Marketers everywhere continuously grapple with demonstrating the impact of their work and driving business results. You can create value by providing meaningful data to improve marketing performance, all the while earning trust, respect, and attention from your CMO -- and accelerating your career.
Pressure for marketing executives to show the business return on their initiatives is at an all-time high. Meanwhile, the complexity of how customers make decisions and engage with brands across paid, owned, and earned media channels has increased exponentially in recent years.
The intersection of these two competing challenges puts CMOs and their teams in a unique position. It's one that can undermine their efforts if CMOs do not properly demonstrate their value; conversely, it's a position of great power if leveraged correctly. This power is not solely regulated to the marketing executive. Rather, CMOs are looking to their teams for measurement support. And that's where your opportunity lies!
Your ability to decipher metrics and realign marketing plans will position you as a valued strategist and leader within the organization. Before you begin to compile a new-era dashboard, consider these metrics that make executives take notice.
Establish a connection to driving revenue
Many marketing managers have a tendency to focus on marketing activities and communicate in jargon-filled terms. This obfuscates the information the C-suite is seeking -- specifically, how marketing drives revenue and enhances profitability.
Instead of recounting your various activities, focus on how those activities fuel the demand cycle for your brand.
Whether your team is using a customer engagement framework or another model, it is critical that marketing teams show their influence and impact on the customer's journey to a sale -- and hopefully repeat sales!
For example, astute B2B marketers demonstrate the connection between marketing activity, marketing qualified leads, sales-accepted leads, and orders. B2C marketers connect their actions to brand preference, purchase intent, and retail sales.
I know a marketing executive who was recently promoted to CMO on the recommendation of her revenue-producing peers in the sales organization. Her focus on aligning marketing activities and metrics with this those of sales not only benefited her company but also her career.
In my book, "The CMO Manifesto," I suggest using a from-to list as a way to communicate the changes you are trying to implement. In this instance, moving from measuring marketing activities to demonstrating revenue impact can reposition you from being a project leader to becoming a business leader.
Capture the voice of the customer
Proper analysis helps marketers distill the voice of the customer into actionable recommendations on product improvements and marketing program adjustments. This is where savvy marketers hold a tremendous amount of influence within their organizations.
The voice of the customer is louder and more prevalent than ever. Many marketing and communication departments are the hub for customer conversations. The more effectively insights from those conversations are shared throughout the organization and incorporated into business decision making, the more value marketers add to their companies.
These insights help predict the needs, wants, and desires of future customers. They allow marketers to identify symptoms of larger issues and problems to be addressed. For example, poor online reviews or negative Twitter chatter can point out simple product enhancements that will drive greater sales -- but only if the data is captured, shared, and results in change.
One tool for distilling the voice of the customer into a useful metric is a Net Promoter Score (NPS). By understanding the likelihood of a customer to recommend your brand and be your advocate, you can systematically measure an early indicator of future demand. And, like a thermometer used to measure body temperature, NPS data can indicate if there are underlying problems that warrant more diagnosis.
Marketers who move from antidotal customer stories to codified customer insights are champions for more responsive and profitable businesses.
Metrics in the converged media era
Historically, marketing departments have been organized by practice areas that created functional silos -- advertising, digital marketing, website management, public relations, and so on. While that might be easier on us as marketers, that is certainly not how customers interact with brands. They engage across all paid, owned, and earned channels of communication as they progress through their decision-making journeys. And they rely more on the opinions of other customers than they do on information from brands.
The power of converged media marketing comes from the interplay that paid activities have on the accelerating interaction with owned content and increasing the sharing of content and opinions across social networks. Simply measuring the isolated impact of an ad campaign on clicks, calls, or brand awareness is insufficient.
Brands will soon be measuring their social capital based on the size of their networks, the trust generated within those networks, and the reciprocity exchanged among the networks' members. In the immediate term, progressive brands move beyond siloed media metrics to converged media metrics, which are gauges of the impact of paid, owned, and earned activities across their domains. Examples include reporting on the number of Facebook shares driven by sponsored stories, the number of retweets of links to compelling website content, and the website visits resulting from YouTube videos promoted on LinkedIn.
This shift from measuring silo activities to measuring the converged media impact will help foster interaction and collaboration across the organization -- a goal of many CMOs.
Measurement goes beyond accountability. It provides signals you need to optimize your efforts and improve your effectiveness. It provides insight needed to be more agile in redeploying resources from lower-performing activities to higher-performing ones.
As a marketing change agent, there's no faster way to accelerate your career than to possess the data-driven knowledge and insights that come with sophisticated measurement. On your journey to success, remember to establish a connection between marketing and revenue generation, to capture the voice of the customer, and to measure the impact of converged media for improved collaboration.
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