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Don't let the poor results from marketing metrics get you down

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A slew of new tools and technologies is empowering marketers to link their programs straight to market share, sales and profits. What these long-awaited metrics reveal is universally dismal results—from unprecedented new-product failure rates to free-falling customer satisfaction scores. If that news has got you down, here are seven tips:
  • Go to school on nontraditional media. As marketers move dollars out of conventional choices and into alternative vehicles, don't be the one caught behind the trend. Study new options and do real-world experimentation—small-scale tests that reveal how a select medium impacts specific measures.
  • Love thy sales department. The friction between sales and marketing squanders resources and spoils bottom-line results. Wave the white flag, and start treating your sales department like a client.
  • Think tangibly. Many companies today are in pursuit of an intangible feeling or attitude—the perception of being "cool," for example. But that doesn't mean tangible positioning—campaigns based on the functional attributes and benefits of a product or service—should be cast aside. Instead, heed what the latest econometrics tell us: Campaigns rooted in tangible positioning consistently outperform their intangible counterparts.
  • Find data you can trust—then trust it. It's a mistake to virtually ignore research and data, and make marketing decisions on intuition alone. Commit yourself to finding unimpeachable data, and then trust that data to inform your work. Otherwise, you've got nothing but your good name to back up a major program.
  • Get excited about implementation. Implementation of a great marketing plan is a priority, not an afterthought. Think the entire process through, identify what needs to happen in each area of the business and do a dry run.
  • Value customer satisfaction … to a point. One hundred percent customer satisfaction is unprofitable. Why? The cost of delivering a limitless level of satisfaction rises faster than the payoff in profits. Focus instead on the critical drivers to your critical buyers. You'll satisfy your core customers, and put your time and budget where they matter most.
  • Target wisely. There may be a lot of people who love your brand, but there are others who hate it or, at the very least, have zero interest despite your best efforts to woo them. Don't waste your precious energy and resources on them. Target your most profitable customers instead.
Clancy and Krieg are principals of Copernicus Marketing Consulting and co-authors of "Your Gut Is Still Not Smarter Than Your Head: How Disciplined, Fact-Based Marketing Can Drive Extraordinary Growth and Profits" (Wiley, 2007). Contact them at useyourheadnow.com.
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