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100 Years Later Bankers Still Have Difficulty Measuring Up

At the turn of the last century, store merchant John Wanamaker stated, "Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half." 

Based on just released research from Ifbyphone, those may have been the 'good old days'. The report, 2011 State of Marketing Measurement Report found that, while 82% of CMOs expected every campaign to be measured (what's up with the other 18%), only 29% of the marketers believed they could effectively measure ROI of each channel. 

Potentially more troubling was the finding that more than a quarter of marketing assistants did not find the measurement of results important. "It's concerning to hear that many marketers don't understand the importance of measuring the success of their campaigns," stated Irv Shapiro, CEO of Ifbyphone. "We need to determine the root cause of this sentiment, and whether it's a lack of education in best practices, or rather a gap in leadership and mentoring. Businesses can only get better at marketing if they are held accountable for improving upon what didn't work in the past." 

From a channel perspective, marketers indicated they could only measure ROI on 47% of email programs and 41% of direct mail programs, with all other channels seeing significantly smaller percentages. This is despite having more tracking technology, greater human skill sets, and more attention to ROI and even though only 6% of marketers surveyed thought email was the most difficult to measure (only 5% found direct mail to be the most difficult to measure). 

Part of the problem overall is the use of harder to measure channels such as social media and even traditional channels like television. And while the marketers surveyed believed they had many of the tools needed to measure results and build an ROI argument, the problem may be the challenge of attribution where an integrated multichannel strategy is implemented. The survey found that 71% of marketers believed they had the needed tools to measure the ROI of marketing campaigns. 

The tools used to measure marketing campaigns included web analytics (48%), email marketing software analytics (47%), leads from contact forms (38%) and social media monitoring (30%). 

In 2012, the key will be to take advantage of the vast amount of data at our fingertips and determine what we want to measure, how we will measure, and most importantly, what insights can be taken away that are actionable. Here are some recommendations that may assist in focusing efforts on seeing results of your programs. 

  • Develop and leverage a marketing measurement playbook that includes standardized measurement inputs and outputs you will use for your organization. Within this playbook, show how testing will be done and channel attributions will be measured.
  • Set an appropriate budget and timeline for the implementation and delivery of analysis. Many of the banks I work with under fund the analysis portion of their programs and do not set specific time lines for the delivery of results.
  • Set a standardized ROI formula that all impacted parties agree to. There has been a great deal of dialogue recently on how to establish social media ROI measures. Your team and management at your organization will need to agree to these measures.
  • Build a reporting template that will be used for all of your marketing programs. This will help to standardize your reports and build credibility within the organization.
  • Continue to look for new outside partners that can assist with your measurement efforts. New tools and processes are coming to market every day, with highly sophisticated process for measuring individual channels and multichannel attribution.

Channels will only increase in the future and the use of social media by your customers will have a greater impact on your results than ever before. So, how will your organization do a better job at measuring success (and failure) in 2012? What tools will you leverage and what standards will you set so that you don't embark on new programs without the benefit of analysis from prior programs? 

I would love to hear your comments below.





Comments: (1)

Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune 11 January, 2012, 10:37Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Without denying the importance of accountability, I'm also mindful of the clamor around measurement of marketing ignoring certain ground realities viz. (a) High cost and expertise for measurement tools make it impractical for all but the top spending marketers to adopt them (b) Metrics that can be measured often lack resonance with functions outside marketing. For example, marketing will claim high effectiveness of a certain online ad because it generated heavy incremental website traffic or Facebook Likes or whatever, but sales would only be impressed with qualified leads and revenues, finance with profits, and CEO with EPS - none of which can be measured by using even the most state-of-the-art marketing measurement tools and techniques.

In all this clamor, one thing is undeniable: When marketing works, it generates returns far in excess of what it costs. Which is perhaps why marketing continues to flourish more than a century after prominent people have raised questions about which part of marketing works and which part doesn't.

For greater adoption of measurement in marketing, I think the trick is to get the level of granularity of metrics right.

Jim Marous

Jim Marous


The Financial Brand

Member since

08 Jan 2012



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