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Has your marketing manager just become your new CEO?

The amount of detailed customer profile information now available to marketers has transformed the importance and relevance of an organisation’s marketing budget.

Marketers have, over the years, become accustomed to being quizzed by senior management about the reasons why marketing budget is spent on some activities rather than others, when often the payback seems pretty hard to quantify. The main stumbling block is that it hasn’t always been possible to quantify the activities that give the best results. To quote John Wanamaker (one of the pioneers of advertising), “I know half of my advertising is wasted, the trouble is I just don’t know which half’.


In recent years, marketers have been thrown a lifeline by the likes of Google Analytics, social media sites and email engines such as DotMailer, which give up-to-the-minute feedback on how accurately marketing messages are being targeted and also provide a level of reassurance that what is being sent out is of some relevance to at least some customers…

But is that good enough? Well no, not really; there should no longer be any excuse for failing to profile specific buyer behaviour in order to precision-target not just emails but website information, advertising and purchasing channels. Marketers are now able to measure the customer experience from advert through to purchase and track it from beginning to end by each individual customer, whether they’ve made contact online or by telephone and get immediate access to the most valuable information sales teams need, to ensure they are offering the right product, to the right audience.

A marketing team can now accurately report on a customer’s location, the products they are interested in and even predict when they’re most likely to purchase (time of day, day of the week, time of year, even) simply by them calling a phone number. No longer does the marketer need to rely on flawed generic surveys to give them the insight they need – by publishing a unique phone number on an advert or a specific page, whether printed or online, call traffic can be measured over time to determine which numbers are generating the most traffic and therefore, the most leads and sales and this can even be done blindfolded i.e. even if the caller couldn’t get through because the line was engaged. This data can be emailed to the marketer whenever they need it to support analysis and reporting, so there’s no need for them to look like a rabbit in the headlights the next time they’re asked ‘How’s the campaign doing?’ Pretty powerful stuff, if you ask me.

So, John Wanamaker’s statement is now irrelevant because we can now tell which adverts are working and which aren’t and the marketer has all they need to justify their budget. In fact marketers now have so much customer and market data at their fingertips you could argue they are indeed more valuable than the sales team or (best whisper this one…) the CEO.