Archive for August, 2011

‘Should do marketing’ – The importance of measuring your marketing activity

Monday, August 29th, 2011


Having taught marketing for nearly 20 years, I have long held the view that all marketers should come up with their own ‘model’ at some time or other in their careers.

As a profession, marketing uses large amounts of jargon and due to the nature of its role it also

has more than its fair share of models and matrices at its disposal.

One of the phrases that I have heard a lot recently is “should do marketing”.  It is being used to mean marketing activities that everyone should do such as send out newsletters or use social media.

What nonsense!  Yes, all organisations should do marketing but that is not the message being implied  by the use of the above phrase.  The suggestion is that there are certain key marketing activities that all organisations should be doing and that not to do them, therefore, is a serious failing on their part.  Something to be ashamed of.

I do not subscribe to this view.  The whole process of effective marketing is about matching the capabilities of the organisation to the needs and wants of its customers and markets for mutual benefit.  By definition, this means that in all cases effective ‘matching’ will be different. Therefore, the ways in which this is best communicated and via which media are also likely to be different.

Out of my frustration at this sweeping generalisation was born my own marketing model!

I have called it the marketing activity measurement model or MAM for short – yet another acronym to remember.

Its purpose is a simple one.

The aim is to help you to stop doing, so called, ‘should do’ marketing that isn’t working and to develop and improve upon the activities that are.

Marketing Activity Measurement Grid

  How to use the MAM model

To use the model you need to follow these three simple steps:-


Place all of your organisation’s marketing activities where you consider them to be on the grid.

* If you don’t know what return you are getting then they should be towards the left hand side of the grid

 * If you do know then they should be on the right hand side


Position each activity RELATIVE to the others. In other words, if one activity had the highest spend and gives you the best return it should be at the top right corner. Other high spend,  measured activities that deliver a lower return should be to the left and to the bottom of the lighter green box depending on known data.


  • Act on what you see.
  • Find ways to measure return on activities to the left side of the grid.
  • Look at creative ways to do this. Do some research. Measure numbers of enquiries, responses, sales, visits etc… 
  • Test new activities and force them into this model. Clearly, start with a small spend and then test results – then you can move to the right (green) side of the grid. When an activity stops delivering a return stop doing it!


What each quadrant indicates


This is intentionally in red.  It indicates you should stop what you’re doing and at the least measure it.  If you find that you are getting a low return then  stop doing the activity altogether.  If your findings move your position to the right i.e. the dark green box in the bottom right hand corner – then consider spending more until the optimum balance between spend and return is reached.


This quadrant is amber – i.e. possibly an issue to address – based on the assumption that you have a high spend on an activity for some reason.  Perhaps this is due to historic reasons or insight into your own market communication dynamics.  None of this changes the fact that until you are able to measure this activity you should reduce your spend to enable you to make a ‘should’ or should notdo decision.  If the measured return is high, the position of this activity moves to the right i.e.  the light green box.  Once here, you can look to make improvements to the activity or seek to find ways to lower spend and maintain the level of return.


Activities in this quadrant clearly fall within the ‘should do marketing’ category.  The indication here is that you should look to improve the activity.  How can you make it more effective for the same spend?  Are there opportunities for you to move your position down to the bottom right corner i.e. the dark green box?  Test different spend levels to establish whether the relationship between spend and return is affected.  If there is an opportunity to lower your spend whilst achieving the same return,  then this should be considered.


Again, these are ‘should do’ activities.  The indication is that you repeat the activities and seek to improve them in a similar way to quadrant 3.  Test the effect of increasing spend. Is the relationship between spend and return constant?  If so, invest until a  balance point is reached.

Like many other marketing models, this is all common sense.  Also, like many other marketing models, it exists because common sense isn’t being applied!

