Friday, October 3, 2008

Integrated Marketing Metrics...The Kneebone Reaction

As a final installment on the discussions this week at MIXX, I’d like to focus a bit on a new software application that was presented on the Canadian upstarts panel.

Wendy Robertson, Co-founder and CEO at Kneebone gave a sobering presentation about the lack of clarity within organizations on budgeting for marketing initiatives. Currently, CEOs and CFOs are faced with an annual process where department heads present their respective business cases to get funding. it's the lack of consistency and the fragmented snap shots that lead CMOs to more of a sales pitch approach to getting budgets.

Kneebone was designed to streamline the internal reporting process so that one clear picture of what works and what doesn't is laid out to CFOs and CEOs. Kneebone is designed to take input from all areas of the business (sales & marketing) to give management the means to assess from a mathematical perspective, where to invest and where to pull back.

The product provides granular daily reporting that can then be rolled into any fiscal term. Now marketers can see trending over years on marketing initiatives and drill down to the media site performance level, creative ad unit level or even deeper depending on how the data is structured.

Another interesting part of the Kneebone solution is the ability to get integrated marketing performance reports. Easy to read visuals capture data throughout any given time period and clearly illustrate high impact media combinations.

What I like about this from a media planning perspective is that it throws the old reach frequency models on their heads. The ability to view real results within an organization cuts through the ambiguity of “industry averages” or decisions based purely on competitive activity.

While the tool is clearly targeted to CFOs and CEOs, I saw great application for the tool in an agency environment.

I thought David Friedman’s presentation on true integrated agencies dove tailed nicely with this new offering as he urged the industry to get out of it’s silo approach to marketing and truly embrace combined efforts. Kneebone would serve as a great planning tool for this newly integrated approach.

I can see how this would threaten the marketing discipline heads. For innovations within specific “silos” it’s going to become a lot harder for testing when the CFOs are fed an IV of past performance without an overlay on offerings that may come to market once the budgets have been set. In severe situations, this would leave little room for flexibility and creative planning.

It certainly adds a layer of pressure on CMOs as their every decision can be called out and analyzed. With CMOs' average tenure already at an alarmingly low 18 months, the new accountability tool could backfire in the area of recuritment and retention. Then again, it could also lead to a higher breed of marketer.

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