I must confess, upfront, that the title has been inspired by the subject line of an email update I got from HBR. I thought it hit the nail on the head.
Several studies, including Prayag’s own Annual Marketing Best Practices Study, have reiterated the importance of measuring the impact of the marketing function on business. However, till date, this area still has not be addressed adequately, which also explains why we continue to have so much research and articles on the subject.
On one hand, it is fairly obvious that if you want to make your function relevant, you ought to demonstrate results, and that automatically means, you measure.
On the other hand, given the qualitative nature of some marketing initiatives, there may be a challenge in quantifying results.
The answer however is not to abandon all efforts to demonstrate results, but to make a few assumptions and arrive at possible outcomes that can be committed to.
There are some programs that are easier to measure, example, online marketing initiatives, demand generation programs and the like. And those may be a good place to start.
From our experience, we have seen that the importance accorded to marketing is far higher in those companies that pay more attention to metrics.
Further, in a tough business climate, measurement becomes more relevant. Now is the time to present a case for marketing ( contrary to the predictable response of cutting down marketing spends) by committing to results that can be measured.