Marketing accountability receives plenty of attention! There are numerous articles on the topic. If you do a search on Marketing accountability over 80,000 and counting items are served up. Many of them lamenting that this remains a major challenge despite investments in analytics and technology.

One of the key reasons this challenge persists is the lack of focus on the metrics that matter to CEOs and the business. Gartner claims CMOs are on the hook to prove their value that this is one of the primary reasons Marketing budgets end up on the chopping block. To address Marketing accountability it is imperative that marketers better quantify and measure the value of Marketing.

This emphasis on Marketing accountability looks like it is going to remain an above the line topic for the foreseeable future. If you are like many Marketing organizations, you’ve invested in web analytics tools, marketing campaign management systems, sales force automation, SEO tools, ABM platforms and probably more.   Maybe you’re asking yourself what more can I do?

Five accountability best practices for every Marketer for any time of the year.

Five best practices for every marketer for any time of the year!

Best Practice 1: Focus on business outcomes

When was the last time as a marketer you marketed to a bucket of revenue? The lack of quantifiable specific outcomes related to the number of customers to acquire, retain, grow in a market or segment hampers our accountability. If we don’t understand what needle to move then how can we prove we’re moving it? Engage your leadership team to set quantifiable specific outcomes related to the number of customers to acquire, retain, and grow in a market or segment. Resolve to create a direct line of sight between marketing activities and business results.

Marketing’s difficulty in linking its contribution to and impact on the business in a definitive way is due to how it tracks activities through to business outcomes. Part of the problem is in the Marketing planning process. So often the plan is an extensive word or power point document that culminates in a calendar and budget worksheet. The relationship between the activities on the calendar and the business becomes blurred. While the work associated with the planning effort is extremely important, the resulting document isn’t a useful day-to-day tool. Commit to improving the link between Marketing and business results. One option is to use a mapping methodology.

Best Practice 2:  Select outcome-based metrics

Too many Marketing programs lack a performance target and those that have one are typically volume-oriented output-based metrics. These metrics are often related to the website traffic, downloads, and site behavior or social media behavior. Most marketers remain challenged with defining metrics and measurement from lead-to-pipeline-to-revenue. It’s time to focus on metrics related to customer management, market outcomes and Marketing management; that is to move from output to outcome based metrics, such as pipeline contribution, retention rates, referral rates, product adoption, and share of wallet. Vow to include a performance target tied to an outcome-based metric for every program this year.

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Best Practice 3:  Hone your data, analytics, and measurement skills

You may have the web and marketing automation tools that provide instant insight into campaigns activity but they won’t take you far if you don’t have the data,analytical, and measurement skills. Many organizations have invested in information-centric technology to support segmentation, personalization, content management, customer touch points, and sales force automation. Analytics is the missing link that enables you to truly leverage these investments. Improving your data and analytics skills will make it possible to evaluate data and make better decisions. Over the years researchers from Forrester, Jupiter, Ovum and others along with our benchmark studies analyzed the impact of analytics on performance. Like us they found that marketers using analytics are able to focus their spending on the areas of greatest return and are able to move from blind acquisition to ìntelligent acquisition, retention and value.

Best Practice 4: Produce an actionable dashboard

The ability to easily collect, track, and report on Marketing performance can make the difference in a consistent and effective Marketing Performance Management (MPM) practice. Investment in this area is critical. Systems that allow access to critical data elements and automatically visualize the data for Marketing allow for faster and more frequent assessment of marketing accountability and effectiveness. When these systems are not in place or lacking, they can cause Marketing to focus on metrics that they can track vs. what they should. Tracking and measuring what you can is not the same as measuring and reporting on what matters.

The Marketing dashboard graphically represents marketing performance. A good dashboard is actionable. It enables the marketing organization to understand what is and isn’t working and if necessary to make appropriate course adjustments. Having a dashboard is one indicator of MPM maturity. Make the coming year the year you work from dashboard that enable the organization to see Marketing’s contribution to the business.

Best Practice 5: Operationalize Your Marketing

Success with the four resolutions requires marketing to take a more operational approach. You may know what you need to do but without the systems and processes associated with data collection, performance management and reporting achieving them may just be a pipe dream. Create a Marketing Operations function that ties together analysis with performance management, builds and manages the infrastructure necessary to maximize marketing effectiveness and optimize Marketing performance, and moves Marketing closer to operating as a Center of Excellence.

Need help implementing these resolutions?  This is our passion and expertise. We’d love to talk with you.

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