10 January 2018

Zambia: Benefits of Evaluating Marketing Performance

TWO years ago, I found myself at one of the manufacturing firms.

As I was interacting with the company's media director, I needed to know whether this company evaluated its marketing performance against its huge expenditure on advertising campaigns.

To my astonishment, he looked surprised, paused for a moment, and gave me an emphatic no!

"Our main aim is to launch the products and consistently reach out our message to customers in order to generate sales"

That's astonishing, isn't it?

Of course, a number of other companies employ sound modern management practices that include data analytics to evaluate their marketing and overall business performance.

This article, therefore, focuses on why undertakings increasingly need to appreciate the task of monitoring and evaluating their marketing performance.

It discusses how marketing performance could be evaluated using a number of techniques, including, data analytics.

It is apparent that a number of corporate leaders may not undertake such marketing performance evaluations for a number of reasons.

A number of them satisfy their managerial egos by developing and launching new products, aggressively advertise them, alongside current offerings to keep them alive in the minds of customers.

Once that is done and sales leads are generated, that's it!

Oftentimes, a number of corporate leaders base their marketing decisions on past experiences.

However, it is important to note that business environments are increasingly becoming dynamic and, therefore, the need for managers to combine past experiences with modern trends of evaluating such performance.

A number of marketers too, are tempted to think they have it all within their grip on how their advertising actually affects behaviour and drives revenue.

In practice, undertakings employ multi advertising fora such as in-store and online advertisements, direct e-mail, television (TV), radio, electronic bill boards and the like.

This, therefore, further aggravates the task of measuring marketing outcomes as these fora all compete for the same resources.

Such a practice, explains why marketers often misattribute specific outcomes to their marketing activities.

Many readers would think, the overarching objective of marketing is to increase sales and once that is achieved, so what?

Evaluating the marketing resource that is expended by an undertaking, goes a long way to pinpoint the areas of the marketing mix; product, price, place, and promotion.

That inevitably needs improvement.

When such areas are identified, management is enabled to attend to areas that would be lagging behind in terms of intended marketing performance.

Further, every undertaking inevitably needs to assess whether the company's offerings meet customer and other connected stakeholder's needs

It should be further noted that establishing marketing performance metrics is integral to enhancing corporate and product brands to satisfy customers.

However, this is a discussion for another article.

Let's take an instance of United Mining and Chemical Industries Limited (UMCIL) Kafue steel plant.

Assuming this company is marketing its steel offerings through various marketing touch points across media and sales channels.

As is usually the case, UMCIL reaches out it's advertisements on TV mobile device applications, social media, and bill boards and other direct marketing channels.

This inevitably requires the company to evaluate how the resources deployed at each of the touch points are affecting sales leads and overall marketing performance.

UMCIL's marketers, in evaluating the performance of the company's marketing inevitably have to ask themselves the questions:

"How did the combination of market campaign exposures interact to influence our customers?"

"Is UMCIL investing the right amounts of resources at appropriate touch points in the customer-decision journey to ignite a purchase decision?"

In my interaction with marketers on various platforms, a number of them have revealed that it's not necessarily how large the portion of the marketing budget that is spent on a particular touch point, such as TV ads, that leads to sales leads.

In practice, a number of firms invest colossal sums of their funds to advertise on TV and yet the customer touch points where the firm spends the least resources is where the sales leads are generated!

All this call for consistent evaluation of marketing performance for management decision making!

Over the decades, there have been dramatic shifts in both technology and consumer behaviour.

The changes in technology have inevitably enabled firms to keep track of each customer's activities on platforms such as e-bay, Amazon and the like.

This is precisely where the trendy practice of evaluating marketing performance lies!

Indeed, the practice of monitoring and evaluation of expenditure on marketing and its related performance is no option at all for any business firm.

The primary reasons why companies undertake such evaluations is largely to determine the areas of the marketing mix that would need attention, as well as assess whether the company's offerings consistently meet customer and stakeholder needs.

For comments e-mail: ntumbograndy@yahoo.com Mobile +260977403113 +260955403113

The author is the Managing Consultant at GN Grant Business Consultant, a Chartered Certified Accountant (ACCA), a Master of Business Administration (MBA) holder, and a candidate for the Herriot Watt University (Scotland) Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)

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