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As you know your car runs smoother and requires less energy to go faster and farther when the wheels are in perfect alignment, you perform better when your Marketing is in alignment with the business. Why? Because when Marketing is in alignment with the business, they are both more likely to travel in the same direction.

Alignment and accountability are the first steps every aspiring Marketing organization must take to improve its performance management and measurement (MPM). The Deloitte CMO study echoes our MPM benchmark studies conducted since 2001, demonstrating and communicating the impact of Marketing on and to the business remains the number one challenge.  Marketing’s Alignment and accountability are inextricably linked. They are the primary ingredients for addressing this challenge. They form the cornerstones for transforming Marketing into a center of excellence. Without alignment, it’s impossible to quantify Marketing’s value to the business, and to select the right metrics – metrics that measure whether you are doing the right things to generate value for the organization.

Let’s Be Sure We’re In Sync on Alignment

Just as your car can become undriveable if your alignment is too far out of whack, the most sophisticated data collection and analysis can be completely undermined by the lack of proper alignment. Best-in-class Marketing organizations create a direct line of sight between their Marketing investments, activities and the business outcomes. Alignment enables Marketing to clarify the strategic intent of all the investments it makes, and to measure and communicate the degree to which Marketing delivers on its commitments.

First, let’s make sure we’re aligned on what alignment means.

Defining Alignment

You perform better when your Marketing is in alignment with the business.

Finding the right path to proper alignment can seem pretty confusing at first. Marketing groups often take a bottom-up approach to planning and focus on developing marketing programs that usually include some combination of what’s always been done and what they know best. Programs may not seem tightly connected to the business. The metrics typically used at the program level do not always demonstrate the connection between the broader business initiatives. Consequently, quantifying Marketing’s contribution to the business is difficult; the picture is hazy. This jeopardizes continued investments in Marketing and can obscure the steps Marketing should, and shouldn’t, be taking.

An outcome-based approach to alignment flips this problem on its head, creating a top-down perspective, starting with the business’ success factors and working “down the ladder” to reveal what Marketing can do to support the business. This means the Marketing key performance indicators (KPIs) will be more related to what the business is trying to accomplish, such as product adoption rate, customer lifetime value, than KPIs around Marketing activities, such as social engagement.

This approach to alignment provides greater clarity for how Marketing is expected to make a difference and provides you with that essential roadmap.

How do you know if Marketing is aligned to the business? Nearly two decades of research has provided insight into what sets Marketing organizations who’ve achieved alignment apart from their peers. Check to see how your organization stacks up.

The Chain that Connects Alignment with Accountability

Metrics more about doing things right, efficiency, typically signal an alignment alert. If that’s your situation, give some thought as to how you will address improving alignment. There are many ways to address alignment. The most important consideration is to choose a method that will visually convey the connection and value between the work of Marketing and business results. Select an alignment approach that helps you build a chain of measures and metrics between your work and your contribution to the business. It is this chain that enables you to connect alignment with accountability.

By connecting alignment and accountability, you can focus on measuring and managing Marketing’s performance in a way that truly demonstrates Marketing’s ability to generate value and its contribution to the organization.

Value-Impact Metrics Chains visually connect the work of Marketing to results. Source: VisionEdge Marketing. Derived from the patented Accelance(r) methodology.

Let’s talk about how to craft your metrics chains.

Is It Time For a Tune-Up?

Remember, just like a car – when Marketing is aligned to business it too will run smoother and take less energy. The following checklist provides five clues as to where to start if you need to improve alignment.

  1. Create a direct line of sight between investments (money and people), objectives, program strategy and tactics.
  2. Use your Marketing plan as an alignment tool.
  3. Prioritize Marketing projects based on their value and impact to broader organizational outcomes; not on what has the most political capital, is easiest to do, or the furthest behind schedule.
  4. Clarify how each member of the Marketing team directly affects achieving the business outcomes.
  5. Focus your measures and metrics on doing the right things vs. doing things right.

Important instruments need calibration every now and then to maintain accuracy. You take your vehicle in for tune-up to ensure top performance. It’s the same with Marketing. In both cases, you’re going to want to enlist the help of an expert to make sure everything gets examined thoroughly. Give us a call when you’re ready to have our Marketing mechanics take a look at your alignment.

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