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Marketing’s missing metric

Posted on: Tuesday 13th of October 2009

There’s something very odd about the metrics most companies use to evaluate their marketing. If you look at them you can find oodles of data about how much various activities cost, and countless different attempts to measure what benefits these activities have delivered the company – including ‘soft’ measures like ‘brand awareness’ as well as ‘hard’ measures like sales increases.

At first sight, it all makes perfect sense. But then, look again, and you’ll see that a whole dimension of metrics is missing from this agenda. What costs do these activities create for customers? What benefits do they deliver the customer?

Silence. No metrics at all.

This is a bit like trying solve an equation ‘a – b = ….’ while only knowing the values on just one side. It’s impossoble. It just doesn’t stack up.

To crack the thorny issue of marketing metrics I believe we need to switch the focusing attention to the other side: to the customer’s metrics. This is, effectively, a completely new metrics agenda.

But it also raises the question: how on earth did we ever get to a situation where, somehow, the customer’s metrics are simply ignored?

There is a good answer to this question. It’s a by-product of marketing’s peculiar history. If you want to know more, I’ve just written an article for Marketing magazine on this subject.