The Numbers Don’t Lie…Or Do They? The Challenge of Evaluating Marketing

Marketing, March 2013

Does evaluating marketing based on numbers stifle creativity?

With today’s increasingly competitive marketplace, businesses are beginning to tighten their spending and are ensuring that everything they do results in positive income for their company. This want for accountability across all departments has led to a spotlight being shined on marketing in order to justify spending on advertising and branding.

Marketing has widely been regarded as one of the most important factors for a company’s success, yet when push comes to shove and costs need to be minimized, it is often one of the first budgets to be criticized and slashed.

Now, why would something that is seen as a vital part of an organization be the first on the financial chopping block? The answer lies in the difficulty of directly evaluating marketing and the use of “silver metrics” to measure the success or failure of a marketing campaign.

Properly understanding how to measure marketing is quite important for a company to understand as making the wrong marketing decisions based on poor metrics can lead to a loss of future revenue, or worse, closure of business.

Holding marketing accountable and providing metrics to shareholders to quantify marketing spend is reasonable, but which metrics do we use to properly measure marketing and why is measuring the effectiveness of marketing so challenging?

Marketing metrics are defined as the set of measures that help marketers quantify, compare and interpret marketing performance. These metrics are meant to help managers know how the marketing being done to promote a company/brand is performing.

Sharp (2013), breaks marketing metrics in to 6 categories that can be selected from to evaluate marketing:

Financial Profit Contribution

Profit Margin

Return on Investment (ROI)

Customer Value




Market Share

Market Penetration

Purchase Frequency

Share of Category Requirements



Brand Awareness

Brand Image Associations

Mental Availability


Customer Satisfaction and Service Quality

Intention to Buy

Physical Availability


Number of distribution points

Hours of opening

Geographical coverage of distribution points

Geographical coverage of delivery points

Number of display points in store

Number of shelves devoted to the brand

Marketing Activity


How much is being spent on marketing

What marketing activities are being run simultaneously

Customer Profile


Describes the company’s customers




While the above metrics are logical and provide good overall indicators, problems arise when marketing strategies are quite complex.

Iacobucci states that most consumers often can’t recall where they experienced a company’s marketing message making it very hard to assess the efficacy of one ad campaign vs. another when multiple advertising activities are being run simulatenously (quite common).

Furthermore, it is quite common that a CEO is interested in short term results and looks for a direct ROI associated to marketing. This type of approach can stifle creativity of ads that are not intended to immediately increase ROI, yet, perhaps build a long term brand loyalty. ROI, fails to calculate the creation of a long term customer and relationship.


Return on Relationship™… simply put the value that is accrued by a person or brand due to nurturing a relationship. ROI is simple $’s and cents. ROR is the value (both perceived and real) that will accrue over time through loyalty, recommendations and sharing. 

Ted Rubin

While there are companies that make a business of selling metrics tools such as Google Analytics, Adwords, and CRM software such as SalesForce, what is the true value of tracking number of clicks on a webpage, visits to a site, number of likes on a facebook advertisement or retweet on Twitter?analytics-screens-devices-ss-800.jpg

These numbers that are gathered look great on a marketing report, however actually putting a numeric dollar value on an advertising campaign is downright, nearly impossible.

In conclusion, Metrics are important for every department in an organization, marketing included. However, it is important to have an open view when analysing the success of a marketing campaign above and beyond basic dollar value. If you still have doubts, I urge you to look at success stories such as Go Pro, RedBull and Monster, who created lifestyle brands over a long period of time.  For those still on the ROI is the only judge of success, I ask you to tell me which exact advertisement or campaign was directly responsible for the success of companies like those.


References and Further Reading (2016). The failure of marketing ROI. [online] Available at: [Accessed 19 May 2016]. (2016). The Big Bad ROI Question. [online] Available at: [Accessed 21 May 2016].

