Magazine article Marketing

Measurement Is Worthless If You Ignore the Result

Magazine article Marketing

Measurement Is Worthless If You Ignore the Result

Article excerpt

A woman with a rash on her hand goes to the doctor. The doctor looks at it closely, but has no idea what it is. He looks out of the window thoughtfully, then asks, "Have you had this before?" The patient replies, "Yes". "I see", says the doctor. Then, after another thoughtful pause, "Well, you've got it again".

That's from Mark Twain, who was a damn sight funnier over a century ago than most comedians are today. And, talking about comedians, we're in a recession again - quite inevitable, since all Labour governments confuse spending money with getting things done.

What can you, the intelligent marketer, do? The usual arguments are being aired. Firms must save money by cutting down on everything not essential; and that includes marketing if they see it as an expense, not an investment. A friend who runs a publishers calls it "saving your way to glory".

Many advocate the opposite: increase or at least maintain spending, since in past recessions firms which did so emerged stronger than before. This appeals to marketers, of course, for eminently practical reasons, like a keen desire to stay employed. But it also makes sense. If everyone else cuts down but you increase, you gain a disproportionate benefit. Even if you simply maintain spending, you're going to come out better.

This sounds all very well, but it does not deal with ugly reality. You're short of cash, because your profits, from which you must first mollify your shareholders, then fund everything else, are down. …

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