Ever since I started studied marketing I was fascinated with how little marketers knew (and still know) about the return on their invested marketing budgets. This fascination led me on a path to understand how this came to be.
Let me tell you a little bit about how it all started.
Back when I was a Bachelor student at the University of Applied Sciences in Neuchâtel (Switzerland), during a class on advertising, I remember wondering how companies really measure their ROMI (Return on Marketing Investment).
Obviously, they see the results on their sales, but how do they know if it’s the TV commercial, the print ad or any other specific activity that drove the sale? Needless to say that the professor’s answer at that time, didn’t really convince me!
The beginning of my career
A few years later when I started my career at Swisscom I was about to learn the ins and outs of marketing. The fast-moving Telco business would give me plenty of opportunities to create marketing campaigns and report their results.
Although I always had to meet sales or awareness targets, I most never had to justify how I’d reached those goals and what tactics I used. So I did as everybody else did when planning a campaign, I used all available channels and media space I could get for my budget. Although I knew if my campaign was successful overall, I didn’t really know what the main drivers were. I was experiencing firsthand what John Wanakmer famously quoted:
“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”
Clearly, my long-standing question wasn’t answered. But after the dotcom crisis, internet and digital media started to gain new ground and with the emergence of social media platforms, marketing was about to change.
A new era for marketing
And the promises were exciting. With digital medias and e-commerce, it would now be possible to have end-to-end tracking of your customers journey. This meant, you would finally know what marketing activities drive your sales.
But as eager as I was to go full in on digital marketing, I realized that old habits have a tough skin. So I started experimenting with e-commerce, social media, email marketing, AdWords (you name it) as much as I could at my job as a marketer, but in particular as an entrepreneur. This would help to me learn digital marketing from the practical stand point.
But I wanted to get a better understanding of web technologies. So I learned web publishing and programming. Then I did a Master’s degree in Digital Marketing at IE Business School. This was 2013, and with all the new and cutting edge knowledge presented to me, I was about to revolutionise marketing once and for all!
Or maybe not….
For me it was clear, digital technologies would help us marketers allocate our budgets with precision to get the highest return thanks to end to end tracking capabilities.
Boy, was I to be disappointed.
During the last 15 years, I have worked for big Swiss and international brands, developing digital marketing strategies in Telco, Automotive, Luxury, Healthcare and Transportation which gave me quite a broad view on marketing. And what I’ve experienced in those years still befuddles me. Why are companies still allocating so much of the budget on activities they can’t precisely measure?
Although I don’t have a scientific answer to this question yet, my experience tells me it’s mainly because of a lack of knowledge and competencies, as well as short term objectives.
But there is a better way!
This is the reason why I do what I do, trying to help companies get more measurable returns on their marketing investments.
On one side I consult with companies to provide them with the knowledge and competencies they need right now, and on the other side, I teach what I have learned throughout my 15 year journey in marketing to educate the future generation of marketers… so maybe they can finally revolutionize marketing 😉