How Do You Market?

How does your company make marketing decisions?
Is it based on gut instincts or measurable results?

Before POS systems were common, marketing decisions were only scrutinized on a theoretical basis.  No one really knew who made the best marketing decision because not many people really knew how to measure results.  The most successful marketing directors were those that had the ability to convince others that their decisions were, in fact, the correct ones based on esoteric theories and unexplainable insights.  In today's reality no one always makes the right decisions, and a good marketing director knows that and welcomes measurement or results so they can use it to make corrections in their marketing plan.

With measurable results favorable and unfavorable information can be used like a steering wheel to move your company along a forward moving course.

Without measurable results you are required to rely on gut feelings and the old marketing divining rod.

This wasn't a problem in the old days because the competition was using their gut feelings too.  But now, POS systems have replaced the mystery of marketing with factual data.  But even though the information is in your computer, you have to be able to get it out and be willing to look at it.

I once had a client who decided that the mailing he did was a flop because his sales didn't go up.  Although this conclusion seemed to make sense at the time, the conclusion was wrong.  How could this be?  I analyzed his monthly activity and discovered something very interesting.  The mailing he did was an especially attractive offer designed to recruit new customers.  It was sent only to non-customers and resulted in three times the normal rate of new customers for the month.  The mailing was obviously successful with the group that it reached, however since regular customer sales dropped at the same time of the mailing, it looked as though the mailing didn't work.

If we didn't have the insight provided through our database marketing program, we would have assumed that the mailing was a failure and would have scrapped an excellent sales building effort.  Most marketing directors are required every day to make important decisions based on their gut feelings.  If you need get contrary feedback, you'll always think your assumptions and analyses are correct.  After all, since you never know what you don't know, there is no reality check.  Savvy marketers who know how to use their computer data have discovered that their assumptions are wrong about 20% of the time.  That's because when a mailing is done one of four events occur.

  1. The mailing worked and we thought it worked.
  2. The mailing worked and we thought it didn't.
  3. The mailing didn't work, but we thought it worked.
  4. The mailing didn't work and we thought it didn't work.

Most of the time the gut level marketer and the measurable result marketer will agree and make a correct evaluation as in situation 1 and situation 4.  But then . . . what about situation 2 and 3.  Why believe information that is 80% truthful when you can get information that is nearly 100% truthful.  You'll end up being 20% smarter and probably spend a lot less money.