Get Beyond MarketingSpeak And Keep Your Job

Remember the somewhat annoying and endless stream of “s*%t people say” videos circulating on Facebook and YouTube last month? I’m still surprised I never saw one called “s*&t marketers say.” MarketingSpeak is a language all its own, and it’s filled with phrases like “bandwidth, above the fold, CPM, lift, A/B testing, ahead of the curve and on the radar.”

If you are a marketer, use it at your peril. Chances are, you are guilty of using this language in excess — and it may be creating a divide between you and your CEO and CFO. And if you don’t correct this, you may soon become part of the shrinking CMO tenure statistic.

Finding A Common Language

For a long time now, CFOs have been looking for a common language in which to speak about ROI. It’s almost as if marketers are from Mars and CFOs are from Venus. We’ve passed through the asteroid belt called Sarbanes Oxley. We’ve entered the digital marketing galaxy. Now more than ever, as marketing budgets migrate online, a common language is needed. It will rely more on numbers than alphabets.

For CFOs, nothing speaks like numbers. Brand lift speaks volumes. Increased profits roar. Digital numbers, though, often require CFOs to sort through metrics like click-throughs, impressions, cost-per-impressions and a lot of numbers that don’t add up to much because they don’t move the needle much. Or maybe they don’t resonate. They hover at a level of detail that doesn’t translate to a bottom line picture that CFOs embrace. I have a suggestion for speaking about ROI in the digital age. It’s very simple.

For digital, use a digital metric. The campaigns are so frequent, targeted and fragmented (all of which is a good thing) that tying it all up in a neat package that says, “I spent $1 million and returned $2 million for my efforts,” doesn’t happen too often. It worked well when marketing activity was limited to three networks, ten magazines and 20 radio stations.

Introduction to AVSR

Now, it’s hard to “get the elephant to dance,” as IBM’s Lou Gerstner once said. However, in order to close the CFO-CMO translation gap, you need to do this. For me, simplicity is best. We use Attributed Value-to-Spend Ratio (now called AVSR).

AVSR is my best digital friend: a friend in need and a friend in deed. In the real digital world, marketers get a call at 2pm from the CFO to cut ad spend by 20% for the quarter, and their plan is due at 5pm. A plan is due to the CFO in a matter of hours…you need to show him you’re cutting, but not to the bone.

Here’s where AVSR comes in. It’s a powerfully robust, yet simple, ratio any marketer can grasp: attributed value (of revenue) divided by corresponding spend. If you have a 4.0 ratio for a specific keyword, a specific display campaign, a shopping engine — you’re getting $4.00 in revenue for every dollar spent. Spend a dollar, get four back in revenue. AVSR can be a combination of campaigns, or one granular keyword. It can measure one day in the digital world, or it can measure 365.

Last Click/Last View’s Days Are Numbered

With AVSR, there’s no need to rely on the outdated last click/last view standard which any smart marketer knows has become standard bullsh*t (but is too apathetic to do anything about it until the CFO discovers it). It’s fully attributed, where digital credit is given to a team of ads creating and accelerating demand, versus giving the entire credit for what occurs at the end. It’s like telling the CFO that Visa is responsible for your revenue because Visa was the last point before a transaction. If they haven’t already, CFOs will soon discover CMOs are still using last-click metrics to measure online success. And they won’t likely be happy.

Bottom line, AVSR addresses digital marketing, and that’s where that line item is headed. It is a language that can be equally shared and understood by CFOs, CEOs and CMOs. It requires no separate consultants or translators to make it work. And it may just get you promoted rather than fired.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Display Advertising | Display Advertising Column


About The Author: is CEO of C3 Metrics: Attribution Made Simple. Previously, Hughes grew eBay’s from zero to 8 million online customers as its VP of Marketing in less than three years. He has spent close to $100 million online ad dollars, which planted the seeds for creation of C3 Metrics’ attribution algorithms.

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  • Pat Grady

    you need something catchy-er, :-).  SROAS, where S = Smart.


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