The Dangers Of Measuring Your Marketing

As you may have read in the headlines, GM has decided to stop it's advertising campaigns on Facebook due to the ads having little impact on consumers. While the news first appears as a hairline crack in Facebook's IPO, it's actually a gouge in the eye for traditional advertising in general. (Note that you've not seen any headlines that GM (or companies like it) has decided to stop advertising on TV or radio). This is the downside of being able to accurately measure your marketing effectiveness - you start to see how poorly traditional advertising does in the digital world.

And maybe this is where Facebook stumbled - MZ created an innovative way for people to share their lives and then allowed traditional marketers to put traditional advertising on the site in order to generate cash. I get the need to generate revenue, but judging by the increasing headwinds facing their revenue model, Facebook will need to train and equip 20th century marketing and advertising firms how to use 21st century social media such as Facebook to engage, and not pitch, their customers.

Otherwise, "more of the same" can now be measured with pinpoint accuracy and instead of changing advertising strategy, marketers move away from the particular medium. I might assert that they do this because they yearn for the days when it was very difficult to know which ad campaigns worked and which ones didn't. We run into that now, prospects often cite anecdotes from their customers (or even what they "think" their customers think) instead of collecting readily available information to assist with future ad decisions.

So, to avoid facing failure in future campaigns, follow these 3 simple rules (with slight tongue-in-cheek):

  1. When someone offers complete transparency of marketing results, ask if they have the "Dark as Night" option.
  2. Move your marketing campaign from channel to channel monthly so that you can legitimately say, "That campaign is in transition and it's too soon to tell".
  3. Use phrases such as "tried and true", "sure-fire", "foundational" and maybe even "epic" when pitching any unmeasurable advertising.

Here's what gets me: GM spends $40 million on it's Facebook presence, $10 million of that on Facebook ads (until recently). Wow. $30 million on content, such as a copywriter explaining that they are conducting a brief survey that will help improve…..snzzzzzzogghhooffphuumsnort…uh, where was I?

I won't bother the $30 million sacred cow (which is unmeasurable), but let's look at the $10 million ad spend. That's the equivalent of 500 cars (average price of $20k). Surely the $30MM sacred cow can come up with fun and engaging ways to give away 500 cars a year via Facebook to enhance the brand and create buzz, no? Actually, no, because they didn't.

Just because we are still building cars in basically the same way we did 100 years ago doesn't mean we have to market them the same way we did 50 years ago. Marketing platforms and campaigns are much easier to change than manufacturing plants, but it's the long-standing relationships with ad agencies that prevent it. Ironically, those relationships are getting in the way of building authentic relationships with customers through innovative and truly interactive digital marketing.

So instead of avoiding the dangers of measuring your marketing results by just not measuring, challenge yourself to connect to your customers in meaningful ways (meaningful to them). Agree? Disagree? We want to hear from you either way.