Wednesday, August 3, 2011

10 Critical Components of a Marketing Audit

The marketing audit is to the marketing department what a financial audit is to the accounting department.

A comprehensive review of a company's marketing environment, objectives, strategies, and activities compared to world class standards, the marketing audit identifies operational strengths and weaknesses and recommends changes to the company's marketing plans and programs.

Here are 10 of 25 key dimensions a marketing audit should assess:

1.Key factors that impacted the business for good or for bad during the past year.

Including an evaluation of marketing "surprises"—the unanticipated competitive actions or changes in the marketing climate that affected the performance of the marketing programs.

2.The extent to which each decision in the marketing plan—e.g. targeting, positioning, pricing, advertising, etc.—was made after evaluating many alternatives in terms of profit-related criteria.

3.Marketing knowledge, attitudes, and satisfaction of all executives involved in the marketing function.

4.The extent to which the marketing program was marketed internally and bought into by top management and non-marketing executives.

5.Customer, distributor, vendor, and intermediary satisfaction based on research among key target groups.

6.The performance of advertising, promotion, sales force, and marketing research programs in terms of ROI.

7.The performance of non-traditional programs, particularly digital offerings, in terms of ROI.

8.Whether the marketing plan achieved its stated financial and non-financial goals and objectives.

9.Which aspects of the plan that failed to meet objectives with specific recommendations for improving next year's performance.

10.The current value of brand and customer equity for each brand in the product portfolio.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

10 Brands That Might Not Find Out If The Mayan Prophecy Turns Out to Be True

We came across 24/7 Wall Street's predictions for the 1o brands most unlikely to make it to the end of 2011 a couple weeks ago. Some of the picks didn't surprise us.

A&W Restaurants, for example, has been shrinking slowly but surely for a long time now. Likewise, MySpace has been goofing around with one ill-conceived marketing strategy after another. One of it's more recent decisions to go after young people looking to talk about movies and entertainment seemed more likely to suffocate than rescusciate the firm.

Others though, like Kellogg's Corn Pops and SAAB cars were a bit more confounding.

Mostly though, the list got us thinking about the concept of brand equity, particularly how to build and sustain it. In other words, how to best avoid making 24/7 Wall Street's brand deathwatch.

Though most marketers are unsure how to measure it—there is no universally agreed upon measure—most recognize that a brand’s equity is comprised of different components.

We've actually identified seven:

Brand Permeation: a weighted combination of brand and advertising awareness and availability (i.e., distribution).

Brand Distinctiveness: a weighted combination of measures that indicate brand differentiation, uniqueness, and superiority.

Brand Quality: An overall assessment of the brand as a whole and its line extensions in terms of its overall reputation for quality of product or service.

Brand Value: A weighted combination of measures that reflect the extent to which the brand delivers what buyers pay for—often known as “price-value.”

Brand Personality: The extent to which the brand’s image is congruent with who the buyer is or wants to be.

Brand Potential: The extent to which consumers will pay more for, go out of their way for, or are willing to try this brand’s new products, services, or line extensions.

Competitive Inoculation: The extent to which the consumer would stick with the brand in times of adversity or competitiveness.

For more on this topic and suggestions for going about understanding each component’s contribution to overall equity, download our free white paper, "Build a Great Brand While Your Competitors Commoditize."

Monday, June 27, 2011

What's Happening at Copernicus This Week?

The next installment of the Copernicus Marketing webcast series:

Tuesday, June 28, 1 pm (EDT)

Kevin Clancy
Chairman, Copernicus
Digital Insights that Drive Strategies

Register now

But wait! There's more!

Copernicus' Jeff Maloy will give describe a process for building a brand strategy that's impactful and highly executable as part of Brand ManageCamp's webcast series.

Wednesday, June 29, 1 pm (EDT)

Jeff Maloy
Senior Vice President, Copernicus
Branding 2.0

Register now

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Top 10 Marketing Myths about Pricing Strategy

We've heard some dooseys when it comes to conventional wisdom and commonly-held, though erronous, beliefs about pricing strategy. We've narrowed down the list to our top 10.

  1. Most firms have a serious pricing strategy based on businesslike pricing research.

  2. Price is the consumer’s “bottom line”; during a recession, price becomes the most important consideration.

  3. A company has to accept the market price; nothing it can do will influence prices; it is the victim of its competitors’ pricing.

  4. Price sensitivity is a function of the customer’s personality. Some are willing to spend, others tight fisted.

  5. You must match price in a competitive market.

  6. Cost-plus pricing is a sensible means of establishing product prices at profitable levels.

  7. Pricing is one of those factors a company cannot test beforehand. You have to pick a price and live with it.

  8. It’s not necessary for marketing directors to know manufacturing and/or servicing costs; their job is to create successful marketing programs.

  9. If sales are not what they should be, the best thing to do is reduce prices.

  10. Price is the only compelling way for a company to differentiate its products and services.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Interview With An Expert: Rolf Olsen on Social Media Listening, Part 2

Welcome to part 2 of our interview with Rolf Olsen, Marketing Sciences Director at Carat North America. If you haven't read it yet, be sure to read part 1!

We had a few more questions for him about social media listening and here's what he had to say:

Marketing Fray: Do you find its mostly bigger companies and brands doing social media listening?