Finally, here is my take on ‘should do’ marketing:-

3 things …


Understand your markets and your customers sufficiently well to match their communications needs creatively


Measure ALL marketing activities


Then… continue with developing what works and STOP doing what doesn’t

Business continuity in a crisis – marketing issues

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

In the event of the unthinkable happening to you and your business, you will have many things to consider.  There will be the immediate practical issues and the security issues amongst others.  This article focuses on what you need to do from a marketing perspective.  This isn’t just about cancelling that new advert that you have booked!  This encompasses all aspects of communicating with your marketplace and what you need to consider in terms of tactical marketing activity.

First and foremost, you will want to reassure your key stakeholders that you have matters in hand and are able to continue, albeit in a reduced capacity, to supply and service their needs.

So where do you start?  Who do you talk to you first?  Unless you have previously encountered a major communication crisis such as this you probably hadn’t considered any priority order in which you might do this.

What do we mean by stakeholders?  These are your customers, your potential customers, your employees, your bank, your suppliers, the media etc…

There is an excellent stakeholder mapping model that I have used personally in times of crisis to decide quickly and confidently who needs to be contacted when and in what order.  This model is shown below.


As you can see, the model forces you to consider your stakeholders in terms of their power or importance and their interest in the current situation.  It is a good idea to ‘map’ stakeholders in 2 different ways –now and where you think they may lie after the crisis is over.  You can use the same grid for this by using different colours to show now and future.

Practice doing this –  imagine you are in this situation now –where would you place your various stakeholders? 

Keep this draft, it may provide a good basis for you at some future time.

You contact the key players first (bottom right hand box)  and provide the maximum amount of information, those with low power/ importance and low interest (top left hand box) do not require your immediate attention or a great deal of information either.

So having done this, in a real situation, the model helps by showing you who to contact , in what order and the level of information each stakeholder needs.  As you can imagine, every single stakeholder does not need the same amount of information!

Marketing tactics

Marketing theory can help us to think logically about the business and its marketing as a whole.  The 7 P’S-Product, Place, Price, Promotion, Physical Evidence, People and Process-enable us consider what we need to do within each element.

Some of the issues you may need to consider are as follows:-


  • Are you able to deliver?
  • Has your stock being damaged?  What is recoverable?
  • Can you continue to deliver the service that you provide? 
  • If you’re involved in manufacture, how long will it be until you can re-establish production?

And so on…


  • Are you able to continue to operate from your existing premises?
  • If not, where can you operate from the short term?
  • Will this have an impact on serving your current market area?


  • The need to urgently source materials or products to satisfy customer demand may impact on the price you pay.  You may need to consider a price increase in the short or medium term.  Be open with your customers, explain the current situation and seek their support.  If they value the service or products that you supply they will want to work with you to get you over the crisis.
  • You may need to consider cash flow issues.  Consider adjusting your terms and, once again, ensure that your customers are aware of the current situation and your reasons for making changes.


  • Communicate, communicate, communicate.?
    • Use all media tools at your disposal to keep the market,  your customers and other stakeholders aware of your situation, your plans and what you’re doing to keep  your business going.
    • The best methods for communicating will depend on your market sector and are the  subject of a separate article in this series.


  • This refers to all of the various physical aspects of your business and your brand.
    • Your signage
    • Your vehicles
    • Your literature
    • Your website
    • Your premises

And so on…


  • Do you need to consider additional resource, in terms of help, to get you past this crisis as quickly as possible?
  • Existing personnel will need to be kept informed regularly.  If you don’t do this already, consider daily or weekly briefings to keep them fully up to date.
  • You may need to consider changing existing roles to meet the demands that you face.  Training and mentoring may be important here. Seek outside help if you need it.
  • Even if you don’t usually outsource, now’s the time to consider it.  Get some marketing help, get some help with your logistics and call in any favours!


  • It will be clear that you might need to change the way you do things following a crisis.
  • Putting in place plans for business continuity in the event of an unforeseen crisis is a very good idea. 
  • Think about some of the elements that have been highlighted above.  Think about your stakeholders.  Think about who you might call upon in a time of emergency.
  • Write these thoughts down.  Keep a copy away from your premises.  Tell somebody else where it is and if the time comes use it to keep a clear head and keep your business going.