Posts Tagged ‘ROI’

Chipotle Crows for Cause Marketing

June 9, 2014

Have you ever considered that viral videos might tickle your taste buds, say for a burrito? Well, Chipotle thinks they do.

Chipotle elegantly combines the art of storytelling, and the branding imperative of cause marketing to communicate its quest for wholesome, sustainable food. With over 12 million views on Youtube since it was posted in September 2013, Chipotle’s “The Scarecrow” has created quite a buzz. So what are the critics saying? As expected, much of the reactions spawned by the video’s release have been mixed; some fault it for misrepresentation of sustainable farming, some regard it a triumph, and others perhaps as a misstep in brand recognition. Chipotle’s first messaging on sustainable practices, “Back to the Start,” and more recently a four part series on Hulu, “Farmed and Dangerous“, also stoked both praise and controversy.

From a marketing perspective, one of the most intriguing of the critiques suggests that the lack of explicit branding or brand placement is harming the video’s effect on sales. This decision, however, may have very well been deliberate; done in order to appeal to a vital consumer demographic: Millennials – 86 million strong and $1.3 trillion in direct annual spending. Like Chipotle’s mission statement — “food with integrity” — The Scarecrow film aligns to the company’s sentiment that food (and ultimately the brand itself) should be simple and unadulterated. This messaging resonates with Millennials who gravitate to companies that take a genuine and holistic branding approach to making the world a better place. Through digital storytelling and minimal focus on Chipotle itself (and rather our food system), the film ultimately motivates purchasing behavior of Millennials who want to actively contribute to a brand with a strong purpose as opposed to the company’s bottom line. “Millennials view the lack of TV as more authentic,” said Carol Phillips, adjunct marketing and branding instructor at University of Notre Dame. “Millennials are likely to dismiss a lot of claims. They’re responding to everything the brand does and says.”

Plus sales growth doesn’t seem to be an issue, as Chipotle announced first quarter results on April 17th, with revenues of $904.2million, an increase of 24.4% from its prior year period and 7% from the fourth quarter of 2013. With numbers like these, it’s hard to make the case that the Scarecrow video produced a negative ROI.

Over the last six years, the role of social responsibility tied to purchasing decisions — and an awareness of which companies have joined the movement and which have not — has been a growing trend across consumer groups. Millennials are no exception. What’s more is that they expect what is called the reciprocity principle; a two-way mutual relationship with companies and brands. As a result of this engagement, Millennials are influential consumers and marketers in their own right and are significant indicators in consumer trends and behaviors.

Millennials are one of the most socially conscious generations and the most active on social media accounting for 47% of Facebook users, 68% YouTube, 34% Instagram, and 31% Twitter. Products or services that fail hit a high note with Millennials can quickly become a subject of negative feedback reverberating within the realm of social media. However, the risk/reward is huge for any company that embraces this new environment and leverages Millennials who are likely to project via social media their purchasing decisions and brand affiliations. In a recent article published by the Boston Consulting Group, the point is made that, “companies need to make marketing to Millennials a top strategic priority” and “move from push communications to two-way open dialogue.” Since 2009, Chipotle has taken this strategy to heart and sought to demonstrate that when you buy their burritos, you are “doing good” and acting as an agent of change.

Despite individual opinions of Chipotle and its videos, Crimson Hexagon, a leading social media data intelligence company conducted a study of the Twitter conversations following the video’s launch and found that 98% were positive, with 12% claiming the ad revolutionary and having set the standard for value-based advertising. But some may wonder if the championing of sustainable farming is a sustainable strategy for the Chipotle brand. When considering a brand holistically, it is important to remember that some of the most iconic brands, Coca-Cola and Apple, were not built in a day. Cause marketing takes time to become part of a brand’s DNA because consumers need not only to believe in the cause, but believe that the brand itself is actually putting its burrito where its money is.

