Don't try to grade your own homework

Kim Walker

Kim Walker 0Comments

Posted: 26 Apr 2017


It seems obvious that grading one's own work will invoke biases, yet many marketers in-source vital aspects of their performance evaluation. According to a report by Boston Consulting Group, the number of marketing technology vendors, each with its own way of improving reach, engaging consumers, and measuring effectiveness, has exploded from 150 in 2011 to almost 4,000 today.

With marketing budgets running into the billions, it is more important than ever to know—and be able to show—what’s working. But how to make more sense of the marketing measurement mess?

In addition to ‘not grading your own homework’ BCG suggests 4 other steps. I recommend you read the whole BCG article for the details but the headlines follow:

  • Establish a measurement architecture
  • Set your metrics and tools
  • Stick with them

and critically, in our humble opinion

  • Build the right team and culture

BCG’s research indicates that the gaps and shortfalls in companies’ capabilities are bigger than many executives assume. Building the right team and culture may be the softest of the five rules, but it is also where marketing leadership can have the biggest long-term impact on the department and its role in the company.

This ‘culture’ extends to the way companies engage with their agencies and ‘suppliers’. Analysis of over 16,000 evaluations in our global database reveals that it is possible for companies to achieve 33% better performance from their partner agencies through their behaviour as clients. Download our white paper here.

Despite this massive potential in value release, the measurement and tracking of external relationships is often managed by in-house teams and glorified excel spread-sheets; it’s just like grading your own homework. There are bound to be issues of credibility and bias. What’s more, think of the valuable internal resources consumed in the process.

Failure to measure and monitor this leads to the perpetuation of inefficiencies. Blaming the other party when it is a factor of company culture and behaviour that need to change. This is why changing agencies is often a short-sighted answer to endemic problems in the way the company deals with its agency

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