Thursday, February 26, 2009

Performance Insider: How a Recession Done Right Can Revitalize Marketing Performance

How a Recession Done Right Can Revitalize Marketing Performance

With markets now at 1997 levels and economists predicting recovery won't take hold until 2010 or even 2011, there's a very good chance your marketing budget is being put under a performance microscope, if it hasn't already been arbitrarily cut.  CEOs and CFOs want to see the nitty-gritty of your investment plans and understand what they're getting from each and every dollar. As a marketer, the opportunity to revitalize your marketing performance and generate relevant insights has never been more real.

As organizations work to understand today's rapid changes in their marketplace, the return on specific initiatives and the impact on their bottom line, marketers and their companies will have to make tough choices in the short term.  At the same time, marketing leaders have the opportunity to build for the future by truly examining, understanding and owning their effectiveness.

You can start leading your organization through this transformation by adopting a few of the techniques below.  In doing so, you'll get smarter about your business and be better positioned to not only justify your plans but, more importantly, deliver better business results.

Get Smarter

1)      Set up your marketing dashboards. Often companies have all the data sources and information needed to evaluate performance but have not aggregated it into a tool that can be used for decision making. With critical decisions on the horizon, it's important that you have a dashboard view of how your campaigns and programs are performing.    

2)     Demand the "why." Whatever the investment, push your team to justify their plans and expected results. Challenge the status quo; force yourself and your team to think in terms of marketing performance. Know your priorities, options and results, and more importantly - the reasons behind them.

3)      Align yourself with the CFO.  Amid budget cuts and cash conservation efforts, the CFO can be a good ally. Working closely with the CFO will not only help strengthen short-term goals, but will also ensure your measurement system has credibility within the rest of the organization, an essential part of your foundation for long-term performance improvement.

Become More Efficient & Effective

1)      Review marketing performance data & assumptions. A review of measurement methodology can help you gain insight and possibly reveal areas where budgets can be cut with a positive or neutral impact on return. Make sure you understand how ROI is defined and varies for your product placement versus your online campaigns.

2)      Improve marketing operational efficiencies . The need to reduce cost and save time has never been greater. Find ways to eliminate rework, reduce the revisions and improve the creative approval process. Revisit what you're outsourcing and what you're capable of handling in-house. If your team members or agencies don't have the skills to do the analysis and turn insight into action, trade up.

Review. Revise. Revamp. Revitalize.

Our deteriorating economic state has drastically changed the playing field for many industries, driving the need for marketing organizations to do more with less.  Building the foundation for understanding your marketing performance and generating improved business results will take time. But by pushing to take the actions described above, you can prepare your organization not only to survive under today's withering microscope but to thrive for years to come. 



Barre Blake is a senior manager and Meghan O'Donoghue is a senior associate at CMG Partners strategic marketing consulting (

Performance Insider for Thursday, February 26, 2009:

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