Cimala, T., Crestodina, A., Gant, A. and Crestodina, A. (2014). 8 Ways to Use Google Analytics to Measure the Success of Your Content Marketing – Orbit Media Studios. [online] Orbit Media Studios. Available at: [Accessed 20 May 2016].

Content Marketing Institute. (2014). A Simple Plan for Measuring the Marketing Effectiveness of Content. [online] Available at: [Accessed 20 May 2016].

Docurated. (2015). How to Measure Marketing Effectiveness: Tips from 26 Experts. [online] Available at: [Accessed 19 May 2016].

Eisenberg, B., Litsa, T., Sentance, R., Singer, A. and Sentance, R. (2016). The Difference Between ROI and Marketing Accountability | ClickZ. [online] Available at: [Accessed 21 May 2016]. (2016). Forbes Welcome. [online] Available at: [Accessed 23 May 2016].

Forty. (2011). Metric-lust: how well can you really measure marketing ROI? – Forty. [online] Available at: [Accessed 22 May 2016].

Genow, J. (2016). Measuring Marketing ROI: Good or Bad for Marketing?. [online] J. Genow Marketing. Available at: [Accessed 20 May 2016].

Gerber, S. (2014). 12 Ways to Measure Your Marketing Impact. [online] Mashable. Available at: [Accessed 22 May 2016].

Johnson, S. (2016). Why Marketing Budgets Get Cut (and Why You Shouldn’t Cut Yours!). [online] Promotional Products Blog | Quality Logo Products (QLP). Available at: [Accessed 20 May 2016].

Marketing Science Institute. (2016). [online] Available at: [Accessed 23 May 2016].

McKinsey & Company. (2012). Measuring marketing’s worth. [online] Available at: [Accessed 21 May 2016].

Miller, J. (2013). How to Measure the ROI of Marketing Programs – Marketo. [online] Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership. Available at: [Accessed 21 May 2016].

Score, P. (2016). 18 Marketing Performance Metrics that Matter. [online] Available at: [Accessed 21 May 2016]. (2016). The Importance of Marketing for the Success of a Business. [online] Available at: [Accessed 20 May 2016].

The Content Strategist. (2016). The Biggest Reason Brands Fail When Tying Content to Business Goals. [online] Available at: [Accessed 21 May 2016].

A Look At How Netflix is Winning With Native Advertising

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Wait…this is a Netflix ad?!

Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) is described by the American Marketing Association as “a planning process designed to assure that all brand contacts received by a customer or prospect for a product, service, or organization are relevant to that person and consistent over time.”

While IMC provides customers with a clear and consistent brand message and can be very profitable if done correctly, example: Coca Cola IMC case study, The difficulty lies in understanding which medias to use.

Iacobucci states that choosing the proper media choices depends on two major questions: Who the target audience is and what is the company’s goal. However, in such a fragmented market, it’s more than just deciding where to advertise, but also how you tailor your message as to avoid being skipped over. Arguably no one is doing a better job on this front than Netflix.


Over the last few years, Netflix has restructured their marketing strategy to aim for a much wider international market (target audience). In order to do this, they need to be recognized and appeal to a variety of different markets. So what does Netflix do to advertise in order to improve their marketing reach?

Reach: The share (percentage) of your target audience that has seen your ad at least once

Firstly, Netflix has decided to focus their advertising dollar towards the digital media space, this way they can better reach their target consumers and track responses. Using Social media outlets Twitter and Facebook, and online journals (more on this later), Netflix has decided to advertise their exclusive TV shows instead of the traditionally popular advertise your brand and services provided. This IMC strategy of offering “product-based” advertising (instead of “brand-based”) is a bold move. Netflix believes that getting customers hooked to their programming will reel them in and create loyal fans to their exclusive content, and as a result, the service as a whole.

By offering content in different languages all over the world, Netflix has found a way to generate 81.5 million subscriptions internationally.

Netflix does a lot to attract and retain their target market, from personalization of content, to their ability to understand their brand and play to consumer created catch lines (Netflix and Chill).

Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 9.41.31 AM

But, what truly makes Netflix special (especially to this marketing nerd), is their extremely successful foray in to the world of Native Advertising.

Native AdvertisingNativeAdvertisingRevenue(US)

Already one of the hottest marketing trends, Native Advertising, provides an advertisement in the same style and format as the content the user is on, thus being less disruptive than traditional advertising. This has led to great results, namely around advertising frequency with click through rates from native ads averaging about 1% (vs 0.1%). With proven ROI, spend on this new form of advertising has ballooned and is expected to increase over the coming years. A great video further explaining Native Advertising can be found below:

So, guess who is responsible for 3 of the most successful Native Advertising ads in recent history? You guessed it…

Following their IMC strategy of focusing on the services content rather than the service itself, Netflix has found an advertisers gold mine in working with reputable journals and news outlets to provide articles, that, apart from a few connections to the exclusive content they are advertising, can very much be seen as credible journalism. Such “paid news” includes working with the New York Times, creating a piece about Women inmates and why the male model doesn’t work.

The only direct link to Netflix in this paid article was Piper Kerman, the author of Orange is the New Black, and the subsequent launch of the Netflix original series .

A second, equally successful native advertising move, included working with The Atlantic on an article entitled “Political Destiny and the Making of a First Couple” which  coincidentally is the premise around the original series House of Cards. Once again, the only connection to Netflix was the mention of House of Cards at the end of the article and the dynamic between the political characters involved.

Finally, Netflix partnered with The Wall Street Journal to promote their new series Narcos by writing a detailed article on the rise and fall of Pablo Escobar and the logistics around the Colombian Cocaine business.

Great article, even better show!

All in all, Netflix is leading the way with an innovative “product-based” strategy. Through the use of strong story telling in advertising and a consistent brand message of quality programming through multiple digital mediums, Netflix is successfully reaching it’s end user throughout the world.

Mike Weatherhead
MWEATHE 216041883


B&T. (2015). Why Netflix Is Killing It In The Native Advertising Space & Why There Are Lessons For You Too – B&T. [online] Available at: [Accessed 5 May 2016].

Beer, J. (2015). The Atlantic’s Stylish First-Couples Feature Is An Elaborate “House of Cards” Native Ad. [online] Co.Create. Available at: [Accessed 7 May 2016].

Company, (2016). Women Inmates Separate But Not Equal (Paid Post by Netflix From [online] Available at: [Accessed 8 May 2016].

Donaton, S. (2016). Why Brands Need to Skip the Ads and Start Telling Stories. [online] AdWeek. Available at: [Accessed 5 May 2016].

Herring, A. (2016). How Netflix is Winning at Content Marketing. [online] Available at: [Accessed 8 May 2016].

Hoelzel, M. (2014). Spending On Native Advertising Is Soaring As Marketers And Digital Media Publishers Realise The Benefits. [online] Business Insider Australia. Available at: [Accessed 7 May 2016].

Iacobucci, D. (2013), Marketing Management (MM), 4th Edition, South-Western, Cenage Learning, Mason. (2016). Integrated Marketing Communications | What is IMC? | West Virginia University. [online] Available at: [Accessed 4 May 2016].

Levins, W. (2013). How do you reach your customers in today’s fragmented market?. [online] Available at: [Accessed 6 May 2016].

Mahlab Media. (2015). 10 of the best examples of native advertising – Mahlab Media. [online] Available at: [Accessed 7 May 2016]. (2016). [online] Available at: [Accessed 8 May 2016].

O’Brien, J. (2014). 4 Native Ads the Media’s Talking About. [online] Mashable. Available at: [Accessed 6 May 2016].

Oetting, J. (2016). The 7 Best Native Ads of 2015. [online] Available at: [Accessed 7 May 2016].

Perlberg, S. (2016). How Netflix Is Shaking Up Its Marketing Strategy. [online] WSJ. Available at: [Accessed 7 May 2016].

Richards, L. (2016). Examples of Integrated Marketing Strategies. [online] Available at: [Accessed 8 May 2016].

