We’ve all been conned.
Metrics. ROI. Optimization. These all have some intrinsic value. However, they’ve also led to a misguided Wall Streetification of marketing that has confused means with ends and correlation with causality. As we transition to a digital world, the tendency for destructive reductionism becomes even more pervasive.
The result has been a rejection of the intangible in favor of what we can model in Excel. An abdication of the spirit in the pursuit of rationality. To a great extent, in our quest for accountability, we’ve lost what’s important.
Metrics and Conversions
In marketing, we have a ton of research and measure lots of things. Too many in fact. Usually we can get a pretty good picture using just a few. Here’s an example of just how we can do that.
Awareness: Awareness is fairly easy to measure. Although the link to brand performance is tenuous, most would agree that it’s a good first step. Moreover, we understand awareness and how to increase it reasonably well. When in doubt, you can always spend more money (as simplistic as that may sound, it does work).
Market Share: Like awareness, measuring market share is simple to evalulate, but has its problems. There are a number of ways that we can increase market share with little indication of brand health. Discounting, “flooding the channel” and artificially segmenting the market to your advantage are all good examples.
Advocacy: What happens after a purchase is just as important (and some would argue more important) than what happens before. The most popular measure,net promoter, is useful, but even its proprietors stress that it, in and of itself, doesn’t guarantee success.
Using all three metrics, we can evaluate conversions. Here’s a simple hypothetical example postulating two brands with equal market share:
Less people are familiar with Brand A, but it coverts the awareness it does have into sales very efficiently and its consumers are likely to recommend it to their friends. Brand B, on the other hand, is better known, but doesn’t perform as well. Both brands obviously have different needs.