Because the dynamics of the marketplace are always changing, tracking is the best way to provide the necessary intelligence on current marketing position. Tracking enables marketers to structure future actions so that each brand’s potential is reached.
No matter how predictive the pre-testing or how sophisticated the market mix modeling, a number of different short-term, and often immediate, distortions can affect how your brand touch points ultimately perform:
- Competitive Activity – The mix of competitive marketing communications can confuse consumers and blur the message they receive.
- Threshold Effects – The campaign might not achieve sufficient exposure among part of the target audience to surpass the basic clutter threshold.
- Contamination – Other marketing actions can distort the advertising effect and influence the way people remember your brand promise.
So, the basic question remains: “Is your tracking service able to accurately tell you the worth of your individual and collective brand touch points?”
Specifically, your tracking must address the following questions before you can confidently say that it is telling you what your marketing programs are worth:
- Where are we?
First and foremost you need to understand the current Brandscape — where your brands are located and how they are perceived. Because tracking measures the brand in its competitive context it provides important intelligence on the current marketing position.
- How did we get here?
Most trackers monitor movement over time. Consequently with history we can explain how you have arrived at your current position.
- Where are we going?
This is where most trackers fall down. Tracking must have the ability to look forward. MSW has validated the use of a series of Customer Commitment Persuasion questions to deliver to this fundamental need.
- Where should we be?
Investigation of Brand Strength indicates the key aspect(s) that needs to be reinforced to promote Brand Health and volume. When taken together with an annual strategic study, tracking determines the key drivers of brand preference, i.e., those images and motives that drive future brand preference.
- Are we getting there?
Once strategy has been defined – tracking must report on the progress and determine whether any competitive action is inhibiting the attainment of this strategy and specific objectives. This is a business measurement, not an academic exercise. That means it must provide a return on investment analysis that is validated.
Tracking that delivers to these needs provides a key role to complement market mix modeling, ongoing analysis of database data, and other research in the marketing process. When tracking does not deliver to these needs, it represents little more than a routine report that no one really pays attention to.