Schiff, J. (2016). 7 Ways to Create a Successful Integrated Marketing Campaign. [online] CIO. Available at: [Accessed 8 May 2016].

Stringer, G. (2016). Case Study: Coca Cola Integrated Marketing Communications. [online] Linked In. Available at: [Accessed 6 May 2016]. (2016). Sponsor Content: Cocainenomics. [online] Available at: [Accessed 8 May 2016].

Zoeller, S. (2015). What are the benefits of IMC? – Stephen Zoeller’s Marketing Blog. [online] Stephen Zoeller’s Marketing Blog. Available at: [Accessed 8 May 2016].

Hand me a Kleenex, I’m going Rollerblading – What happens when a brand gets too big?

Michael Weatherhead
Mweathe 216041883

Iacobucci defines a brand as a promise to customers. A brand is meant to tell customers that they can come to expect a certain level of reliability and quality from your product.

A strong brand can draw in a larger price tag due to the fact that a company’s brand can offset uncertainties or risks associated with the purchase in the mind of the customer.

When we look at internationally recognized brands, it’s easy to understand the above mentioned definition.

With the ever increasing competitive landscape of business, there has never been a more important time to gain customer loyalty and maximize ROI on marketing efforts.

It is argued that creating and developing a strong brand (like the ones pictured to the right), is even more important than marketing the product being sold and can have an enormous value by itself (more on brand value below). This can be an absolute “differentiator” in a competitive market:

In fact, a study done on the importance of building Brand Value has shown just how important spending money, not just advertising, but branding can extremely profitable for a company. Companies that have invested more money and resources in their brand as well as their advertising have seen a massive increase in brand value which leads to a better ROI.

The more effective a brand is, the more people will start to associate feelings, personalities, and key words to it. (Click here for more about Brand Association)

Imagine, how coobrand associationl it must be when people internationally start to associate your brand with a personality, emotion, or product?

Surely, creating a brand so strong that your product becomes a household name would be an ideal situation right? Tell that to Band-Aid, Hoover, and Escalator.

Genericide is what happens when a company’s brand gets so big that people start using the brand name as a general term for all products that are similar. For instance, when is the last time you asked for a Kleenex, received a facial tissue and didn’t know the difference? The Kleenex example, is one of far too many brands who became such household names that they lose their “badge of origin“.

When a company’s brand starts being used in everyday conversation and the customer refers to it for an entire product category, they run the risk of losing their unique brand trademark.

If a brand name is considered to be generic, it becomes very difficult for a company to legally stop competitors from capitalizing and using your hard earned brand to their advantage.

So what is the answer? Should a company not build its brand with the hopes of becoming a household name, should they not brand at all?

Clearly, based on the value presented above, that is not the solution. The true answer lies in being diligent and protecting your brand identity.

Behind the scenes, big companies like Google and Xerox fight everyday to maintain their brand uniqueness and protect their trademarks. This is done by setting strict usage standards on how their brand is to be mentioned (I.E.: Don’t google it, instead use google to perform a search).

A great example of this comes from a recently settled case (Costco vs. Tiffany’s) where Costco was sued for selling a Tiffany style ring under the argument that the style of setting had become generic. You can read more about it here.

As flattered as you may be that people have adopted your brand to the point of making it an everyday verb, noun or category descriptor, not protecting your brand could ultimately lead your company to be the next, thermos, zipper, or laundromat (I didn’t even know that was once a trademark).

Michael Weatherhead
Mweathe 216041883


Brand value growth. (2016). Brand value growth. [online] Available at: [Accessed 23 Apr. 2016].

Clifford, C. (2014). Why Your Brand Is More Important Than Your Product. [online] Entrepreneur. Available at: [Accessed 24 Apr. 2016].

Iacobucci, D 2013, Marketing Management (MM4), Student Edition, South-Western, Cengage Learning, Mason, Ohio.

