attention. The move towards online marketing (SEO, PPC, etc.) also helps because they are easily measurable.

Good post!

Steve Rugg said...

ROI as an art director I have always insisted when taking a position with a company that it we track the results of what is working and what is not. That is our goal after all. In saying all that today we see the creative talent being pushed more and more into the role of “Technical, programming,script writing robot hybrids,” as opposed to creative concepts designers. The fact that most companies have abandon most of the traditional methods of marketing for the web only is fodder for “follow the sheep mentality.” The fear of being to insistent on ROI alone through surveys and formulas will lead to a lot of creative geniuses to work at Home Depot selling screws all day long.

Marketing Today said...

Steve, I am definitely not a believer in immediate ROI as the only marketing metric that matters and my work, speaking and writing on marketing effectiveness over my career have reflected this perspective. However, I do believe the marketing budget should primarily be spent with measures of effectiveness tied to each effort (program, campaign, etc.) in place. I often hear marketers, often CMOs, claiming they measure everything they do or that they use ROI on everything they do and either is a gross exaggeration. In my 20+ years in marketing, I've been at both companies that measure the effectiveness of the majority of their marketing spend and ones that are more creative driven that do a very poor job of measuring and I agree with the former approach. Even "soft measures" such as brand preference can be tied to the bottom line and have been in my programs I have led. As far as the web, it is not everything, but it is a critical place where consumers and business buyers conduct research, get news, communications and share opinions, so it rightfully deserves to get a good deal of attention. Additionally, it has changed/ is changing the nature of PR/communications/marketing from monologue to dialogue.

Mailing Lists said...

I agree especially in difficult times, clients are extremely results based. Even more so than usual they want to know that their money is being put to good use and generating results and sales.

Great article, keep it up!

Galen De Young said...

Hi, Peter

Nice to see you posting again. Historically, you've had a lot of good content and interesting perspectives. I know it's hard to commit the time and energy, but just curious if you plan on being more regular in terms of postings.


Marketing Today said...

@Galen - Thanks for the compliment. When I am at marketing events, inevitably, someone will ask me why I have scaled back my writing -- often seeing some irony that someone who has led social media efforts at the Fortune 500 is not more prolific. Well, I have to admit, there is a personal reason. If you check my writing activity, you will see it dramatically declined in 2005, the year I had my first child. So, I spend more of my own time (which used to go more towards writing) with my two children. However, I have recently found more time to write and starting to get back in the swing of things and have more content on the way for Marketing Today and promise to do more blog posts. I'm even thinking about bringing back online communities to Marketing Today (which we had in the 90s). You can also catch me on Twitter. .

Brooks said...

ROI has always been the best measure of how successful direct mail has been. It can be the best copy accompanied by the most magnificent picture on earth, but if it doesn't do it's job and incite a reaction, then it isn't a good direct mail piece. Great article.

Promotional Products said...

Chris makes a great point, this is a great time for innovative marketers to take advantage of new opportunities and develop strategies that will increase their market share over slower moving companies.

Promotional Products said...


What would you say is going to be the way for Marketing in 2010. Will it have to be more in-your-face, or something more clever. With all the options, what in your personal opinion will be most effective?

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