groundhog marketing


Jon alerted me to a disturbing report on eMarketer yesterday.

Apparently, most marketers still think that one-night stands are better than long-term relationships:

emarketer mktg success

According to the accompanying article,

“Nearly three-quarters of companies have guidelines to measure the success of their marketing programs, and for one-half such measurements are a requirement for obtaining marketing funding.”

This statement implies that more than 25% of the marketers polled don’t measure marketing success in any way.

I’m shocked.

To make matters worse, the majority of those who do measure their marketing see new acquisitions as the ‘best’ indication of success.

I don’t understand; it’s no secret that nurturing existing customers delivers better ROI than trying to attract new ones all the time.

I recognise that growing the customer base is important, but surely their retention, or even satisfaction, gives a better indication of marketing success?

Oddly, in the same article, the report’s author notes:

“Marketers have been aware of the effectiveness of building relationships and trust with content since long before the Internet…”

So why are those same marketers ignoring opportunities to build relationships, and instead resorting to transaction-based, ‘groundhog’ marketing?

Perhaps it’s not just ad measurement that needs to evolve; perhaps it’s all marketing measurement.

Then again, maybe the real problem is a lack of understanding of fundamental marketing principles.

Maybe it’s time to go back to basics…


3 Responses to “groundhog marketing”

  1. 1 Rols October 23, 2009 at 17:51

    “I recognise that growing the customer base is important, but surely their retention, or even satisfaction, gives a better indication of marketing success?”

    I fail to see how marketing can improve customer satisfaction?

    Yes it can increase perceived satisfaction. But surely if the product or service is poor, no marketing campaign, no matter how good, will show success?

    As the great William Bernbach once said:

    “A great ad campaign will make a bad product fail faster. It will get more people to know it’s bad.”

    • 2 eskimon October 23, 2009 at 23:21

      Hi Rols, thanks for sharing these thoughts. You raise some interesting challenges that highlight the discrepancies between fundamental marketing theory and the reality of how that translates into everyday business practice.

      Basic definitions of marketing often refer to it as the profitable satisfaction of people’s wants, needs, and desires, and from that perspective, I think it’s safe to say that marketing should have everything to do with satisfaction. To your second point, businesses that correctly implement the marketing principle can avoid producing ‘poor’ products in the first place, because marketing should influence everything starting with R&D.

      I recognise that this is rarely how things usually work in the real world, although I’m not too sure why that’s the case. However, this discrepancy is not proof that marketing has failed; rather, it’s a reflection of erroneous implementation.

      I’ve heard similar criticisms made of advertising, and up until recently, I would have tended to agree with them, but I think this wonderful talk
      by Rory Sutherland
      illustrates how even brand communications can help to improve perceived satisfaction. And considering satisfaction is always a perception, we’d do well to consider the gravity of his comments.

      However, your points do reflect a reality which, as the eMarketer article also demonstrates, often fails to live up to the promise that the marketing concept holds. Perhaps it’s time to re-explore exactly what marketing means for us and our organisations.

      What does everyone else think?

  2. 3 Pratap Singh October 24, 2009 at 00:04

    Sad but true. I had recently highlighted the “Need for a separate customer marketing function” on my blog. You might like to have a look at it at

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


Other Distractions


%d bloggers like this: