Evaluate

Evaluation of significant investments, whether in marketing or elsewhere, is essential to improve future decision-making. The easier and more automatable this is, the more likely it is to be carried out rigorously and consistently across the board. That is the only way to build institutional knowledge and a rich database of experience

Everyone knows how important it is to carry out rigorous evaluation of significant items of expenditure. This is certainly true of marketing spend, but no less so for other investments that are expected to generate a financial return. The problem is that this is easier said than done, and the harder it is to evaluate expenditure, the less likely it is to be done.

In Compas, planning data and actual data are combined into a single environment, allowing marketers and others to see them side by side. If the planning process had gone so far as to put hard numbers against expected sales, revenues, costs etc., then it becomes easy to calculate simple variances of the actual results from the original plan. With certain investments, where the effects cumulate over time (such as new customer acquisition campaigns), the full return on investment may not be known until some years later. When evaluation is ad-hoc and spreadsheet-based, the best that can be hoped for is that a sample of campaigns get evaluated in detail once they are complete. Looking back at them years later to calculate overall ROI is unlikely more than sporadically. Even such ad-hoc and partial evaluation is likely to be quite time-consuming if done well, as it is likely to involve bringing together data (both plan and actual) from a number of systems into one spreadsheet to see the complete picture.

By contrast Compas takes data feeds from multiple internal and external systems and combines them with plan data to provide a 360-degree view of campaign performance. It can present multiple versions of the plan, such as the original budget view and a more recent updated forecast, and it can assemble complex reports overnight so that they are available for consideration first thing on a Monday morning. Contrast this with the situation where the marketing department spends two or three hours every week assembling the latest sales report.

Finally, by bringing together all relevant data, both planned and actual, into one database, Compas develops a resource of immense richness and value for subsequent data mining and analysis. It provides sophisticated slice and dice reporting tools of its own, and can also make its data available to other tools as it is stored in a standard Oracle database.