Clients insist upon it. Agencies obsess about it. But, according to a new survey of 243 chief marketing officers, a whopping 57 percent DON'T establish their budgets according to ROI measures. Instead, more than two-thirds said they base their budget decisions on historical spending patterns and 28 percent go on their GUT instincts (insert link).
Undertaken by the Columbia Business Center on Global Brand Leadership and the New York American Marketing Association, the survey sure puts the kibosh on all the chatter about measurement. In fact, one CMO said measuring ROI is like “…pissing in the wind.” Nice.
I'm not surprised by the results.
Clients always insist on a measurement component for their programs, but seldom allocate separate budgets for it. So, the agency has no other choice than to re-allocate time from counseling and implementation to create some sort of Band-Aid that will satisfy the client's basic measurement needs. And, therein lies the fundamental displeasure with current measurement tools.
Most PR measurement programs still focus on warm and fuzzy things such as awareness, share of voice and my personal bete noir, advertising equivalency (a heinous and bogus ROI if there's ever been one).
A few years ago, we launched Business Outcomes, a model that we've perfected to the point where today it is completely tailored to exactly what a client wants to measure. No two clients' Business Outcomes programs are alike. This measurement tool sets itself apart from others in the industry because it shows holistically how a campaign ties back to objectives, can drill down to a specific data point to uncover any potential issues with a campaign while in progress, and can provide clients with multiple correlations among data points. And, clients are investing in Business Outcomes. And, no those dollars are not being reallocated from the primary marketing budget.
The Columbia/AMA survey results should be a wake-up call to the industry award program organizers who crow about the business results achieved by their 'campaigns of the year.' Since so many of the client-side decision-makers say they don't believe in measurement or use it as a predictive tool to inform strategic planning, how REAL and how MEANINGFUL are the results being touted in those winning submissions?
I'd love to see just one, rationale response from a PR industry awards organizer to this obvious conundrum. I'd also love to see a comment posted by one or more of the measurement thought leaders. How does it make you feel to know the majority of your clients think your service is akin to pissing in the wind? Talk about a kick in the head.