Imagine you’re selling a product: delicious lemonade made from the freshest, homegrown lemons. But instead of setting up your lemonade stand outside on a hot day, you wait inside and are surprised that no one is buying your amazing product. This is what a business without a marketing strategy looks like.
But for most businesses, marketing is far more complex than just setting up a lemonade stand. Chief Marketing Officers have to balance brand promotion, marketing communications, consumer feedback, strategic planning, market research, and even more. And despite the universally accepted importance of the role, if the business falls behind, you can bet the CMO will shoulder most of the blame.
A report from Accenture Strategy found that when a business doesn’t reach its growth goals, 37% of CEOs say the first person they’d fire is the CMO. This is backed up by a different report by Korn Ferry which finds the average tenure for a CMO is 4.1 years, the shortest among all C-suite positions.
Needless to say, CMOs have it rough. They are responsible for driving the growth of their business, but frequently have a hard time justifying their strategic actions and risk their jobs when objectives aren’t met.
How can we make the CMO’s job a little easier?
One effective and proven solution: brand tracking! We’ve heard from CMOs at both large and small companies that brand tracking has been an invaluable tool for them because it helps them prove the ROI of marketing activities, which 40% of marketers say is their single, biggest challenge.
Here’s how CMOs can use brand tracking to quantify impact, prove how their work contributes to the bottom-line and progress internally:
1. Measuring brand awareness
Are you reaching consumers at all and is your message coming across as intended? These are the first questions a CMO needs to ask before they can even begin to prioritize strategic actions. If you’re making big marketing moves, but you’re not even on the map to begin with, all your work is just bouncing around an echo chamber. Brand tracking helps you start with the basics: who is already aware of your brand, and who isn’t?
Every company stands in competition to its peers, and in today’s world it’s only becoming more difficult for your brand to stand out. Luckily, brand tracking can also provide answers for CMOs who want to understand how well the perception of their brand fares against the competition. This can be especially important when an industry as a whole is facing negative perceptions.
2. Quantify brand lift
Brand tracking helps CMOs understand which marketing activities work better. Even if you know that you can reach consumers, you don’t know which of your marketing activities are making the biggest impact. By analysing changes in brand perception with regards to different campaigns, messages or stories, you can quantify the impact and bring a more performance-oriented approach into your brand marketing. And, while digital campaigns are generally easier to track (e.g. conversion rates for Adwords or Facebook impressions), analogue activities are harder to get a feel for. Brand tracking allows you to measure both.
3. Purchase Intent
The bottom line of a CMO’s job always comes down to sales, and tracking purchase intent is one of the best ways to know how effective your marketing activities are. Tracking regularly allows you to sync up your campaigns with actual results. Even seeing gaps between purchase intention and sales can be an illuminating exercise; it could indicate that after successful marketing activities, some other factor could be preventing you from reaching your sales target.
There are countless other reasons why CMOs & brand managers use brand tracking, but these are just the top 3 that we hear in our conversations. What matters is that CMOs aren’t operating blindly and have a track record of their impact.