Friday, December 09, 2005

The Apprentice Meets Marketing Measurement

I’m a big fan of the Apprentice. In the show, contestants vie for a job with the Donald Trump organization that pays $250,000 annually. Martha Stewart hosts a similar show but it lacks the edge that only The Donald (does anyone call him that anymore) can provide. The contestants or job candidates are put into two groups and each week the groups must complete a business related task. The team that fails the task must meet Donald Trump in the boardroom where someone from the group is fired and sent home.

While the show portrays itself as a thirteen week job interview, it’s also about marketing. Product sales or promotion are usually an integral part of each task. General Motors, Stetson, Dominos Pizza and Braun have had major representation during the show. One task had the contestants create a display for a new Buick Lucerne. The show ended up being something of an infomercial.

Microsoft participated in one of these events to promote Live Meeting. The software allows people working in different locations to collaborate on the same documents at the same time. I found this article in the Seattle Post Intelligencer worthy of note. It seems that Microsoft was interested in participating in an episode that had the most viewers and they would follow up by analyzing different metrics after the show. Marketing measurement - amazing!

This is news because so few companies understand what business metrics and performance measurement can do for them. Does the marketing effort increase brand awareness? Are we reaching our target audience? What follow up activity is required after this effort? What questions are being asked by people interested in the service? Do people understand what we are trying to offer? In what markets did we see the greatest change in sales as a result of our marketing?

Some of the questions raised require additional follow up marketing efforts but others can be measured immediately as long as the company is set up for it. Measuring marketing efforts is simple common sense. When you buy advertising space, don’t you think that reaching the largest possible audience would be a good thing? That’s a metric. How many people will see this ad? What’s the demographic of people who are viewing this ad?

Marketers typically do not have measurement plans in place. They simply have budgets to work with. Their only real measurement tool is revenue. At the recent CMO Council’s 2005 worldwide Marketing Performance Measurement (MPM) Forum Series the following information was evident.

“One common theme heard throughout: While MPM systems are top of mind with most marketers, many have yet to implement them.”

Microsoft recognizes that marketing performance measurement is extremely important since the long term result is an increased bottom line. Your organization can benefit by tying in measurement of marketing to financial performance to operations and customer satisfaction. The largest software company in the world is doing it and you can to. It does not require a massive cash outlay. The tools are out there and organizations like ours can provide the services necessary to implement the programs.


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