You probably get a lot of “news” in your Facebook feed. You know – really critical information that tends to end with “you won’t believe what happened next” which is begging you to click through to see. If you take the bait and do so, you probably consume the content and forget about it within a minute. The result the post was looking for was the click.
Marketers do that a lot. They get focused on you seeing the message, maybe clicking through to see “what happens next”, but they seem to be forgetting that the result they’re after is either a direct business result such as a sale or a deepening of the ongoing relationship with the consumer. It’s the relationship – the emotional connection – that leads, once again to a measurable result: sales.
I was sort of surprised, therefore, when I came across the results of a survey from the Korn Ferry Global Marketing Center of Expertise. I’ll quote from their release here:
The survey indicates there’s growing pressure among marketing executives to demonstrate that their work directly contributes to bottom-line results. Fifty-seven percent of CMOs cite the inability to directly connect marketing efforts to tangible business outcomes as the top factor behind low CMO tenure…Only 27 percent of marketing executives cite connecting marketing to bottom-line results as the top concern keeping them up at night. What plagues CMOs the most is the ability to create sustainable and engaging customer relationships while improving the customer experience (34 percent). Also, 27 percent say staying ahead and taking advantage of the latest digital technology trends is a main concern.
Hmm. It’s great to create those relationships but if nearly 3/4 of these CMO’s are focused on something other than results it’s no wonder that they’re not lasting very long in their jobs. The last point about focusing on the latest and greatest tech concerns me a lot. This goes against my basic mantra that the focus needs to be on the business and on measurable business outcomes, not on the tools. A business can’t do tech (or anything else) because “it’s cool.” Sales are cool. Profits are cool. Tech is a series of tools which may or may not be appropriate (or cool) for the given situation and desired outcome.
You wouldn’t cut a board with a screwdriver. You’d select the right tool with the desired result in mind. If over half the CMO’s surveyed aren’t connecting with those results, their brands and businesses have a big problem. It’s not a surprise to me that Facebook is cited as the top channel for consumer connection but I wonder if the CMO’s who use it realize how little connection is really going on between “fans” and brands? Facebook or any other tool are neither good nor bad. They have to be measured in the context of results, otherwise they’re just the latest shiny object. We can’t build a long-term business on those shiny things, can we?