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Because the mission of ACE is to foster 'Success through Collaboration', the Membership is resolved to promote internal communication and to enable interchange. One effective means to accomplish these objectives is through Blog activity to broaden the audience for thoughts, activities, and successes. 

This forum enables the members to share expertise and learning regarding topics of interest to the consultant community or to call attention to key work and current activities. However, areas of focus and expertise are better displayed in the Member Directory.

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  • March 01, 2013 4:08 PM | James Casey

    A powerful global conversation has begun. Through the Internet, people are discovering and inventing new ways to share relevant knowledge with blinding speed. As a direct result, markets are getting smarter - and getting smarter faster than most companies.”


    This is an excerpt from Cluetrain Manifesto: The End of Business As Usual, written in 1999 by Chris Locke, Doc Searls, David Weinberger, Rick Levine. At the time I don’t believe this excerpt was taken very seriously. Today, I don’t think anyone is challenging it…OK, there are always a few Neanderthals out there in marketing land. 

    The authors’ prescience way back then was the wakeup call that is informing marketing in the 21st century. The old “push” standard of marketing has become “pull” measure of brand value and product value. Features and benefits play second to ‘what’s in it for me’. And consumers have gotten very good at the game.

    Consumers can be a brand’s best friend or worst enemy. Brands that promise value and deliver consistently have an advocate (as long as they keep delivering). Brands that sell hard but don’t deliver are disappearing at a faster and faster clip.

    The Cluetrain Manifesto observed prepubescent Social Media and the speed with which consumers began the conversations. The jury was (and I think still is) out as far as SM being an effective marketing tool. What is understood in 2013 is that if it is a tool at all, it is in the consumer’s hand. The onus is on the marketer to become part of the conversation in a way that partners with consumers’ interests and needs, and delivers value – consistently.

    The Cluetrain Manifesto is a good read and reference. Its 95 theses receive validation daily and provide insights into the control assumed by consumer and its impact on organizations, brands and marketers.

    Jim Casey

    March 1, 2013

  • February 04, 2013 3:42 PM | James Casey

    February 3, 2013

    Marketing ROI in the Upturn -

    My last post covered this subject in broad strokes: my ideas on what MROI is; why it will be an absolute requirement of marketing very soon; what metrics need to be understood and what tools are available.

    This post I want to use this space to look into MROI and the purchase decision process. Moving consumers along the purchase continuum should be a deliberate and informed process, and recognize that consumers will base their buying decisions on considerations like:

     – Differentiation

     – Relevance

     – Credibility

     – Likeability

     – Perceived Quality

     – Intent

    Insight into the process is necessary to understand ROI.

    The graphic below is another way to view the process - and the challenge - for marketers. Think about how you go about making the decision to buy a product. It is probably similar. From initial awareness, to buying, to recommending, you fit somewhere along the line. Of course, you can drop out at any point. So, understanding the prospective buyer is necessary to making the smartest marketing choices.


    Awareness = receive information

    Familiarity = seek information

    Consideration = purchase intent

    Purchase = ownership

    Repurchase = positive experience

    Advocacy = recommend

    At each stop along the continuum the size of the target audience should be quantifiable. It is not always easy to calculate but the value of this information is clear. Knowing the size of the audience will make it easier to plan the communications. Since not everyone in the TA will be a buyer, for lots of reasons, the TA becomes smaller as it moves closer to the purchase decision. Armed with this information, the tactical communications choices have a better chance of being effective. And the marketer is better able to calculate ROI – the cost of customer acquisition and the likely value of the customer over time.

    Find a way to gather the data. If your budget can’t afford all of the tools, be creative. Your marketing program will benefit from the thought you give. And your accountability will be based on reasoned input.

    Jim Casey

    Marketing Strategist

    Casey Communications



  • February 01, 2013 8:53 AM | James Casey

    February 1, 2013


    Marketing ROI – The New Accountability


    Recently, there has been pretty consistent noise about the emerging recovery. It may be true. I hope so. But the truth depends totally on your business. Let’s assume it is true and that it will continue. What does is mean for marketers who need to shift into a more aggressive mode?

    First, it means ratcheting up marketing investments. And for the companies that are prepared to make an investment, I believe they will do so with a new with much more demanding justification. For those of us in the marketing business it will mean much greater pressure from our clients and bosses to demonstrate that every nickle invested in marketing is working hard. Proof of performance is not new but as businesses gain the confidence to spend more on marketing they will want ongoing assurance of payback.

    To what should marketing investments be accountable? Sales of course, right? Not necessarily. In looking only at sales results one sees only the outcome of many variables, but by themselves sales results give little insight into the sales drivers. And there are many: R/D, product development, brand equity, marketing communications, sales, customer service. Every prospect touch point is a sales driver. How does each of these variables contribute to the sale? How cost effective are investments in awareness building, promotions, discounting, direct sales? And what is the role of Brand goodwill and loyalty in the sale?

    Marketing ROI (MROI)

    MROI goes beyond sales figures as the sole variable for ROI measurements. Measuring MROI brings more than traditional awareness and image measures to the table. It demonstrates the impact on intermediate behaviors that are necessary precursors to sales. So to measure MROI, it is necessary to take a close look at the customers who drive revenue, not just the cost of reaching them.

    Some of the questions that need to be answered to assess MROI include:

    • Which customers drive the greatest revenue? Why?
    • Which products and services drive the greatest revenue? Why?
    • What marketing programs have driven the greatest revenue?
    • What do customers think about the company?
    • What do customers think about the competition?
    • What do my competitor’s customers think about my company?

    Other measures that will help you understand if your marketing is working:

    • Recognition
    • Response
    • Inquiries/Leads
    • Purchase

     – Differentiation

     – Relevance

     – Credibility

     – Likeability

    – Perceived Quality

    – Intent

    • Satisfaction
    • Advocacy
    • Retention
    • Preference
    • ROC (Return on Customer)

    But before getting into these measures, great attention must be given to the starting point - the strategy. This is the plan of action that drives all of the reasons why the consumer should care about your product. If you haven't got this right, the cleverest tactics on the planet won't deliver.

    Strategy begins with validating the basic value of the product. What is it about your product that 1) separates it from competitive offerings and 2) makes it more desirable?

    Validation can be partly judgment but also requires a true understanding of the audience for your product - your target audience (more on this in a future blog). You will also need to know your competitors, cold. And don't forget that competitors come in different forms.

    Armed with this knowledge you can more accurately understand where your product fits: how desirable it is; what consumers might pay for it; factors influencing positive - and negative - perceptions, etc.

    Strategy is the key. Measuring ROI begins with the assumption that your product has a market, and given smart marketing communications has a good chance of success.

    So, in the post recession recovery marketers will have to be more accountable. Understanding what is working, and how, will make a company more competitive will mean a bigger top line and more impressive bottom line.


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