Where Does Marketing Power Come From

Here’s another article from our Senior Database Marketing Analyst, Clinton Kennedy:
Marketing power comes from proving what you are doing works.
Marketing management is a constant struggle for power relative to competitors, customers, regulators, and other internal and external stake-holders.  Power comes from showing what you are doing works.
The reason marketing management is positioned in many companies as general management is because marketing managers are trained to gather and interpret information from all directions, assimilating it into a coherent whole.
The one thing over which marketing managers have substantial control is the marketing budget for advertising, promotions, public relations, database marketing, consumer research, and product development.  Nevertheless, one of the biggest challenges facing marketers is evaluating the productivity of their own efforts.  It is so hard to make the link between most marketing activities and a sale.
The ability to capture quality customer data at the point of sale is increasing.  Customer Relationship Management (CRM) grew up around the notion that a company could just know so much about a customer’s purchase behavior that they could predict what they would do next and so adjust marketing efforts to maximize the percent of wallet captured from each customer in a product category.
However, not every consumer product category has a frequency or depth of sharing to make CRM work.  Big Data is now stepping up to attempt to give some marketers an edge over others.  Database marketing has the advantage of always being able to link an offer to a sale.  Performance tracking is built into database marketing, whether done via regular mail or email.
The internet offers all marketers a window on consumer decision-making processes that only managers with large packaged goods companies with huge primary research budgets used to enjoy.  If an ad is working, search/visit activity for your product will go up before sales do:

  • If internet traffic goes up as a result of an ad, promotion, or PR effort, and sales go up too, then the follow-up question is whether things can be fine-tuned to perform even better.
  • If internet traffic goes up as a result of marketing efforts, but sales don’t, then there is a problem with the product or the sales process.
  • If internet traffic doesn’t go up as a result of marketing efforts, then it is time to look at what is being communicated… because it isn’t working.

To the extent that internet traffic can be linked to all the rest of the data about customers and targeted prospects, the opportunity to know and communicate with individual customers and prospects directly and cost effectively will increase marketing management power, customer satisfaction, and profits.
If a marketing department is not prepared to invest in the staff and systems to get started with this data-driven approach to marketing, service providers are available to prove the concept and provide the service without any substantial capital cost or staffing.