Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Marketing Assessment: Measuring Business Performance

Measuring progress on the consistent implementation of marketing and communication strategies is important to the life of any organization or business. Many make the mistake of allowing sales and/or revenue streams to crest and trough, coinciding with changing market forces. Allowing your revue streams to gradually ebb as a result of inactivity or inattentiveness can harm your business dramatically. It can create a scenario where you are ill prepared to take on unforeseen sudden changes in the marketplace, or it can make you unable to effectively fund growth and marketing opportunities properly during a trough in sales.

Most companies or organizations (note I am making a distinction between not for profit “organizations” and for profit “businesses”) take a hap hazard approach to marketing.  They often utilize, what I call the “shinny object” syndrome by marketing based on, whatever initiative catches their attention and falls within generally accepted marketing principles. They tend to support sponsorships, traditional media, inconsistent online strategies, direct mail, events and on occasion some limited public relations.  The problem with all this is, it is generally not well co-ordinated, defined and consistently applied. No one has actually crafted a marketing message that responds to current audience needs and demands; and the results are usually viewed on an individual project-by-project basis with little means of evaluating performance as a group or over time.

The problem is compounded by the fact that most managers, directors, owners, presidents and CEOs all believe they know more than just a little about marketing.  They know their product or service inside out and they understand their business proposition, so they feel qualified to be able to make marketing decisions for their organization or business. In turn, these decision makers empower middle managers, graphic artists, social network specialists and web programmers, often without supporting customer data and product analysis, to institute marketing initiatives.

While all these and many other marketing, advertising, sales and public relations functions can contribute to a marketing program. They can only be successful when implemented under a carefully thought out marketing strategy that has incorporated the tools and means of evaluating performance. That strategy overlays the products and services, features and benefits, customer service strategy, unique selling features and nature of an organization over customer demographics to establish goals and objectives that can be measured or modified as the performance dictates.

The reason that companies and organizations do not enter into such a process readily, is that - more than cost, the process demands the attention of the senior management team. It demands that they participate in a very focused process; evaluating their performance in detail. In a senior decision maker’s world, this is their most valuable resource, time and effort. Diverting management’s attention to conduct a marketing review and put in place a process for evaluating the organization’s performance doesn't seem to measure up to more perceived important company issues, such as new products, ongoing products and services, sales, customer service, etc.

There are marketing strategies that can be employed to help protect companies from troughs in the business cycle or to help grow your organization to the next level. How you answer the questions in our marketing survey will help you understand how prepared your company or organization is.

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