The Marketing Bureau

Specialist Marketing & Communications Resourecs



What Is A Marketing Effect?

By Brian H Meredith
First Published in NZ Business Magazine

Overall, a very poor customer experience with it taking half a day to take a written test that, in itself, took only a few minutes. A negative marketing effect.

Research conducted several years ago identified that planned marketing activity (e.g. advertising, social media, sales promotion, PR etc) accounts for as little of 10 – 15% of the overall marketing “effect” and unplanned behaviours (i.e. every else that an organisation says and does) account for 85 – 90% of the overall marketing “effect”.

And yet, despite this, the only part of an organisation that seems to have to concern itself with marketing activity is the marketing team. And the scope of their work is limited to “planned” activity (advertising, sales promotion, social media, PR etc)..

So who is managing the other 90% of the organisation’s behaviour in terms of the “effect” that this will be having?

 The reality is – virtually no-one.

Much of what I have referred to above comes under the heading of the concept of CEM – Customer Experience Management. A common definition of CEM is:

Customer experience management is made up of the processes a company uses to track, oversee and organize every interaction between a customer and the organization throughout the customer lifecycle.

Frankly, I think this is a poor definition and reflects the reality that the concept of CEM is poorly understood and even more poorly implemented.

However, large or small a business is, it is not hard for it to grasp this simple reality – customers are the only place the money comes from so it makes sense to focus your business’s entire existence on understanding and meeting market needs & wants. And in doing so, ensuring that the entire customer experience, at every level, is a positive one and not a negative one.

Not rocket science. Is it?

For way too long, including today, the majority of businesses have failed to understand what “Marketing” is.

And as a result, they fail to deliver optimum performance to their markets and, as a result of that, they sub-optimise their performance for their shareholders.

And the intriguing thing is that the concept of “Marketing” is not hard to grasp.

Marketing is not all about campaigns (indeed, that is less so now than ever before).

Marketing is not a department full of bright young things trying to come up with a constant flow of creative ideas for promoting their products or services.

Marketing is not all about social media, content marketing, inbound marketing etc.

Marketing is the effect of every behaviour in which a business or organisation engages – that effect will be positive or negative. Never neutral.

Your advertising campaign may be award winning but if the customer has to wait for 40 minutes for your call centre to answer them, that results in a marketing effect. A negative marketing effect.

Your corporate identify might be brilliantly designed but if your delivery to a customer is late, that results in a marketing effect. A negative marketing effect.

Your liveried vehicle fleet might look great but if one or more of them is being driven crazily, that results in a marketing effect. A negative marketing effect.

Your product may be compelling from the market’s perspective but if it is frequently out of stock , that results in a marketing effect. A negative marketing effect.

My son went to the AA in Constellation Drive in Auckland on Sunday to complete his written driving test. He waited in a queue for a little over an hour (A negative marketing effect). He then presented three documents that were to confirm his identify. Two documents were from the list published for test candidates and the third was a letter to him from Work & Income. The Work & Income Letter was not on the published list but was the only other document he could find which confirmed his identify and address.

This was not accepted by the AA clerk. A negative marketing effect.

He had to return home, undertake another search and, eventually, found his current community services card which was on the published list. He returned to the AA and waited in the queue for another hour. A negative marketing effect. Eventually, he was able to take his written test, completed and passed it in just a few minutes and then queued, for a third time, to complete the necessary paperwork, get a written confirmation of his driving licence etc.


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