“What gets measured matters”
This notion that measurement drives outcomes has increasingly been applied to the world of marketing. A 2007 study indicated that 83% of marketing managers are increasing their focus on marketing metrics (Mintz, Currim 2013). Financial metrics, such as return on marketing investment, are seen as a way to gain Board approval for marketing activities. (Ambler, Robert, 2008 & Burrows 2014). Marketers today not only need to be creative and innovative but “also require a head for numbers” (Burrows, 2014).
Whilst there is broad consensus on the need for marketing accountability – no one wants to waste shareholder’s money – there is much debate as to what metrics to use, how to draw meaningful insights and what the metrics should be assessed against. Even a straightforward metric, like sales uplift, can be difficult to interpret. You need to firstly determine what the ‘base line sales’ would have been in the absence of the marketing effort (Ambler, Robert, 2008). Even then the subsequent sales response may not be “accurately attributable to the marketing investment’ (Wyner 2008). As we know correlation is not the same as causation!
The challenges of choosing marketing metrics is apparent when you consider the hand held camera company, Go Pro, who have been applauded for their innovative marketing activities. Consumers are encouraged to upload their Go Pro videos to the You Tube GoPro channel The result? 3.9 million subscribers and an estimated 6000 new videos uploaded on a daily basis. (Albee A 2015).
Check out the magical 2015 year in review of the best uploaded GoPro videos;
These videos showcase the power of the GoPro and the superior quality of the final product (Cook R 2014). The genius of the strategy is that it encourages authentic, shareable, user generated content that is engaging, often emotive and visually appealing. (Hong, P 2015)
“We’re not just a camera anymore, We’re an enjoyment platform for people around the world to watch”
Paul Crandell, GoPro Senior Vice president of Marketing (Albee A 2015)
Essentially Go Pro have generated massive consumer engagement for the brand. Indeed, “Go proing” has become a noun! But how can this engagement be measured, reliably? There is no one universally accepted measure of consumer engagement for brands operating in the social media space. (Karpinska – Krakowiak, M 2014). Insights could be obtained using ‘memory metrics’ such as how consumers think and feel about GoPro. (Sharp, B 2013). An estimate of the GoPro brand equity could be determined and tracked over time, however this is an imprecise science.
Just looking at raw sales data also isn’t on its own sufficient to gauge the success of marketing activities. Whilst Go Pro has historically had massive revenue growth (2011 sales of US $234m versus 2015 sales of US $1.6bn), recent sales results have been disappointing (Rosoff, M 2016). How much of the sales uplift and subsequent decline be attributed to marketing activities? Clearly there are more complex issues at play.
So what conclusions can we draw? Clearly more than just one metric is needed to assess marketing performance. (Ambler, Robert 2008). Financial metrics on their own are not sufficient, and a broad view is needed. (Clark B, Ambler T 2011). Getting the right ‘mix’ of marketing metrics to assess marketing activities requires careful consideration and ‘heroic’ judgements. Whilst contemplating these weighty issues, – be a hero – and immerse yourself into the GoPro on line community!
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‘A head for numbers’ WT Book keeping, date retrieved 14 May 2016 http://www.wtbookkeeping.com.au/blog/item/a-head-for-numbers
Albee, A 2015 ‘Get your fans to share their love, what every brand can learn from GoPro’ Content marketing institute, date retrieved 13 May 2016. http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2015/09/brand-learn-from-gopro
Ambler, T Robert, J 2008 ‘Assessing marketing performance, don’t settle for a silver metric’ Journal of marketing management Vol 24 No 7-8 pp 733-750 Deakin university database
Burrows D 2014 ‘Too many metrics the perils of training marketers to calculate ROI’ Marketing week 9 November 2014 p1 –p3 Deakin university library database
Clark B, Ambler T 2011 ‘Managing the marketing metrics portfolio’ Marketing Management August 1 2011 page 16-21, Deakin university database
Cooke R 2014, Go Big or GoPro: How the GoPro marketing strategy defines content marketing Newscred, date retrieved 13 May 2016 https://insights.newscred.com/go-big-or-gopro-how-gopros-strategy-defines-content-marketing
Correlation does not imply causation’ Buzzle date retrieved 14 May 2016 http://www.buzzle.com/articles/meaning-of-correlation-does-not-imply-causation-explained.html
Hong, P 2015 ‘5 Brilliant Marketing strategy examples from dominant brands’ Momentology date retrieved 13 May 2016 http://www.momentology.com/7236-marketing-strategy-examples/
Karpinska-Krakowiak M, 2014 ‘Conceptualising and Measuring consumer engagement in social media – Implications for personal involvement’ International Journal of Contemporary Management January 1 2014 page 49-84 Deakin university database
Mintz O and Currim I 2013 ‘What drives managerial use of marketing and financial metrics and does metric use affect performance of marketing mix activities?’ Journal of Marketing march 1 2013 Deakin university database
Sharp M, 2013 “Meaningful marketing metrics” Marketing theory, evidence, practice, Oxford university press Melbourne Australia
Wyner G, 2008 ‘Do Financial metrics stifle marketing creativity?’ Marketing Management November 1 2008 page 6-7, Deakin university database
Rosoff, M 2016 ‘ Look at how GoPro hit the wall on revenue growth’ Business Insider, Jan 4 2016, date retrieved 13 May 2016 http://www.businessinsider.com/gopro-revenue-growth-hit-the-wall-2016-1