Making Your Marketing Accountable

One of the biggest problems when it comes to marketing is the lack of accountability. If you look at other areas of a corporation there is rarely a department or area where a person cannot account for everything that happens including where all the finances go. They can also show the direct relationship between a particular action and the success or failure of that action.

Marketing however is different. While positive results can be and often are generated it is rarely the case where the results can be directly linked to a particular action. This is because marketing lacks the metrics and standards, in other words, the units or ways to measure action to result. The result of this is can be felt in a number of ways. There is no way to measure success or failure based on a particular aspect of a marketing plan and more importantly there is no way to predict the success of a particular tool, strategy or plan when it comes to marketing.

In part this is not because markets cannot decide on what type of unit to use to measure, they cannot even decide what exactly it is they are attempting to measure. This makes it difficult to assign accountability when it comes to marketing. A number of plans have been put into action that create some level of accountability when it comes to finances and marketing.

It is common for as much as a quarter of a company’s income to go towards marketing. It is therefore not unreasonable that there be some accountability and some ability to project the results of the marketing campaign as well as to justify the necessity of the size of the marketing budget. In fact, certification is required and the accuracy of financial statements is essential. The practice of guessing and the attitude of it is close enough is falling under increased scrutiny. However, marketing firms and departments having no accepted units of measurement are having a difficult time supplying the necessary answers that executives are requesting.

In order to combat this, professionals in the marketing industry have begun to develop individual and personalized standards, which are then used to measure the efforts, the risks and projections. This reduces the standards to an in firm matter that becomes part of the tactical activities of the firm rather than an industry wide standard.

Generally the only way to measure the success of marketing is through financial means. However, while marketing may use standards of measurement to claiming a successful operation there has been very little done to define what qualifies as success for marketing. As an increasing amount of companies have increased the marketing budgets in an effort to draw in an ever increasing number of customers the need for justification and tracking has become more of a necessity. In turn this has started to move marketing out of the inherently creative and necessary evil categories and into more traditional business positions with more traditional and understandable standards.

Standards of quality are necessary in any aspect of business. It helps to maintain a consistent level of production that is predictable and effective. Having a standard that is defined in clear terms and in a language the entire industry and more importantly related industries can understand is essential in allowing a corporation or industry to make long-term plans.

Here are a few of the things that standardizing and establishing units of measurements can do even with marketing. It can help to allow for more effective use of resources, improve the ability to predict results and provide an increase in the ability analyze and plan for what if situations, which often occur in marketing. It can also allow for the investment return to be asset. This allows a business to create a financial balance, which provides an increase in the overall benefit of marketing to the company.

These are some of the benefits as well as some of the problems that have arisen when it comes to creating accountability within the marketing industry. As a result the question then becomes how to create the standards necessary to eliminate the problems and increase the benefits. One of the biggest obstacles in developing standards is the fact that it is difficult to measure marketing against the standards of measurement common to industries.

This has created a resulting standard of measuring marketing success by cash flow in after campaign reports. Many people do not realize how frequently standards are taken for granted or how difficult it can be to create them. In order to create a recognized and consistent standard, which can allow for market accountability there must be first, a link between the marketing action and a financial return.

This link must be set up and held to the definitions of financial return, risk, the cost and value of capital and money. These are industry standards and help to provide a stable point of reference to from which to work. It is also important to create an accurate way of forecasting. In marketing this is best done through retrospection.

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