The New Wave Of Marketing Metrics

Last week we looked at the steps we can make in driving from awareness to advocacy Today we will delve into how me measure this transition.

We all acknowledge the importance of brand awareness as the gate to the consumer path. But too often we see marketers in various industries battling it out to achieve top-of-mind brand awareness, only to falter in driving consumers to purchase and ultimately to advocacy. They spend a huge amount of money to build that early advantage of popularity and subsequently rely on the “natural progression” of consumers in their path to purchase, without really making the necessary intervention.

Brand awareness is indeed important, and brand managers realize this. They regularly conduct research to track how well the market actually remembers and recognizes their brands. Spontaneous—and especially top-of-mind— recall is usually their goal. Some even believe that share of top-of-mind recall is a good predictor of market share. This is true in some industries that have low consumer engagement and a short purchase cycle (e.g., in consumer packaged goods, where awareness alone sometimes leads to purchase). It was only this week that I was speaking with a Marketing Director of the resilience of the classic: Imperial Leather. But in industries with high consumer engagement and a long purchase cycle, awareness is only the beginning of the job.

In a separate room across the hall, service managers are tracking consumer satisfaction and loyalty. A large number of delighted consumers are reflected in a high loyalty index. Loyalty itself has been redefined as consumer willingness to recommend a particular brand. Thus, the ultimate goal on this end is to reach a high number of consumers who are willing to advocate their brands—that is, a higher brand advocacy than that of other brands. To see 53k people at the recent AFLW Grand Final is testament how quickly this ascension can be. 

Metrics such as awareness and advocacy, however, have inherent weaknesses; they focus more on the outcome rather than the process to reach the goal. The metrics are useful for tracking a brand’s progress and for measuring the performance of the brand and the service teams. But brand and service managers often face difficulties understanding why their scores go up or down in any given quarter. Consequently, changes in the results are not being followed up with any marketing interventions.

Moreover, brand managers and service managers do not necessarily talk to each other when it comes to conducting and analyzing their own research. Because of these organizational silos, companies often fail to see any correlation between awareness and advocacy. They miss the simple but important insight into how effective they are in converting people who may be aware of their brands in the market into consumers and even into loyal advocates.

A new set of metrics should be introduced to solve the problems with the current measurement. In line with the five A’s, two metrics are valuable to measure: purchase action ratio (PAR) and brand advocacy ratio (BAR).

PAR measures how well companies “convert” brand awareness into brand purchase. BAR measures how good companies “convert” brand awareness into brand advocacy. Essentially, we are tracking the number of customers who go from aware(A1) to act (A4) and eventually to advocate(A5). Refer to driving from awareness to advocacy 

From a population of 100 people in the market, for example, Brand X is spontaneously recalled by 90 people; out of that 90, only 18 people end up buying the brand, and only 9 spontaneously recommend the brand. Therefore, the PAR for Brand X is 18/90 or 0.2 and the BAR is 9/90 or 0.1. On the surface, Brand X looks promising since it has a brand awareness of 0.9, but in fact it performs rather poorly. It fails to convert 80% of the high level of brand awareness into sales.

These two simple metrics are patterned after the sort of ratios that finance executives use to measure financial health, such as return on equity (ROE), which measures how much profit a company generates with the equity shareholders have invested. ROE helps shareholders keep track of the “productivity” of their money. Similarly, PAR and BAR allow marketers to measure the productivity of their spending, particularly for generating brand awareness.

It turns out that PAR and BAR are indeed better measurements for return on marketing investment (ROMI). For most industries, the biggest marketing spending goes to raising awareness through advertising. Thus, we can consider brand awareness a proxy for “marketing investment” in the ROMI equation. The “return,” on the other hand, is twofold. The first is purchase actionwhich, from a company’s perspective, directly translates to sales. The second is advocacy, which indirectly translates to sales growth.

Next Week we will go deeper into PAR & BAR

CMO Perspective: Dagmar Chlosta Stabilo 

Highlighter pen brand Stabilo Boss wouldn’t be the first that springs to mind for innovative ad campaigns but the brand caught the imagination of the industry with its ‘Highlight the Remarkable’ campaign earlier this year.

Created by DDB Group in Germany, the outdoor and print ads feature a historic black-and-white photo with a yellow highlighter pulling out one of the “remarkable” women in the picture and her accomplishments. They ran in Germany over the spring and summer.

Women featured include NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, who the ads say was responsible for calculating Apollo 11’s safe route back to earth; physicist Lise Meitner, who discovered nuclear fission but whose male partner was awarded the Noble Prize; and Edith Wilson, the US first lady who took on her husband Woodrow Wilson’s responsibilities when he suffered a stroke during his first term as US President.

It also sparked some debate, with people pointing out that Johnson was more famous for Apollo 13 than 11 and questioning Edith Wilson’s exact role.

Nevertheless, the campaign won gold in the outdoor and silver in the print categories at Cannes Lions. That helped it capture the attention of the wider world, with English translations of the campaign spreading widely on social media, resulting in more than 10 million impressions on Twitter in just a few days. Subsequently it went viral on other social media platforms.

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