Return on Ideas: Marketing's never ending journey

Honorary professor of Marketing Metrics at Cass Businesss School, Robert Shaw, has studied the process of marketing decision making in many top organisations over the last 15 years. In a recent article for Global CMO™, he outlined a list of good working practices to assist practitioners in imagining, predicting and demonstrating value. He describes 'imagination' as a fundamental criterion for marketing improvement. Then, before any decision is taken that will affect the customer, the best practitioners try to predict how the customer will respond. Once decisions are taken, it is important to demonstrate the results, be they good or bad. These results can be described as the 'Return on Ideas'. This information helps the practitioner learn and improve, a process that top practitioners are constantly engaging with.

Professor Shaw's studies of marketing decisions in organisations have found recurrent themes and practical suggestions. As a result, working practices have been identified which can be used to demonstrate the value of marketing. These practices are listed in detail in the full article.

The Return on Ideas method is ultimately about accountability - to account for marketing performance in light of agreed expectations. Marketers have three accountabilities:

  • actions that were taken;
  • money that was spent;
  • impact achieved.

Accounting for these requires evidence, and market data can provide strong evidence of marketing's impact. However the data does not always demonstrate the link between consumer action and marketing activity. This must be borne in mind.

This focus on measurement should not mean that creativity suffers. Creativity is essential for high impact. Creativity doesn't always translate into impact however, so it is essential to have robust measurement practices in place.

It is possible for marketing to 'imagine', 'predict' and 'demonstrate' its financial contribution to an organisation. Applying the model detailed in this article will maximise your return on ideas and achieve better results from finance and marketing working in unison.

The full article can be accessed online at the Global CMO™ website.