Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Transfer of Funs

My job just got a little less enjoyable this week.  At the beginning of every month, I plug in numbers from the previous month's promotions to find out how successful they were.  The system we have been using lets me measure success on different levels.  It allows me to pretty well see which of our 25 stores are participating in the promotions like they should, how much of the promoted items they sold, make sure they are using the promotions in the right way (i.e. not giving a retail customer the commercial customer's discount, etc.), and last but not least: determine whether or not we made money as a direct result of the promotion.  I'm a market research nerd; I loooove this stuff.  Writing these reports is the best part of the month for me because I get to see what I'm working on actually make a difference in the company's bottom line.  I also enjoy getting to learn which products do well as promotions and which ones don't.  Aside from the weird high I get off of it, I think it's very valuable information to the company. 
In light of that, I'm a little confused why we are changing the system we have.  The reason I was given was to "simplify" things for the countermen.  Instead of them overriding the price to the promotion price (simply choosing price field 10 instead of the normal retail price field), my boss wants to just set the 3 price fields that we use for our retail and commercial customers to the promotion price across the board.  This means that every time a "promoted" product is sold, it gets sold at the promotion price, whether or not the customer asked for or even knew the promotion existed.  In my book, that's pulling the rug out from under ourselves.  We spend almost $400 a month printing materials for our commercial promotion.  I spend a couple of days each month designing it and distributing it.  Why would we do all of that if we have no proof that it is worth it? 
What frustrates me most about marketing is that people entirely miss the forest for the trees.  If you can't measure what you're doing, then it's completely useless!!!!  For example, we are promoting de-icer this month.  With this new system in place, the "determining factor" of our success will be the answer to the question, "Did we show an increase in sales of this product this month?" Well it's going to look like our promotion did a hell of a job because I guarantee you we're going to sell a lot of de-icer this month - it's friggen cold outside!!  There are way too many other external variables such as seasons, competitors, economy, etc. to be able to say the promotion alone is what caused an increase in sales.  So how can we trust this "determining factor" to measure the success of any promoted product?
I am bummed because my favorite time of the month at work is disappearing.  I guess I will have to find fun elsewhere, like calculating savings on yellow page advertising.  *sigh*

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