BY JENNIE MILLER ’15

Brand Value: Measuring All the Angles

June 13, 2012

Measuring Brand ValueAh, the L.A. Dodgers, a team whose recent woes under the leadership of Frank McCourt resulted in a purchase that rocked the baseball world. In 2011, Forbes estimated the Dodgers to be worth $800 million, more than the average value of a major league baseball team team. Thanks to a TV deal in March 2012, Forbes upped that number to $1.4 billion. One month later, news erupted that Guggenheim Baseball Management, a consortium lead by Magic Johnson, would acquire the team for a whopping $2.15 billon.

Many questioned the rationale behind this dollar amount, exclaiming the consortium vastly overpaid for a franchise with such a comparatively low net worth. David Carter, executive director of the USC Sports Business Institute, tells Fox Business, that it’s not solely about buying an organization at face value. “It’s purchasing a baseball team that is an anchor that allows you to make money off other revenue-rich opportunities.”

Chief executives that agree with this see the value of a brand. However, many CEOs, CFOs, and accounting teams still see marketing and communications as cost line items rather than buttresses that sustain brands and lend book value to companies.

Columbia Business School recently published two studies related to varying perspectives organization’s have about the value of marketing. The first, “Accounting for Marketing Activities,” found that part of the problem is internal communications. Experts feel that marketers don’t clearly articulate the impact of their expenditures on bottom lines to finance officers. The second, “Marketing ROI in the Era of Big Data,” adds that there’s a need to develop a better understanding of how marketing creates financial returns for companies. Attributing value to marketing is a common struggle.

Marketing’s role, in its most basic form, is to get the word out to the right people through a range of channels. But an integral part of this is communicating a brand’s core message and relevance to its audience, demonstrating value for consumers, which in turn adds value to a company. The foundation of a strong brand is built by delivering on a promise—providing quality and dependable products and/or services. But intangible items like brand persona, experience, and reputation are also largely influential when it comes to actual purchase and loyalty, generating sales and revenue. Much of this process can be attributed to the emotional connection formed between brand and consumer.

Developing meaningful relationships with a brand’s audience is a vital part of path-to-purchase, advocacy, financial growth and longevity. Humanizing brands leverages such relationships. In addition to products and services, they offer distinct images, feelings, experiences, thoughts and perceptions creating differentiated value in the mind of its audience. In fact, a brand is, in essence, an extension of one’s self. Consumers are more apt to buy products from a particular brand that reflects their personality and aligns with their interests and personal values, subsequently raising the net worth of a brand.

Apply this notion to the Dodgers. Another factor contributing to the high-priced offer is that they’re the… L.A. Dodgers, a well-known brand that officially acquired its name over 70 years ago. There’s history behind these “boys of summer,” a term that’s not only in a Don Henley song, but the title of a book based on this very team. More than ticket sales, sponsorship, and TV deals, the bid amount stemmed from relationships with devoted fans and the iconic value of the Dodgers brand in and of itself.

Coca-Cola Ad (1938)

Coca-Cola ad from 1938
Click to enlarge

Another prime example is Coca-Cola. In CNBC’s documentary, “Coca-Cola: The Real Story Behind the Real Thing,” Donald R. Keough, former president of Coca-Cola, discussed the implications of its 1985 debacle, the launch of the now-defunct “New Coke.” He received a tearful call from a stranger, an elderly woman. She was heartbroken by the reformulation of its trademark beverage. Interestingly enough, she hadn’t sipped the soda since the 1940s, and therefore not tasted this new iteration. However, the Coca-Cola brand held memories for her, ones that she strongly associated with her childhood. She told Keough that they were playing with her youth. When Coca-Cola decided to lay the original Coke to rest, it took a piece of her past with it.

A CFO may say this is a nice story, but she hadn’t been a consumer in years. Though she may not have spent a nickel on Coca-Cola in decades, the brand clearly resonated with her. And there were plenty of present-day consumers who also protested New Coke. Value to her and the millions of others was emotive. For those who did not like the taste, had the emotional connection not existed, they wouldn’t have expressed such outrage over the new formula. Instead, they simply would have ceased buying it. Keough noted to CNBC, “We did not understand the deep emotions of so many of our customers for Coca-Cola.”