Ma, W. (2014). The words you never knew were brands. [online] NewsComAu. Available at: [Accessed 26 Apr. 2016]. (2016). Brand Association – Meaning and its concepts. [online] Available at: [Accessed 24 Apr. 2016].

Steptoe, Jonhson LLP, (2016). Tiffany & Co. v. Costco Wholesale Corp.: avoiding trademark genericide | Lexology. [online] Available at: [Accessed 22 Apr. 2016].

Tulett, S. (2016). ‘Genericide’: Brands destroyed by their own success – BBC News. [online] BBC News. Available at: [Accessed 21 Apr. 2016].

So, WHY did the chicken cross the road? – From Big Data to Neuromarketing


From Big Data to Neuromarketing
Brain Science and Stats meets Marketing
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Is this what marketing looks like today?

Consumer Behaviour traditionally can be described as: The study of HOW people make decisions about WHAT they buy, want, need, or act in regards to a product, service or company.

However, with the world becoming an increasingly global marketplace and this being the age of consumer empowerment, the how and what just aren’t enough for marketers anymore.

Understanding WHY a consumer actually makes a purchase decision, or relates to a company or their product is integral for marketers.
It is no secret that now, more than ever before, companies have the ability and the technology to track, and document as much as they can on our interests, buying habits, geography, demographic and so on. This seemingly overwhelming amount of data collected is referred to as big data.

Big Data

Big data was without a doubt the “sexy” industry word in 2015. In fact, a study done by Accenture revealed that 51% of companies surveyed were already spending 20-30% of their technology budget on big data analytics, and 76% forecast this to increase in the coming years.
Big Data is not a new term and has in fact been around for decades, however it is only in the last few years that marketers have truly began to tap in to the potential of big data with the use of technology in order to gain a better insight in to the WHY.

Stats-bigdataUnderstanding how to analyze and manage big data properly has proven to yield very positive results (see Forbes graph to the right) in better understanding customer habits and predicting potential purchases from your target customer.

Taking the guess work out of how to effectively market to and identify with their consumer base is a marketers main goal. Online companies like Amazon, who feature a recommended purchase section based on your buying habits and the habits of millions of other consumers who have purchased the same products as you, have shown the ease of gathering customer information from online shopping.
As technology continues to be created and improve, brick and mortar stores have also started (over the last few years) implementing various surveillance software to track movement.

2015 ends and with 2016 a new buzz word emerges. While big data provides great insight in to the customer purchase process and allows companies to predict purchase behaviour, it still does not allow marketers to truly get inside a customers brain and fully understand the rational behind certain decisions.


Still relatively in its infancy, Neuromarketing is where marketing meets “brain science”.

In the 1950’s a study was completed on rats by researchers at McGill University. buy-button.jpgThey discovered a part of the brain that when stimulated, delivered a form of pleasure, thus nicknaming it the pleasure center. It was then discovered that humans have a similar “pleasure center”. Controversially this has been viewed as a potential “buy now” button that if stimulated correctly can be a sure way to get a customer to make a purchase.maslow
Stemming back to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, marketers have always tried to appeal to a particular level or need in order to sell their product or service.

Now with the use of technology like EEG and FMRI, marketers can actually look in to a customer’s brain and their subconscious. By seeing the exact response consumers have to brands or products, as well as the reaction they can have while doing an activity, marketers can use this information to tailor their approach to better appeal to the consumer.

As Neuromarketing can be very costly (FMRI can cost up to $1000 per hour and have 30+ test subjects) and there is no ability for the test subject to have any conscious level of defense, there is much debate around the efficacy and morality of companies using this science to their advantage. At the end the of the day marketers have been trying to manipulate our decisions for years, and as argued in this Harvard Business Week Article, the use of Neuromarketing is to better understand the WHY, not control it.

Potentially due to competitive intensity, Australian retailers are starting to jump on to the Neuromarketing train, however The jury is still out on Neuromarketing  worlwide due to its infancy.

So what do you think? Buzzword, trend or marketing of the future?

Michael Weatherhead- mweathe 216041883