Marketers back in firing line over claim they are unable to calculate return on investment

BaxterMarketers have been told to step up their measurement of campaigns amid claims that only one in 10 have been trained to calculate a return on investment.

They are also still locking horns with chief information officers and stuck in the mindset of “brand amplification” rather than sales, a conference heard.

The damning assessment depicted a marketer out of touch with current thinking and at odds with a boardroom level desire to account for every marketing dollar spent.

Greg Baxter, service director at Sitecore, cited research from The Fournaise Marketing Group, a marketing performance consultancy, which claimed an alarming 90 per cent of marketers “are not trained to calculate return on investment”.

“That cannot go on for very much longer,” he said, adding that 80 per cent “struggle to properly demonstrate the business effectiveness of their spending, campaigns and activities”.

The insights followed those of Forrester Research senior executive Dane Anderson who also urged CMOs and CIO’s to patch up their differences and collaborative more constructively.

Speaking at the Forrester Research CMO and CIO conference in Singapore, Baxter said two thirds of marketers don’t even believe that marketing ROI requires a financial outcome.

“If that were me I would be scared every single morning,” he said. “Businesses are under incredible pressure to prove their effectiveness and under incredible pressure to understand where every marketing dollar went and these are expensive campaigns and expensive websites.”

To build and invest without measuring their financially viability or the impact on the bottom line is out of touch with boardroom thinking, he added.

Turning to CMOs relationship with CIOs – a central pillar of the conference – Baxter said he has witnessed clashes between the two executives “again and again”.

It is the key barrier to the development of technology which could provide a better experience for the consumer, he said.

Baxter likened current websites in many companies to goldfish in that they do not have the ability to retain information about a customer, even though such technology exists.

“In the era of big data what we really want to focus on is the individual,” he told delegates. “We’ve become pretty good at publishing content but websites still have amnesia. They do not retain what you did, they do not listen to you in real time and they do not often react to you in real time.

“It’s like walking into a store and having a conversation with a sales rep about what you want. Yet the next time you talk to that guy he’s forgotten everything about you. It’s frustrating. It’s like doing business with a goldfish.

“We need to move websites into this concept of sites that listen and adapt to you in real time.”

Holding back such development is often the relationship between the CMO and CIO, he said.

“I’ve been doing this job for a very long time and I have worked all over Asia…and the thing I see again and again is the divide between the CMO and the CIO,” Baxter explained. “So often we have to do two presentations yet it’s critical these people come together to make these business decisions.”

He described their mindsets as “phenomenally different”.

While the CIO is about protection, security and revenue, the CMO is “still stuck in this concept of brand amplification and more likes”.

“The two worlds do not intersect too easily,” Baxter said.


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