July 27, 2020

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Marketing Management for Executives: 8 Questions to Ask Frontline Managers

March 10, 2020

The ways of allocating resources and measuring marketing results have evolved greatly over the past decade. As the marketing landscape and best practices shift beneath executives’ feet, those that rely on antiquated methodologies will see their value diminish. All told, managing marketing programs is no easy task for executives.

 

Smart marketing management necessitates asking the right questions to frontline managers and demanding quantifiable results which directly tie to business outcomes. In support of executive teams, here’s a set of questions for which executives must demand answers to resource marketing programs effectively:

 

  1. Is the channel click-based or view-based?

    • Click based channels are relatively easier to measure using standard analytics protocols. View-based channels require triangulation of impact via lift tests (surveys, holdouts) and/or econometrics.

  2. For view-based channels where lift tests are required: do we have a reliable ‘pre’ period?

    • Sequential testing requires measuring uplift of before and after a treatment. Don’t rush a campaign without specific knowledge of the ‘before’.

  3. For view-based channels where lift tests are required: are we testing in a known, stable period?

    • Seasonality must be controlled for to mitigate false positives. Identify and mitigate impact of micro-seasonal factors such as holidays, cultural events, weather, pandemics, competitor entrants, and marketing mix shifts.

    • A simple, yet effective way for controlling for many elements is to rely on year-over-year comparisons.

  4. What performance assumptions must we make to increase/decrease/halt investment? And what is the basis of these assumptions?

    • Sometimes we must assume down-funnel conversion rates, monetization, or future behavior due to incomplete information. These should be explicit before running the campaign and should include follow-up plans to validate assumptions.

    • When making assumptions on performance aim to match like-for-like. For example, if modelling linear radio performance use digital radio or linear TV comparables rather than paid search to fill the knowledge gap.

  5. By what metric will we know to increase, decrease, or stop investment?

    • Before starting a campaign, define how to measure success and what success looks like. If a metric doesn’t directly tie to a business outcome, why then devote resources in the first place?

       

       

  6. If we don’t have a way of tying an initiative directly to a business outcome today, what is minimum amount we must spend to understand impact?

    • Often marketers ‘test’ channels at a spend threshold far below what has a measurable impact thereby limiting knowledge expansion. The result of a test budget should be a quantifiable and actionable impact.

  7. If we match the ‘best in class’ channel competitor’s performance, what is the maximum upside?

    • Often frontline marketers resource what it comfortable rather than where the opportunity is greatest. Comparing the ‘size of the prize’ helps facilitate proper channel allocation.

  8. If our competition was not pursuing this initiative, would we still pursue this action?

    • Smart decision making exists independent of competitive influences. While competitors may shine light on nascent opportunities, it is the marketer’s job to justify any addition to the marketing mix.

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© 2020 by Evan Waters