Is your strategy based on gut instinct or fact?

I doubt any brand marketers would openly admit to using guesswork when spending their budget, particularly at a time when money is tight and many marketers are under pressure to prove return on investment. “Just a hunch” isn’t exactly the answer CEO’s are looking for when they ask - “why run this campaign?”

Mindi Chahal

However new figures reveal that UK marketers rely on gut instinct, guesswork and company tradition rather than data or rational decision-making wasting billions of pounds, according to a new study.

The survey finds that £2.5bn is wasted annually. This is based on the Advertising Association and Warc Expenditure Report figure for total UK advertising spend in 2011 and the survey respondents’ average reported wastage of 15.8 per cent.

The survey looks at over 450 marketers who have decision-making responsibility for their firm’s marketing and was carried out by Cint on behalf of marketing software firm marketingQED.

When asked what most influences their marketing decisions, just under 40 per cent of respondents say they are more likely to simply follow what their firm has tended to do in the past with 35 per cent doing what seems to be the commonly accepted practice in the industry rather than seek advice.

Even firms with a marketing budget of more than £1m per annum, more than a quarter have never employed statisticians, economists, data analysts or other data specialists to forecast or evaluate their campaigns. Less than 40 per cent report using algorithm-based forecasting methods, despite these being available in desktop applications suitable for non-specialists.

Missing a trick is often one of the biggest gripes in research and a trend that will continue in 2013 is how marketers use data once it’s in, if they use it at all. With so many channels and consumers choices and behaviours changing it’s vital that research is used to understand why purchases are made to inform marketers what’s working and what isn’t.

Consumers are not fickle creatures either and don’t spend money on products because of gut instinct, they research via various channels, are influenced by other consumers, and take notice of brands that notice them.

Without data, research and insight on customer behaviour and preference how do you prove you know what your talking about and prove the worth of spending the marketing budget?

If you have spent your budget wisely and created a great campaign entries are now open for the Marketing Week Engage Awards 2013. Click here to enter.

Readers' comments (2)

  • Understanding customer behaviour is crucial when developing marketing campaigns and the consumer should be the first point of thought when creating brand strategy. Unfortunately many marketers are unsure of the collaborative use of data and focus foremost on the brand and historical activity, with the customer coming a poor second. Many companies already possess a wealth of data that can be used to influence strategy, but don't use it tactically in their planning. The shopper should always be the starting point of any campaign.

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  • Great article! Data and insight is so important. Customers don't like to be bombared with information that isn't relevant to them. It's not great for the customers and it's not great for the business. Campaign response rates will improve and budget will go further if marketing teams take the time to execute targeted, personalised and measurable campaigns that really focus on the customers.

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