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Rethinking marketing KPIs in the new abnormal

by Spencer Ng , 29.09.2020

As we gear up to enter the last quarter of this year, more businesses are reopening and finding their footing in the new abnormal, thereby presenting marketers with a host of new challenges such as reduced budgets, evolving marketing mix, changing marketing priorities and measuring marketing ROI.

With rapid changes taking place during this pandemic, how can brands and marketers navigate shifting priorities and ensure business continuity in a post-COVID environment?

In our commissioned survey “Branding and Marketing in the New Abnormal" representing marketing executives from various industries across Asia Pacific, 44% of respondents said business has slowed down while 11% said it has come to a screeching halt since the virus outbreak. In addition, 73% said their marketing budgets have been reduced.
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Stop measuring and start optimizing marketing performance

Measuring marketing performance by itself is not going to help you drive business growth. This is particularly true at a time of reduced marketing budgets. We need to make every dollar count.

Based on the results of the survey – a whopping 83% run some form of marketing measurement. However, the question needs to be asked – are they measuring right?

Measuring right means you use the right tools for the objectives that you want to achieve. And those tools must be useful for optimizing your business performance and setting it on the right trajectory towards your objectives.

Top priorities right now

Following the virus outbreak, 56% of marketers said digital transformation objectives is a key priority for them now, followed by 55% saying it is maximizing marketing ROI, and finally 50% saying it is driving sales.

5 top priorities for marketers in the new abnormalMicrosoftTeams-image

We can glean some insights by comparing the objectives that marketers have versus the tools they use to help them achieve those objectives.

  • Amongst respondents who cited driving sales as a key priority: only 36% say they use marketing mix models (MMMs)
  • Amongst respondents who cited driving MROI as a key priority: only 43% say they use marketing mix models (MMMs)
  • Finally, amongst respondents who cited digital transformation as a key priority: only 40% say they use marketing mix models (MMMs).

This means that between 57 to 64% of business leaders are not using marketing mix models (MMMs) when they have priorities that will clearly benefit from such a tool

Transformational times requires transformational toolsFeature Image 2_Rethinking marketing KPIs-1

Align your objectives with the tools that you use

The survey findings portray a clear gap between what business leaders want to achieve and the tools they are using to achieve it. If your goal is transforming your business and ultimately driving sales and ROI, then you need to be using the right tools to measure, transform and optimize your business to achieve your goals. This is even more important now than ever before. Faced with new external forces and shrinking budgets, you need to make every dollar count.

What are transformational tools?

Transformational tools enable you to achieve a step change towards your business goals. These tools help you reform your processes, refine your operations and optimize your cost structure, all with the sole purpose of achieving a level shift in your business performance. The MMM is one such transformation tool. It can deliver visible performance improvements by helping marketing teams maximize marketing budgets and finance teams control costs.

How can you maximize transformational tools?

Organizations that get the most out of transformational tools take these exercises seriously. There is organization-wide deployment of such tools in order to level up business performance at scale. Furthermore, in one such exercise that GfK oversaw, the adoption of GfK’s MMM recommendations led to an actual business improvement of 4x higher media ROI when the guidance offered by such tools are rigorously and quickly implemented.


The findings are based on a GfK commissioned survey with Campaign Asia, titled ‘Branding and Marketing in the New Abnormal’, aimed at assessing how marketing priorities in the region are shifting and will continue to evolve due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The survey targeted 144 marketers in 12 countries in Asia Pacific across several industries. For more details, please contact apac@gfk.com

Measure, transform and optimize marketing ROI in the new abnormal

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