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Show us ROI, You Get 50K
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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Ah yes, Big Data and ROI rears its ugly head, once again. At least it's coming with $50,000. Now you have our attention.

The ANA, with sponsoring marketing data firm MarketShare, just announced a competition for any individual or organization to develop a benchmark or improve ways to measure marketing investment and ROI. The winner goes home with a $50,000 cash prize.

To enter however, you must be an ANA member. Of course, there's always a catch.

The finalists and ultimately the winner will be presented at the ANA Masters of Marketing Annual Conference in October in Phoenix. The award is called the "Marketing Analytics Leadership Award."

Below is the criteria the judging panel (made up of pros and academics) will be looking for:
  • Clarity, relevance, and magnitude of the marketing questions being addressed
  • Innovative approaches taken to address the questions and/or overcome obstacles
  • Scientific rigor applied in the approach to the solution(s)
  • Steps taken to align key stakeholders and ensure organizational adoption of the outcomes
  • Demonstrated impact on the business, measured against a credible benchmark
  • Evidence of a continuous improvement process in place
  • Testimonials of senior marketing, finance, or business unit leaders regarding the impact of the analysis on key business decisions
So then: is this a big deal? Possibly. First, it is nice to see the ANA get creative when it comes to looking for thought leadership. Instead of relying on some internal committee, they are pairing up with a firm and adding a decent incentive to a question every brand manager and C-Suite executive wants an answer to.

However, after looking at the criteria, there are some minor holes one could poke in it. Will the solution be realistic? Is the solution scalable, meaning that small, medium, and large enterprises can implement the solution? Will it be able to work across industries and disciplines? Most of all, will it be affordable? Can a group of marketing analysts also answer those business questions? We guess we'll see.

But let's give some props to the ANA and MarketShare for at least putting down viable efforts to take the marketing industry forward. Hopefully a $50,000 cash prize is enough to motivate the bright minds needed to spend some extra time and find an answer.

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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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