Years ago I worked for a Marketing Director who took his job seriously. That meant that every pack design, advertisement, poster, publicity shot, research proposal, all the day to day business of a busy marketing function had to be OK’d by him.
Not only did this lead to a huge bottleneck, it virtually stopped anything worthwhile, or a bit different getting through the approval processes.
We had a bad, almost terminal, case of the “Marketing HiPPO’s”, highest paid persons opinion. Its sibling, highest paid persons wife’s opinion (HiPPW’sO) is the only condition affecting marketing management that I can think of that is worse.
The antidote is a dose of marketing by analytics, using data to guide decision making. When dealing with innovation, things that are genuinely new, data can be misleading because assumptions are easily fumbled, but for all other situations, data is king.
Edwards Deeming said years ago that “in God I trust, all others bring data” and that still holds, it is just that we are now able to gather and analyse so much more data, much better, giving us the potential for huge increases in the productivity of marketing investments.
The emergence of A/B testing via the web is in the process of transforming the way marketers approach their markets, by enabling lots of small scale experiments, differentiated offerings tested against a standard whose performance is understood. It is a technique used for years in labs, particularly in applications like optimising manufactured food products that are a mix of flavours, densities and textures, and has become routine in software development in the last decade.
Now with the advent of theflexibility and tools on the web, the potential for use is far wider, and the returns tangible.