I have just been a part of a post investment review with a client, looking at what a significant investment in capital equipment has delivered, compared to the planned outcomes, that underpinned the Capex.

Not a pretty sight, and now they have to learn the lessons to avoid repeating the mistakes.

Over the course of the exercise, the marketing manager consistently blathered about the accountability of the engineering staff in the process, but when cornered on marketing accountability to the product and market specifications against which the investment was made, and the effectiveness of the launch, and post launch activity, he had nothing.

Marketers have cried forever that the money spent on marketing is an investment, not an expense, but often this has a hint of self preservation about it.

However, if we are fair dinkum (Aussie for honest with ourselves) we should also be prepared to undergo a rigorous process to measure the effectiveness of our marketing investment.

Marketing however, has substantial elements of the “qualitative” about it. Creativity, being different, a better approach, all of which are best measured in hindsight.

Having measured, and with the benefit of hindsight seen a better way, surely the gap could be termed a “Marketing Debt”, the amount pissed away because the idea, execution, CVP, or something else was not up to scratch.

If we figure out how to keep a running score, weighted by hindsight and the continuous improvement enabled by the analytics and A/B testing now possible, we might even convince the beanies that marketing really is an investment.