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Wednesday, Mar. 8, 2006 at 8:18 pm

If you fail to plan success in advance, how do you know when you’ve arrived?

By Howard Kaplan
March 8th, 2006

Chief Marketer has an eye-opening for some, sad for others, (but hardly surprising from this corner) article on many CMOs utter lack of ability to measure what they must- marketing ROI, specifically that of the online variety.  We’re getting tired of speaking over the dull roar of today’s online successes, regaling tales of traffic cost inflation (btw, Piper Jaffray reports Online Advertising to top $55 billion by 2010), but if the shoe fits

Citing WebTrends 2006 CMO Web-Smart Report, they report 84% of the CMOs surveyed rated their organization’s ability to measure web marketing performance as having room for improvement, weak or non-existent.

“The challenge is due to a lack of consistent, goal-based metrics to
measure reach, frequency, and conversion across all online campaigns,”
said a spokesman for Web trends.

Another cause is
“the inability to target customers with relevant marketing and messages
due to siloed analysis; tools that only provide aggregated data such as
page views and visits,” he continued.

Uhh, sorry, no.  Consistent, goal-based metrics?  Who’s goals?  Report jockeys going to start creating more canned reports that measure my goal-based metrics?  Forgive me for being skeptical, but it’s not often good things are found in a can. 

If that’s not enough, they go on to blame the… tools?  Many web analytics vendors have created fabulous tools for reporting and measuring the data collected by the medium.  What other medium provides such ready access to a wealth of statistics?  Those who heard me speak last week at Ad:tech 1mpact heard the line often, clicks are people, links are decisions

These fabulous tools we have at our disposal measure the decisions our people/visitors/customers make when they engage with our persuasive system, or rather, our advertising, marketing, and website.  They’re limited in that by definition, they cannot come preloaded with our customers’ motivations included- after all, they’re our customers.  We’re responsible (by we, of course, I mean marketing not simply IT) to plan the experience each of our customer segments would prefer to engage in online.  What questions they would ask?  What information they would require?   How would they prefer to interact with our site?

In short, we’re planning what a successful scenario looks like because it’s amazing how much less of the problem these analysis tools magically become when we feed them the plan we built in advance.

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Comments (4)

  1. All throughout your post it reminded me of the most important thing that I continually tell my clients and have a hard time convincing them to ask the question of what business are they in.

    When understand that it is a customer connection and to know that they are the reason we are in business, then we can plan in advance and use the tools at our disposal in a much more potent, strategic way.

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