You Can Use Your Company and Brand Anniversary
to Improve Your Marketing ROI
By Gary W. Kullberg
CEO, Kullberg Consulting Group
Management and marketing journals and conferences have been flooded
with discussions about marketing return on investment (ROI). Is this
because there are very few meaningful measurements of marketing ROI
(much less predictive models)? Or is it because there is
a lack of trust in the marketing function, and the communications
agencies that tag along?
Whatever the reason, more and more purchasing agents
today have been given the responsibility to, measure, evaluate and
“purchase” marketing communications services, although
their expertise is evaluating tangible, mass-produced products.
Can You Really Measure Marketing ROI?
With thirty years in marketing and a degree in accounting, I fully
understand the dynamics of measuring and projecting price/value.
What I don’t understand, however, is how you can quantify
the value of a “Big Idea” at its inception, much less
when it is fully integrated, internally and externally, into all
facets of your marketing mix.
Yet, more than ever, the value of a truly integrated “Big
Idea” is being analyzed to a point of no return. The result
is that mediocrity is flourishing.
Recently we talked to the Marketing VP of a large organization
about developing an anniversary marketing program for his company.
Subsequent to our discussions, his purchasing officer requested
information on our warranties and guarantees regarding quality of
service, written full security with all sub-contractors, indemnity
against various occurrences, and more. Do they really think these
could possibly predict the success of a program?
With the average tenure of a Chief Marketing Officer now hovering
at around 18 months, is it their fault that they can’t predict
or prove short or long term ROI? I think not.
All marketing and marketing communications disciplines have tried
to measure and predict ROI. They’ve done so because it’s
a lot cheaper to create one “Big Idea” campaign
and keep it running than to constantly create new campaigns, hoping
one of them will work.
How Can You Improve Marketing ROI?
The national and global multi-branch communications companies offer
one solution – size. Forget about their huge overhead. Ask
yourself if you will actually use any of their branches.
And, if these branches actually have the ability to work together.
Then, knowing that marketing communications employment is at its
lowest level since the fall of 1996, ask yourself if these “survivors”
are the people you want to create, predict and improve your marketing
And, if you’re “only” a $50 million to $500 million
company or brand, with the drive to improve ROI, what are you supposed
First, accept that there won’t be a silver bullet to determine
and predict marketing ROI.
Such a model would sweep all industries in a matter of years,
and all companies and brands soon would be equal and back to square
Instead, continue to focus on dollars spent versus dollars
received. This remains the most practical and credible answer
to this problem, as well as the ultimate determinant of success
(and the primary determinant we use for our clients at
the Kullberg Consulting Group).
Also, to start to improve your marketing ROI, concentrate on finding
experienced, independent consultants who are not tied to extensive
overhead and, consequently, the cost of your program. Further, make
sure they don’t have a vested interest in selling one discipline
over another (e.g., events vs. advertising, packaging vs. the internet,
public relations vs. promotion, etc.).
You want the right solution, not the solution that’s most
profitable for your consultants. What you really want are knowledgeable,
skilled people you can trust. Independent, established
experience coupled with trust can be mighty weapons. With these,
you have a chance to jump start your program’s ROI.
Anniversary Marketing– A Unique Opportunity
Your organization’s and its brands’ upcoming anniversaries
are a unique opportunity to separate yourself from competition over
a 12 – 18 month period. This can be a major factor in improving
ROI in both the short and long term.
A well planned and executed anniversary marketing program can
convey important messages to your existing and potential customers,
employees, sales associates, financial and local communities, as
well as the press.
Use this singular marketing opportunity to present your vision
for the future. Anniversary marketing is not about adding a celebratory
slogan to your communications. It is about presenting your past
success to set the stage for your future.
Or, as we say at KCG, “Your Past Is the Strongest Criterion
That People Have To Judge Your Future Performance”. A
12 – 18 month platform from which to tell your constituents
where you’re going based on your past accomplishments.
And this opportunity certainly isn’t limited to companies
and brands celebrating anniversaries in traditional multiples of
25 years. In fact, our analysis indicates that nearly half of all
significant anniversary marketing programs came from organizations
not celebrating multiples of 25 years.
But fully developing this takes time. As Mark Twain said, “The
secret of getting ahead is getting started.” Improving marketing
ROI in not an overnight process.
# # #
Gary Kullberg founded and manages the ten+ year old Kullberg Consulting
Group, a strategic partnership of sixty companies representing all
disciplines of marketing communications. He is a well respected
marketing and marketing communications professional who has practiced
his craft in New York, and now Rhode Island, for over 30 years.
He can be reached at 401.886.5001 or Gary@KullbergConsultingGroup.com.