BY ALLIE ABODEELY

CFOs…They’re Just Not That into You

April 10, 2012

It is often said that those in the finance department and those in the marketing department come from two different planets! Because of long standing accounting principles and practices, marketing is often relegated to being just a cost line item rather than a value-generating activity.

Natalie Mizik, former Associate Professor of Marketing at Columbia Business School, now at Kenan-Flagler Business School, and Doron Nissim, Professor of Accounting and Finance at Columbia Business School, took a closer look at the implications of current accounting models and their representation of marketing activities. In their article, Accounting for Marketing Activities: Implications for Marketing Research and Practice, Mizik and Nissim found that common accounting principles and practices have led to distortions of marketing contributions in financial reporting. In addition, some experts feel that marketers don’t adequately communicate how their expenditures benefit the bottom line. Together these factors affect perceptions of marketing’s value, which can impact everything from marketing budgets to influence and practice.

To mitigate the negative light financial reporting can cast on the perception of marketing, Mizik and Nissim recommend marketers play a more active role in the financial reporting debate. According to them, providing “consistent, observable, quantifiable and verifiable information” on marketing spend and its results, and sharing financially-based performance metrics can improve the process of evaluating marketing efforts and lessen the conflict between the finance and marketing worlds.

A recent study released by the Center on Global Brand Leadership and the New York American Marketing Association (NYAMA) confirmed the need for a robust set of ROI measures to improve  marketing’s standing within a company. The BRITE-NYAMA Marketing Measurement in Transition Study, Marketing ROI in the Era of Big Data, found that 70% percent of marketers say that their marketing efforts are under greater scrutiny than in the past. ROI metrics are critical to addressing the concerns about the contributions of marketing initiatives. However, more work is needed to develop a common understanding of ROI metrics even within marketing departments. The study revealed that although marketers see the value of ROI measures, there is confusion about the meaning and significance of ROI among marketers.

Marketers will need to continue to refine their understanding of ROI and develop consistent metrics, often specific to their own organization, in order to get CFO’s turned on to the results of marketing efforts.

BY KIM SHIFRIN

New Study: Marketers Struggle with “Big Data” & Digital Tools

March 21, 2012

The Center on Global Brand Leadership and the New York American Marketing Association (NYAMA) are pleased to release the results of a major new study on the changing practices of large corporations in:

  • data collection and usage,
  • marketing measurement and ROI, and
  • the integration of digital and traditional marketing.

The BRITE-NYAMA Marketing Measurement in Transition Study was authored by David Rogers, Executive Director of BRITE, and Columbia Business School Professor Don Sexton. Results were first released at the Center’s fifth annual BRITE conference on May 5, 2012. The findings have been reported in numerous publications, including the top front-page story of Ad Age.

The study’s results focused on 3 main findings:

  1. The failure of “Big Data” for marketing
  2. Marketers are quick to adopt the newest digital tools, but struggle to measure them
  3. ROI – marketers know they need it, but cannot agree on its meaning and implementation

The full report can be viewed at http://j.mp/MarketingROIstudy.

FINDING: THE FAILURE OF BIG DATA FOR MARKETING SO FAR
The researchers found that marketers’ desire to be data-driven is not yet matched by a consistent effort to collect the data necessary to make these real-time decisions. 29 percent report that their marketing departments have “too little or no customer/consumer data.” When data is collected by marketers, it is often not appropriate to real-time decision making. 39 percent of marketers say that their data is collected “too infrequently or not real-time enough.” Furthermore, marketers today are still much less likely to collect new forms of digital data like customer mobile device data (19 percent collect it), and social media data (35 percent), than they are to collect traditional customer survey data on demographics (74 percent) and usage (60 percent).

