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Alignment by Asking, “Why?”

How do Marketing teams create value? By finding, keeping, and growing the value of customers. In fact, research finds that best-in-class (BIC) marketers who can demonstrate and measure their impact, value and contribution either join the C-Suite, or gain them as their champion. The research goes on to show that this elite group of value creators do four things consistently better and differently to achieve business results and C-suite support: alignment, accountability, assessment, analytics and activation. They are relentless in their pursuit of marketing excellence and regularly assess and benchmark their capabilities.

Becoming a BIC marketer on the performance management front, achieving marketing excellence, and serving as a value creator takes aspiration, perspiration, and commitment. But isn’t your credibility in the organization, your ability to influence “the big decisions,” and less resistance to securing the needed resources — worth it?

Improve and prove the value of your marketing initiatives with the countless practical resources in this learning center. To access many of these resources, you will need to join and use your log in.

Marketing Alignment

The best-in-class (BIC) marketers who repeatedly measure their impact and value earn the C-suite as their champion. How do these elite marketers do it?

Research shows they do several things differently—and consistently better—to achieve greater business results and C-suite support. The first of these is alignment.

Alignment means that marketers know which business outcomes matter to their C-suite. They align Marketing to those outcomes.

Why Is Alignment a Critical Marketing Differentiator?

Having a clear line of sight between Marketing initiatives and the business enables marketers to make strategic and tactical decisions about customers, channels, touch points, content investments. Alignment points the way to accountability and analytics.

With alignment you know what data you will need, what analytics to apply, and what metrics to populate your dashboard.

Without alignment between Marketing and the business, it’s impossible to quantify Marketing’s value to the business or select accurate, effective metrics. The most sophisticated data collection and analysis can be completely undermined by the lack of proper alignment.

Create Marketing Alignment with Direct-Line-of-Sight

BIC Marketing organizations create a direct line-of-sight between their marketing investments and activities and the business outcomes. As marketing consultant Simon Sinek introduced in his concept of “The Golden Circle,” they begin by looking at business outcomes to answer the question “Why?” They take an outcome-based approach to alignment to reveal what Marketing can do to support the business, not just itself.

What business outcomes do you need to impact? Use your login to check out some of our additional resources below to learn how to improve your marketing alignment. Give us a call to discuss your alignment and schedule a Marketing Plan Review.

