Reality Marketing Series, Part 2: The Staff Fires Back

In part one of this series, I introduced an email dialogue between several key players in a typical marketing organization. The series kicked off with an inspired letter from the CMO that challenged the marketing leads to increase their focus on analysis and approach the planning process differently.

Here’s how the staff responded:

From: Director of Online Marketing
Sent: Thurs, July 13, 2006 8:34 AM
To: CMO
Cc: Marketing Leaders
Subject: RE: FY07 Planning Prep — MUST READ

I’m glad to see we’re changing the way we do things, but I’m worried this might be easier said than done. You talked about how “we need to get real,” and I totally agree. So here’s a reality we need to face: we’re not going to become analysts overnight. When are we going to get the green light to hire a business analyst on our team, get us some training, or get some outside consulting help?

We can talk about an “analysis mandate” all we want, but until we carve out a percentage of our budget and address this gap, we’re not really addressing the issue. I’m convinced if we allocated 5 percent of our overall media budget to beefing up our analysis horsepower, it would easily pay dividends. At minimum, we’d at least have more insight into what isn’t working so we could better prioritize what we spend time on.

I’m still not convinced we even have the tools set up correctly, and I can’t get on IT’s radar. They’re still buried with the ERP project (ugh!).

Do you guys trust the reports since we upgraded? I don’t trust our campaign reports. They can’t be right. Last month, we sent over a million email messages to our opt-in list, but our click-throughs are half what they were earlier in the year, less than 2 percent now.

My two cents.

From: Customer Marketing Manager
Sent: Thurs, July 13, 2006 8:55 AM
To: Director of Online Marketing
Cc: Marketing Leaders; CMO
Subject: RE: FY07 Planning Prep — MUST READ

While we’re all being candid: why are we even talking about click-throughs? We can’t make decisions based on open rates, click-through rates, or visit counts. We spent some serious money on the new tool, it’s time we start getting something out of it. We need to learn how to use the more advanced features, such as customer segmentation, delayed conversion, and campaign drilldowns (all the things we thought were sexy during the demo), so we can start understanding which customer segments are really driving our business — and I mean revenue, not clicks!

And while I’m on a roll, our one-size-fits-all blast approach to site promotions and advertising campaigns has to be hurting us (but I guess I don’t really know).

Frustrated in Frisco :-)

From: Director of Advertising
Sent: Thurs, July 13, 2006 9:10 AM
To: Customer Marketing Manager
Cc: Marketing Leaders; CMO
Subject: RE: FY07 Planning Prep — MUST READ

I couldn’t agree more. We need to look at the bigger picture and be more strategic with our budget for better testing, segmentation, and an integrated cross-media campaigns.

But before we get to that point, there are some fundamental things we need to answer: Do we really know the value of our sales leads? What are all the different desired behaviors we want customers to do when we attract them to the site?

For example, we generated over 20,000 leads last quarter from our advertising campaigns, but no one can tell me how much revenue those leads contributed to our business. I know our sales cycle is long and complicated, but there has to be a way to figure this out. That’s what I’d love to see us focus on in our plans for FY07. In my POV, everything else is subordinate to that.

Descending from soapbox. Cheers — M

What’s the dialogue going on right now within your marketing organization? Are you staffing differently this year? What are you doing to create a culture of analysis and improve accountability over the next 12 months? Let me know.

And stay tuned for part three. We’ll see what solutions surface within this dialogue to address all these frustrations.

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