When it comes down to researching a brand, more often than not you’ll see a lot of the focus being spent on perceptual information. When researching a brand through a survey or focus group, businesses will ask about awareness of the brand, familiarity with the brand, and impressions (all perceptual statistics). These are all-powerful metrics for a Marketing Director, but arguably have little to no use for a CEO or CFO. My point is, unless you can translate those perceptual statistics to performance or financial impacts for your business, your statistics are unconnected. Business performance is based on cash flow and profits supplied by a brand, not awareness and impressions of a brand from the eyes of your customers. In relation to sales, brand almost seems as an intangible asset to a business.
When reviewing basic perceptual information (awareness statistics, impressions, etc.) collected through a research study, CEO of VisionEdge Marketing Laura Patterson stated, “I didn’t understand the impacts (the statistics) were having. (It) gave me all kinds of numbers, but I didn’t understand how to translate that information into how it was affecting our business.” Patterson also said, “We have to make a connection between the (research) work we do and the revenue the company produces.” In reality, these measurements all have an impact on the finances/sales of products and services. But by how much is the golden question.
I’m not arguing that a statistic like 65% of your customers are aware of your product is meaningless. In fact, perceptual data like that is the source to marketing a brand – Do people know about our product? What do they think of it? Do we need to regroup and convey a different image? This is all vital data that guides marketing strategies. However, if time and budget allows, proper market research takes the next step. Put yourself in the shoes of a CEO (for some of you, you may just have to look down), when your Marketing Director comes to you and tells you he/she needs to spend $100,000 more to rebrand a product. As the Marketing Director, you’re going to need more than perceptual data to substantiate your request. The logical question from the CEO is, “what’s the ROI we can expect?” Predicting ROI is not a science. In fact, even in the advertising arena, it’s virtually impossible to track each sales dollar to a particular ad campaign. But market research does provide some insight to help forecast ROI. Forecast being the key word.
So what types of brand metrics should you be measuring and tracking? First determine the factors that most impact demand – these become key predictors. Is it price? Is it quality? Is it responsiveness? A formula involving all three maybe? This is where market research and advanced modeling comes into play with such things as regression and discrete choice analysis. These predictive models can provide insight into which factors most impact business performance.
The specific factors you use in your dashboard and the weights you assess to impact performance are unique to each industry and each client. Once the dashboard is created, it’s important to manage and track the data over time. The data collected for each particular model has a shelf-life, and respondents views and opinions will change over time.
Quotes taken from ChiefMarketer.com – Brand Metrics: Which Ones Should You Track, http://chiefmarketer.com/marketing-roi/brand_metrics_track/