Rolf: It probably is but I don’t believe it should be solely for the “big boys”. Smaller companies are often more agile and can react better to consumer feedback across all social tracking spectrums. Small companies who adopt a more socially focused development strategy are essentially tapping directly into the consumer. As Charlie Sheen would say = winning.

Marketing Fray: What would your definition of a “productive social listening” program be?

Rolf: Accept that it could influence all part of your business and embrace it. Seeing the results of an integrated social strategy will create advocates who sing your praises. Think of it as an unpaid work force, driven by passion for your product.

AND, one that does not just cost you money by just drinking the kool-aid sold by listening companies…

Marketing Fray: If you had the ear of every CMO in the world for five minutes, what would you say to them about developing a social listening program?

Rolf: Think about what your company stands for and then see what people actually say… it can be eye-opening.

Remember, the social “channel” is not an extension of your traditional marketing machine, this is your opportunity to make a personal connection and hear what your consumers actually want, beyond what your normal market research tells you.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Interview With An Expert: Rolf Olsen on Social Media Listening, Part I

Social conversation may offer marketers a constant stream of real-time data on trends, unmet customer needs, and campaign and new product performance, but there’s a whole host of questions that marketers still have to answer when it comes to using and applying information gathered via social listening to marketing decisions.

How do you separate the truly valuable information from the rest of the chatter?

How do you integrate the data gathered from social media sources with traditional marketing research?

How do you figure out the best ways to apply the insights?

To get some answers, we sat down with Rolf Olsen, Marketing Sciences Director at our sister firm Carat North America, a market-leader in digital solutions. As a follow-up to the webcast he gave for us a few weeks ago, "Key Questions to Ask and Answer About Social Media Listening," we asked him for more of his front-line experiences and observations of how companies approach social listening.

Because we covered a good amount of ground in our conversation with Rolf, we decided to break the interview into two parts.

Here's part 1 of what he had to say:

Marketing Fray: What are the right questions to ask when you are doing an audit to determine if you should be doing more social listening?

Rolf: It’s a really good question. First and foremost, I think it’s understanding three things:

1. The volume of conversation that’s going on
2. The make-up of the sites where the conversation is happening
3. What is the general tonality of that information

I think that once you really get through those things, you’ll have more of a sense of how important it [social listening] is to your business.

Typically, what you find is you have some sort of PR incident and that will pop up, but it [high conversation volume] might not be an on-going thing. So volume is a big determinant.

Also thinking about whether you should into the area of social media. Is it an area that might really compliment what you do as a business and how can social then be integrated with other communications?

I really think using social for customer service is an area that most companies should have a look at. I think it does offer an opportunity to deal with greeting consumers in a publicly positive way.

Marketing Fray: Social listening seems like it would offer much more in the way of insight to consumer companies. How could a B2B firm use or benefit from social listening?

Rolf: Social for B2B is clearly a different beast, mainly because most companies are not really willing to talk openly to each other in the same way as consumers and probably don’t air complaints or praise in open forums.

That being said, I think there are some instances where social activity in this sector can be beneficial.

Social media offers a way of creating a dialogue with potential and existing clients that’s less pressurized than traditional communications channels. It gives B2B companies an opportunity carry on conversation and gather insights in an environment which is not driven by a sales team.

Marketing Fray: Have you come across some good example of how companies are integrating data coming from social media with more traditional sources? Are there some trends you seem emerging the way the integration seems to be happening?

Rolf: It’s quite rare in fairness. You often see the development of standard stand-alone social teams who just live and breathe social for that business and only report as such.

Some companies have integrated it as part of their PR team and there will be some level of integration with the traditional PR metrics.

Beyond that I still see companies struggling to integrate digital with traditional media, with social data just adding an additional layer of metrics--or as I like to call it, confusion.

Ultimately, they are all different metrics with different key performance indicators associated with them. Companies could really win this battle by just applying relevant metrics to each channel instead of trying to unify metrics for ease of interpretation.

Marketing Fray: How are you finding companies are integrating information from social listening into the “bigger picture” in general.

Rolf: My favorite example of a company firmly putting social insights into the heart of their business is Starbucks and their “my Starbucks” rewards initiative.

As a business, Starbucks spent millions of dollars every year on new product development and customer relationship management initiatives.

Some bright spark who works in or on their business came up with a brilliant strategy to use their most valued assets--customers--to help decide what they should do in terms of new product development and customer relationship management. As a result, Starbucks was able to slash millions from their new product development budget and grew a more loyal customer base as consumers came up with, and voted for the best ideas.

Involving customers in your business like this is just brilliant and the value spans across multiple areas.

Check in tomorrow for Part II of our interview.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

What's Happening at Copernicus this Week?

The American Marketing Association (AMA) has just invited our chairman Kevin Clancy to give a talk at the organization's upcoming virtual conference, Driving Research Transformation, on June 23 at 11 am EDT.

The 2011 virtual conference will pack the same punch as last year's event, which, according to the AMA, broke industry records when it brought together more than 1,500 marketers and researchers from around the globe.

Attendees will get, "an online learning experience focused on strategies and applicable how-to’s on marketing research that will provide attendees with the insights and tools they need to take charge of their future."

Kevin's talk, "Four Ways to Determine the Impact of Marketing Investments in 30 Days or Less," will describe how marketers can use four widely-available tools including social listening and assessments of campaign penetration to get insights into marketing campaign or new product performance within 30 days post-launch.

Registration is free! Learn more at: