Make Marketing History

The views of a marketing deviant.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Measure For Measure.

Measurable results are all the rage as cost-cutting management regimes seek thorough justifications for expenditures.

The subject came up twice yesterday in very different contexts. First I heard James Lovelock of GAIA fame extolling the need for more measurement of climate change but declare that "All things that really matter are intuitive." It's a great point. Projected numbers, in business especially, can usefully be as much about trends and tendencies as about pinpoint accuracy and we know that the great mathematicians all speak of seeing patterns and shapes in numbers rather than calculate them like mere mortals and finance directors do.

Then, in a meeting with an agency, the subject of convincing clients of the ROI on digital initiatives when they were quite happy to pay large sums for traditional advertising. It reminded me of a post that I wrote years ago in which I remarked upon the dubious calculations of financiers and suggested that imputed justifications of marketing expenditures were no less valid. Quite prescient really.

If you measure where you can and combine that with a rigorous inspection of your internal logic, any marketer should be able to generate a solid ROI justification, particularly now that the bean-counters have been shown not to be the master mathemeticians they thought they were.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

but why not reverse the question? instead of asking for result after the investment, why not ask the client: "how much can u afford to lose, without you having to justify it with pages of numbers?"

quite possible this number will be much much lower, but it will free the client to perhaps go down paths that have more edge or black swan-ness in them..

client potentially happy, cause worst case: no harm no faul..

agency happy: get to swing for the fence (with of course back end deals or royalty set ups, if they hit it out of the park)

perhaps a reversal of role's but one that coul liberate all parties involved.

1:28 AM, February 25, 2009  
Blogger john dodds said...

That's part of my imputed ROI argument, if the expenditure is relatively small which if it's away from television it probably is, then it's a risk worth taking.

But don't get me started on Taleb's ridiculous elevation.

1:48 AM, February 25, 2009  

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