Marketing Alignment & Agility Case Studies

  • This company realized that before it repositioned itself and changed its sales collateral, presentations and web site it needed to develop a solid strategy based on objectivity and market research. VisionEdge Marketing helped to arm it with a positioning platform that precisely and strategically describes the company in a compelling manner that differentiates the firm from other VCs.
  • When the market changes a shift in business strategy may be required. This was the case for Amicus, a company that helps companies in the financial services industry improve their business processes. This case study reviews how competitive analysis, primary research, and a strategic positioning platform can provide the ingredients for changing business strategy. It certainly worked for Amicus, resulting in the company closing large deals far more quickly than previously possible.
  • This case study examines how VisionEdge Marketing used its market analysis methodology for a successful private software company to identify new commercial opportunities for its new product family. A key goal of the assignment was to help the CEO of Infoglide Software inform the Board of Directors on where the company should invest next and the overall market potential of the company.
  • This case study illustrates how VCON, a company that develops and manufacturers collaborative communication solutions, worked with VisionEdge Marketing to establish a key set of metrics that crossed markets and regions and served as the foundation for a marketing plan and budget the management team could evaluate based on business outcomes. Many companies are looking for business metrics and indicators they can use in marketing to assess not only their progress but also their strategic contribution. While closed-loop marketing metrics have their place in driving short term sales increments, companies also need strategic metrics that focus on long-term market position and out performing the competition. If you are looking for metrics that show management how economic value and shareholder value are directly related to customer value, then this case study may be a good place to begin.
  • This case study recaps how a model developed by VisionEdge Marketing helped BOXX Technologies better estimate their total available market; align sales and marketing processes for greater effectiveness; and develop an action plan to increase market share and incremental revenue. NOTE: Only registered users may download case studies. To login or register for an account, please click the login link at the top of the page.
  • This case study illustrates how BAX Global, Inc., a $2.4 billion supply chain management and transportation solutions company, utilized VisionEdge Marketing's Marketing Plan Assessment Program™ (MPAP) and its Metrics First Lab™ to identify and improve their metrics to better evaluate marketing's contribution.
  • This case study illustrates how Zebra Technologies, a leading global provider of rugged and reliable specialty printing solutions, used by more than 90 percent of Fortune 500 and global 200 companies, secured VisionEdge Marketing's MetStrat™ Service to align the marketing organization to business objectives, define metrics targets, create a dashboard, and socialize these within the company to more effectively measure ROI.
  • This case study explains how VisionEdge Marketing's worked with ClearCube, a leader in PC Blade Solutions, to redefine their pipeline to make sales forecasts more reliable and accurate and improve alignment between marketing and sales. The case study discusses the process used over a three month period to create and validate the pipeline stages and to integrate the process with Salesforce.com.
  • This case study reveals how a financial services organization used the VisionEdge Marketing Accelance® process to establish measurable objectives and budget to link marketing more directly to the business. This business invests millions of dollars to market its products. A key question is whether the organization is optimally allocating these funds. Learn how this team gained the ability to establish and measure results against performance targets within their payback parameters and how for the first time they can measure their contribution in terms that are meaningful to their executive team.
  • This case study explains how the Elsevier Science and Technology product marketing organization used the VisionEdge Marketing process and training to professionalize their team and adopt a performance management approach. A key question for the team was how to measure their impact on the business. Learn how this team used a mapping process to ensure alignment between product marketing and the business and to identify metrics to monitor and measure performance and how the process has transformed the team into a strategic partner and best practice center.
  • This case explains how VisionEdge Marketing helped Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV), a low-cost airline based in Dallas, Texas and the largest airline in the United States and the world (based on the number of passengers carried per year, as of December 31, 2007), develop a measureable customer-centric plan and a repeatable planning process. Many a time, the sales and marketing organization has a general idea of what they need to do to accomplish various goals, but without a focused effort or a well-articulated roadmap to follow they are unable to define what is working and what specifically needs to be done. This case is an example of how a measurable customer-centric integrated sales and marketing team can improve marketing through defining measurable objectives, organizing information better, defining key customer-centric metrics for measuring marketing, and identifying missing pieces of information needed to make better decisions.
  • This case study provides insight into how TÜV SÜD America Inc., a globally recognized testing, inspection, and certification organization, leveraged VisionEdge Marketing's "Six Steps to Creating a Customer-Centric Measurable Marketing Plan" to provide a clear roadmap for how Marketing is working with Sales to meet operational and sales goals.
  • Microsoft presented CONQUEST Technology Services with an opportunity to be a “go-to” partner in their region for their new Microsoft Unified Communications (UC) solution. This case study discusses how CONQUEST used VisionEdge Marketing's Outcome-Based Mapping methodology to produce a customer-centric measurable marketing plan with quantifiable business results to become Microsoft's "go-to" partner in their region.
  • Transforming from Product-Centric to Customer-Centric with a Focus on Accountability. This case study gives insight on how Winton Global Homes used our Outcome Based Mapping methodology to produce a customer-centric measurable marketing plan.
  • Kennametal is a world leader in the metalworking and wear solutions industry, serving customers in 60 countries. According to Kennametal’s VP and CMO, the “entire leadership team believes marketing is a critical driver for growth, which puts the burden of proof on the team to demonstrate that marketing is more than an exceptional service provider and producer.” As a result, the marketing team needed the ability to connect the impact of their marketing initiatives to business results. Like many marketing organizations, there were an extensive number of metrics in place that showed that Marketing was busy; what wasn’t clear was whether the team was working on the right things. In this Case Study, learn how the Kennametal team employed VEM’s expertise and patent-pending Accelance® software to create an actionable marketing blueprint that provided clear alignment between Marketing and the business, defined customer-centric outcome-based metrics, and a roadmap for further operational development.
  • Safe Systems is a national leader in providing IT solutions exclusively to financial institutions. Like many businesses, Safe Systems was faced with the challenge of shifting its business philosophy from a primarily small business opportunistic approach to a more strategic mid-sized company. The company created a vision and a plan for growth and realized the critical role marketing plays in the implementation of this growth plan. Discover how Safe Systems utilized VEM's Accelance® Methodology and Application to align marketing to the business and develop metrics to accurately measure marketing's impact and demonstrate marketing's value.

