In this chapter we assess the efficiency and effectiveness of strategic marketing efforts. The evaluation and control of marketing probably represents one of the weakest areas of marketing practice in many companies. There are a number of reasons for this. First, there is no such thing as a ‘standard’ system of control for marketing. Other functional areas of management have well established techniques and systems of control in, for example, production planning and control, financial planning and control and quality control. With the exception of annual sales and profit control, marketing theory and practice has no universally accepted system of evaluation and control procedures. Second, and perhaps related to this, there is no doubt that evaluation and control of marketing presents complex problems for the designer of control systems. For example, in large companies several marketing areas, each with different specialists, will need to be controlled. The efforts of sales managers, marketing researchers, advertising personnel, brand managers, etc., need to be closely co-ordinated if the control and evaluation process is to be successful.
Finally, and more controversially, marketing management has resisted notions of control that are widely accepted and indeed welcomed in other functional areas. This resistance has been, and still is, justified on the basis that much marketing activity does not lend itself to traditional control concerns, and indeed can detract from more ‘creative’ approaches to marketing. This argument is rejected here. Certainly, control of marketing, with its myriad of complex interrelationships, is difficult. Control of marketing presents distinct measurement problems, as we saw with, for example, the evaluation of the effectiveness of advertising. We should be careful not to over-constrain marketing management with control, but such control and evaluation of marketing effort are essential, even if it is only part of ‘good housekeeping’.
Sponsorship spend is a good example of how some areas of marketing have been difficult to evaluate and control. Few marketers have known exactly what they were getting from substantial spends in this area. To some extent, marketers have colluded in this failure to measure the effectiveness of sponsorship spending as it has enabled them to have more discretion over how much and where a major part of the promotional budget was spent. This is now changing. Sponsors are now demanding to know what they are getting for their money. Recent large sponsorship deals have involved clauses in the contract which allow the sponsor to withdraw if pre-specified promotional objectives and results are not achieved.
For this reason, a good understanding of the nature of control is needed, not only by designers of the control system, but also by those being controlled.