 39% of marketers say they can’t turn their data into actionable insight

FINDING: MARKETERS ADOPT NEW DIGITAL TOOLS, BUT STRUGGLE TO MEASURE THEM
Marketers are also struggling to measure the impact of the newest digital tools, despite the widespread adoption of these applications. 51 percent of marketers said they use mobile ads (in-app, or SMS); 85 percent use social network accounts (brand accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Foursquare). Yet these tools are among the least likely to be measured for ROI despite their profusion of data. Only 14 percent of the social networking users are tying them to financial metrics, and only 17 percent of those using mobile ads are tying them to financial metrics. By contrast, 41 percent of email marketers measure their results with financial metrics. In addition, as number of marketing tools expands, the challenge of measuring and comparing them grows. 60 percent of companies report that comparing the effectiveness of marketing across their different digital media is “a major challenge.”

Marketing_ROI_Table3

Click image to enlarge

FINDING: ROI – MARKETERS KNOW THEY ALL NEED IT, BUT CAN’T EVEN AGREE WHAT IT IS
The study also revealed that there is confusion about the meaning and significance of ROI among marketers. Specifically, 31 percent of respondents said that they believe simply measuring the audience you have reached is “marketing ROI.” 57 percent are not basing their marketing budgets on any ROI analysis, and 28 percent are basing marketing budgets on gut instincts. 21 percent are using financial metrics for “little” or “none” of their marketing budget and seven percent are spending most or all of their marketing budget with “no metrics” at all. However, marketers are under pressure. 70 percent say that their marketing efforts are under greater scrutiny than in the past.

Marketing_ROI_Table6

CONCLUSIONS: FIVE IMPERATIVE ACTIONS FOR CMOS
After its analysis of the dynamic and challenging environment for marketing today, the report recommends that Chief Marketing Officers should focus on five key leadership imperatives: Set objectives first; Design metrics to ensure marketing is linked to these objectives; Gather the right data for those metrics; Communicate to the entire organization what your objectives are and how they are being measured; and Evaluate and reward employees in part on how well objectives are achieved.

Read the complete findings and conclusions at http://j.mp/MarketingROIstudy.

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METHODOLOGY
253 corporate marketing decision makers, director-level and above, were surveyed online between January 27 and February 8, 2012. These professionals are employed at large companies (90 percent have a global annual revenue of over $50 million; 45 percent are over $1 billion). Respondents were from b2c and b2c companies in diverse industries. The study was made possible with support from Research Now and GreenBook.

ABOUT THE RESEARCH PARTNERS:

The Center on Global Brand Leadership was founded at Columbia Business School in 1999 and has grown into the leading global forum on brands. The mission of the center is to turn the research and intellectual capital of academia’s foremost thinkers on branding into practical tools and insights for real-world application. The Center has worked with a wide range of sponsor companies to develop a variety of thought leadership including: conferences, case studies, videos and webinars, and sponsored research. The Center’s flagship BRITE conference on brands, innovation, and technology presented was founded in 2008 and is presented each spring at Columbia University. BRITE ’12 speakers included John Hayes (CMO, American Express), Marc Speichert (CMO, L’Oreal USA), and Bob Garfield (host of On the Media, editor for Ad Age).

The New York American Marketing Association (NYAMA) helps marketing professionals navigate to success in today’s dynamic business environment. We serve the marketing community by giving members opportunities to push the boundaries of marketing, expand their skills and exchange ideas with other experienced professionals. The BRITE/NYAMA study is one example of how we are contributing to the advancement of marketing.

Research Now is the leading global online sampling and online data collection company. With over 6 million panelists in 38 countries worldwide, Research Now enables companies to listen to and interact with real consumers and business decision makers in order to make key business decisions. Research Now offers a full suite of data collection services, including social media sampling, and operates the Valued Opinions(tm) Panel and e-Rewards(r) Opinion Panels. The company has a multilingual staff located in 24 offices around the globe and has been recognized for four consecutive years as the industry leader in client satisfaction.

GreenBook® brings stimulating, practical, and timely resources to marketers and market researchers on both sides of the table. Through its targeted multi-media platform, GreenBook offers effective marketing and lead generation opportunities to businesses that communicate with buyers and users of market research.

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