The eloquent bar chart here speaks long and loud about changing the marketing mix. It shows where marketers report their business lead come from. Look at it and tell me what it says about the businesses that aren’t at all online:
I picked this chart out of literally dozens of great charts related to marketing, media, advertising and such offered for free in Hubspot’s Marketing Data Box. I realize I frequently criticize survey results and the conclusions people draw, but I love a whole lot of data condensed into a good-looking chart (like this one) so much that I don’t even want to drill down into the methodologies and poke holes in the conclusions.
What I draw from this chart goes back to the absolute fundamentals with the concept of the marketing mix, with emphasis on the word mix. I don’t think every business should run from everything on the right of this chart over to everything on the left. I think it’s a mix because you’re sending messages to different people using different media, hoping to optimize results from a given unit of resources. I do think you have to take a fresh look at regular intervals, so you change your business plan to keep pace with changes in the business landscape.
Measurability and accountability in marketing is a luxury we pretty much have now but we didn’t always have. Before the Web, we often guessed what would work, then spent the money to place the advertising or do the event or distribute the collateral. Then we waited, and hoped it was working. Then we’d guess again afterwards about whether it had worked or not.
Sure, we’d ask customers where or how they’d heard of us, but most of them didn’t know. Less than a third would even be able to answer that question. Of those, half would answer wrong (like mentioning a publication that we’d never advertised in).
That was pretty much it in the 1980s and early 1990s. We didn’t have clicks, click-through, search terms, conversion rates, and all that. Metrics. Direct mail, which is used so much less these days, was the best for measurability and accountability; some companies used it more than other marketing tools because of that advantage.
But nowadays, here’s the rub: do we now devalue marketing efforts we can’t measure?
For example, getting mentioned in a major publication. Or being included in somebody’s book. What if those marketing wins produce a value we can’t measure? We don’t know how many people have purchased because of them. We’ll never be able to tell how many people saw the mention and then visited the website, or, better yet, bought the product. Does that make those marketing efforts less valuable? Do we start underestimating and under-using these parts of the marketing mix because we can’t produce the metrics?