09/01/2018 Marketing Investment Mgt. - Update Your Hand Book! Process automation started off as a means of improving business efficiency by reducing "paper work". But that was a long time ago. Today, any process automation is just a starting point for suggesting course corrections (& even process changes!) based on data analytics, machine learning & AI. But, if marketing investment processes are not automated across the enterprise, then what are the chances of applying machine learning & AI? Headstart Data analytics, machine learning & AI are never easy to implement, especially when designed as outputs of automated processes. But there’s no question that once implemented, it will take existing operations to new heights of productivity! Take Marketing. Today, experts associated with marketing teams routinely create complex plans, evaluate them & implement course-correction - to achieve amazing output - all semi manually (using spreadsheets & email). With even data analytics relating to online marketing & sales data being regularly outsourced to experts. But if Marketing were asked how much of their own recent past data they used for insights, the answer would be “not enough”! So, how can Marketing with its access to domain experts, have a head start when it comes to harnessing the power of data analytics, machine learning, AI? Strip the Mystery Today, like every department Marketing is under intense pressure to improve productivity - internally as well as by their clients. But marketing investment decisions are based on established processes (based on email, documents & spreadsheets). Of course, they refer to budget codes which are assigned by a legacy “ERP system”. And post execution, invoices are “passed” and forwarded to the “ERP System” for settlement based on a monthly cycle. All decisions to continue / divert investments are done semi-manually - by analysing own & 3rd party data on competition data pertaining to sales, exposure & ad spends. So, even though data is routinely used to improve marketing plans, there is no software-system driven approach to compute Marketing ROI by category, brand, markets & period. If marketing investment processes were automated, all relevant data would populate an internal "Marketing Database", which could be used (for example) to generate Marketing ROI as a system report. Update The Hand Book Marketing needs to deploy machine-learning software which constantly analyses its internal “Marketing Database” & suggest improvements by identifying: * Input parameters which significantly influence certain performance units in various markets. * Which combination of input parameters yielded the best Marketing ROI in specific markets & periods. * How well did a campaign, activity or parameter worked for individual brands in different markets. And so on. At first, marketing team may not understand how to go about this or even the import of this. It’s only when they can see real time data related to marketing investments that they realise that it can actually help drive productivity. In effect, Marketing needs to update its process hand book that’s in use for years - a hand book that just doesn’t address today’s needs.