Annual appraisals with a marketing twist

As I’ve mentioned previously, this is the time of year for annual appraisals at my company – the time when you make feverish attempts to ingratiate oneself with one’s manager or, in some cases, remind them one still exists.

Secret Marketer

I am somewhat fortunate in that I have a high-performing team that has had a cracking year. This does, however, create its own challenges in that while we don’t operate a ‘forced distribution’ model there is an expectation (that I subscribe to) that we will have a range of ‘scores’ across the team – from the highest performers to those who must try harder. This is the only time in the year when I yearn to be a sales manager, where success and failure are plain to see.

In marketing it can be hard to judge between those who have exceeded expectations, those who have merely achieved what you wanted and those who have fallen short.

Everyone can say their campaign was more innovative than the next or blame a poor return on investment on the underlying market or those unhelpful people in pricing. So this year I’m assessing my team against what their actions have actually delivered.

A marketer’s job is not simply to devise, develop, get sign-off to and then launch a fantastic campaign. It is to cause things as a result. Feeling that your job is complete simply because the mailing has gone out of the door or the ad has been placed, or the press release has been put up on the wires will not, alone, generate a high score from me in your appraisal, no matter how pretty it looks.

To meet my expectations your job is complete when you have caused an action by a customer or the market as a result of your activity – for example, when a customer has made a conscious intent to purchase a product we are promoting, positively changed their perceptions of our brand or done something else a campaign was intended to deliver.

This is marketing ROI in its most generic form. A marketer’s job is not simply to communicate something, it is to cause an action in someone – in the same way that leaders should cause their people to deliver or salespeople should cause sales to increase. Actions speak loud but results speak louder.

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