Plan Like The Ant – Not Like The Grasshopper

Plan Like The Ant – Not Like The Grasshopper

03 Feb 2020 Marketing
The importance of long term planning is at the core of Aesop’s fable of The Ant and the Grasshopper. For marketers, the story is not a fable. Long-term ROI measurement and planning are critical to long-term marketing success.

In case a selection of Aesop’s fables wasn’t on your summer reading list, here’s a quick recap. The grasshopper played while the ant worked for the future. Enter winter and with it, a sudden scarcity of readily available food. The ant is sitting pretty since he planned and stockpiled. The grasshopper is left empty handed having lived in the moment.

Marketers can all benefit from adopting a page out of the ant’s playbook.

The ant knew that long-term survival required long-term planning and deferred rewards. His success came from understanding that investments made today lead to future returns.

Your marketing plans needs to similarly balance short and long-term objectives. ROI from marketing can pay out over two years or more. The ant teaches us the importance and benefits of making those long-term investments today.

Your objective is to generate a sale as soon as possible. However, only some marketing tactics - like trade and email - deliver an immediate sales impact. For many other media, like television and print, the marketing impact will start high and slowly erode over time as the memory of the marketing message fades in the consumer’s mind.

The elusive goal is to balance your short and long-term marketing investments. To get it right, you need a way to accurately measure the rate at which marketing impact declines for each tactic.

Most marketing optimization models measure ROI within the time period of the model. In practice, this short-term measurement of ROI represents only the week the marketing happened and several weeks shortly after. If done at all, long-term effects are estimated using a very non-scientific, “rule of thumb” factor.

To plan effectively, a rule of thumb approach to determine long-term ROI is not sufficient.

A better method is to simulate the behavior of thousands of virtual consumers. Using a set of virtual consumers lets you measure the impact over time exactly as it occurs for real consumers. This gives you an accurate measure of long-term ROI for every tactic in a marketing plan.

ThinkVine customers have all of the information they need to make long-term plans like the ant. They know when ROI is realized for each element of their marketing mix. This lets them allocate their marketing dollars to maximize sales with a full understanding of the long-term impact of their marketing.

Just as the ant has food during a harsh winter because he invested during summer, smart marketers generate sales when others don’t because they invested when times were good.

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