What if your boss only wants to measure brand awareness?

We’ve all seen that look on the face of the boss. It says, “What on earth are you talking about?” Sometimes that look is something we deserve to see, because we really don’t know what we are doing, but often, it’s because we just have something to say that the boss doesn’t understand. Recently, a client asked me how she can wipe that look off the her CMO’s face every time she starts talking about measuring Web conversions and offline conversions. Her boss waves these ideas away, saying he only wants to measure brand awareness. What can you do in this situation?

It’s not easy to get your boss to agree to a new measurement. You need to understand that it is scary for most people to sign up to be judged by a new number that they don’t understand. They feel like they have their job wired. This woman’s CMO was sure that he knew how to succeed as long as brand awareness was the metric, but was wary of looking good on any other basis.

A Meeting with the Boss

Image by David Panevin via Flickr

Depending on your boss, you might take a few different approaches:

  • Make it flow. Explain how conversions are really the next step after brand awareness, and showing conversions will prove to everyone how valuable brand awareness must be, because without it we have no conversions. (Yes, this is kind of bass-ackwards, but if it allows you to get started, then do it.)
  • Start small. Don’t introduce conversions as a way to replace brand awareness or as superior to brand awareness. Instead, talk about it as something else that we want to measure “just so we can show that we are having an impact on the business.” (Executives like to talk that way.)
  • Scare him more. If he is petrified of introducing a new measurement, then you might want to scare him more about not introducing it. Explain to him that the reason that CMOs have such short tenures is that everyone else is keeping score with money (sales and costs) and marketers keep score in brand awareness, which the CEO and CFO do not understand. That is how we are really being judged, no matter whether we admit it or not.

For some bosses, you can pick one of these approaches if you think it will work. For others, you can walk right down the line from top to bottom. You can probably think of other arguments, too. Regardless, marketers must change the conversation to explain the value of marketing in terms that other executives understand or risk becoming the next marketer looking for work.

And if none of these approaches work, it might be time for you to find a new boss.

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Mike Moran

Mike Moran is a Converseon, an AI powered consumer intelligence technology and consulting firm. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also served as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website, ibm.com, most recently as the Manager of ibm.com Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He was a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research and is now a Senior Fellow of The Conference Board. A Certified Speaking Professional, Mike regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide

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