Monday, July 09, 2012

The Marketing Religion

The internet has intensified the desire to measure the impact of every marketing technique —public relations, advertising, direct response, social media, websites, etc. And that is a good thing. The more precise we can be, the better.

Because of the spectacular ability of the internet to record the actions of everyone using it, when each of the aforementioned disciplines is applied to the internet, measurement is easier than it has ever been. Measurement challenges, however, still exist in more traditional applications. For example, spearheaded by the Institute of Public Relations, the lead research and measurement organization in the public relations business, a number of public relations organizations have come together to develop universal measurement standards.

Despite all of this activity, there is a part of me that looks at every aspect of marketing in the same way that others look at religion. As religion is based on faith, so is marketing. Someone once said to me, “If you don’t cross the street, you won’t get hit!” If you don’t market, nothing will happen; if you do market, something might happen. To get the cumulative effect, marketing requires a lifetime of effort. One year is like a few drops in a bucket unless there is something revolutionary to report. For major gains, just keep doing it. It may not take off at first, but hang in there.

Further, everything that brings value is not always instantly recognized. A landmark speech. An impressive article in the media. A well-received event. A newsletter series. A unique direct mail or email piece. A sticky website. It’s often a combination of all of these things over a period of time that creates the cumulative, long-lasting effect that stimulates buyers to act. And that is what we strive for. I always think of a client who was called by one of his customers who said: “I have been receiving your excellent newsletter for five years and have saved every copy. We now finally have a need for your services and your newsletter made me think of you!” How do you measure that?

It is the impact of the cumulative effect. As we measure more and more, let’s not forget the value that the cumulative effect has on stimulating instinct, insight, long-range thinking and respect.

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