In a recent audit, the U.S. Army’s Marketing and Research Group failed to reach five of its six goals, concluding that only three of its 23 marketing programs “generated a positive impact,” including IT and data-based services.

Apparently, there was a lack of marketing understanding or clear measurements to assess performance, raising the familiar question of how best to allocate marketing and advertising budgets in the most effective way. Are there clear measurements/milestones to assess budget allocations by a client against positive impact/outcome throughout a campaign’s lifecycle? In other words, how are data marketing budgets best allocated for maximum effectiveness?

In terms of working with outside agencies, we typically recommend an initial fixed price project with a defined scope to start a relationship. It allows a client to evaluate the effectiveness of the relationship and limits the work to something that is easy to manage and understand. Once that phase is completed, we’ll commonly recommend some type of retainer model for ongoing work.

Allocation of budgets mixes both art and science, where there are pros and cons of any approach. From the perspective of breadth of budget types, there are conservative data driven decision making/allocation models and more progressive spending based on single metrics, such as total reach. The most effective approach is to be consistent about the approach used so that the same logic is applied consistently across marketing programs.

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