Marketing Alignment & Agility White Papers

  • Organizations provide Marketing with funds to invest on their behalf in activities that provide business benefits—specifically, growing market share and increasing customer lifetime value and customer/brand equity. Organizations expect Marketing to invest these funds in developing and executing strategies that will result in consideration and preference for their products and services, and do so better, faster and less expensively than if the organization invested the money elsewhere. To be effective, Marketing needs to address two areas: alignment and accountability. This paper offers methodologies and steps for improvement in these areas.
  • The leadership team's expectations and pressure on Marketing continues to rise. More and more the C-Suite wants to know how your Marketing is impacting the business. Numerous studies, both ours and those from other organizations, suggest that Best-in-Class marketers are significantly better in their ability to align marketing with business outcomes and clearly convey their impact and contribution to the organization. Addressing marketing alignment and accountability requires 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. This paper details the methodologies and steps for achieving proper alignment, and accountability, and for using data, analytics and reporting to improve strategic decisions, performance, and marketing measurement.
  • Marketing organizations demonstrate value, make an impact, wisely use company resources, and know as much as possible about their customers by measuring the impact of the three things marketers do: find, keep and grow the value of customers. When “finding” new customers, marketers often use language based on pipeline stages built from the selling as opposed to the buying process to configure the pipeline and measure their customer acquisition effectiveness. Today’s customer-driven environment outdates this traditional approach and dictates more focus on customer behavior. This white paper recommends six essential C’s marketers must understand to properly engineer a customer-centric buying pipeline and outlines how to use it to better accelerate revenue and align marketing and sales.
  • The challenge of connecting Marketing strategy and objectives to campaigns, programs, and tactics will only become increasingly important as Marketing budgets grow and additional resources are spent on Martech solutions. Use this eBook, produced in partnership with Hive9, as your road map to Marketing effectiveness—a guide to putting into place the measurement and processes needed to accomplish this difficult, but not insurmountable task.
  • Every organization seeks growth. It is a common business objective, however, less than 20% of organizations are able to achieve their growth objectives. Growth relies on becoming more competitive and getting closer to the customer; activities in which marketing plays a huge role. To improve the rate of success, organizations are increasingly implementing an analytics Centers of Excellence (CoE.) as a way to efficiently and effectively make strategic and tactical market, customer, and product decisions. This paper examines the value of an analytics CoE and outlines the components you need to implement an analytics CoE in your organization.
  • Many folks don’t have any understanding of what goes into successful marketing or recognize all the gears that need to be turning in unison to get the desired marketing results for their organization. These include the proper use of data and analytics related to workflow processes and systems, alignment, planning, measurement, and reporting. These are the components, or the gears, of Marketing Operations. Marketing operations is a key driver for ensuring marketing operates as a Center of Excellence. This paper discusses the role of Marketing Operations and explores how this function can transform Marketing into a center of excellence.
  • The phrase Marketing Technology is being increasingly discussed in today’s business environment, but there are a number of people who may not know exactly what that phrase means. If you want to optimize the performance of your Marketing Department and become more efficient and successful, your Marketers must learn how to properly utilize the marketing technology tools. This White Paper, will examine the four broad categories that these tools fall under, why they are necessary, and the process for implementing them in your Marketing Department.
  • Strategy, Planning and Investment Management are the focus of this first installation of the three-part series dedicated to helping you excel at Marketing Performance Management. This first installment to a three-part ebook provides guidance for how to win corporate buy-in, use planning to improve performance, create internal systems of record, and shift your budgeting from a cost-accounting approach to a business outcome-based approach. This series is must-read for Marketing leaders committed to building a high performing team that drives business results.
  • Delivering maximum impact from your Marketing takes enablement and execution. This second installment to a three-part ebook explore how to position your marketing team to achieve your corporate outcomes, implement effective team processes, maintain accuracy and flexibility with your budget, and select and integrate smart technologies that will help you achieve your goals. If you’re focused on building a high performing team that drives business results this series is valuable addition to your library.
  • A Center of Excellence is defined as a team or entity that provides leadership, fosters best practices, facilitates research, and enhances the skills needed for a focused area. In many companies, Marketing Leadership Councils (MLC) play an essential role in transforming the marketing organization into a Center of Excellence. This White Paper is designed to assist CMOs and other key members of the leadership team establish and leverage an MLC as a vehicle to ramp marketing effectiveness and transformation.
  • Lead your marketing team, and the organization as a whole, to achieve agility and sustainability while proving the value of marketing. Create a reputation for innovation in customer experience and solutions. Read this white paper, including the case study, to learn proven practices for implementing a MCoE, from inception to results optimization.

Marketing Alignment & Agility Recordings

Marketing Alignment & Agility Presentations

  • Sales and Marketing are responsible for managing a predictable, reliable demand generation pipeline that produces higher value opportunities and maximizes revenue. The traditional approach to the pipeline-Awareness, Interest, Demand, Action or the more modified version of the pipeline-Awareness, Interest, Consideration, Purchase-is outdated. This session takes participants through the process of creating an opportunity pipeline based on the customer’s buying journey.
  • "Creating a Customer-Focused Marketing Plan" - TMCA Annual Conference & Expo | Jacksonville, FL | June 1-3, 2008 As we discussed in the program, a marketing plan helps business and marketing professionals in companies of all types and sizes create a shared, focused strategy that is designed to improve marketing and sales effectiveness. The session introduced key marketing and plan concepts, and provided a framework for developing a customer-centric marketing plan. The program was designed to provide a creative, complete, and concise approach needed to develop a strategically based, customer-centric, measurable marketing plan. Key Topics Covered included: How to develop a customer-centric marketing plan The role of the marketing department in such a customer-centric environment The 10 questions every marketing plan should answer Dragons and Quests: analyzing your situation Using the M.O.S.T approach to create a plan Mission, metrics, outcomes, objectives, strategies, and tactics
  • eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit entitled “Four Processes to Optimize Marketing Effectiveness.” In this presentation, Laura discussed the following topics: - ROMI Evolution - Introduce the concept and the characteristics of a performance-driven organization - Explore four processes to improve marketing effectiveness - Identify five best practices to improve marketing alignment and accountability
  • Marketers are increasingly being held responsible for growth and revenue. Today, data analytics provide the foundation for finding, keeping, and growing the value of customers - your growth engine. Join this webinar to learn about the skills and analysis needed to intelligently understand your customers, allowing you to reach them with the right content, at the right time, and in the right channel.
  • In this presentation, we teamed up with Allocadia, Origami Logic, Response Capture and revealed how to overcome the 4 key MPM challenges: 1. Justifying your Marketing investment plan and winning C-suite support 2. Equipping your team for execution success 3. Benchmarking best practices for the best results 4. Graduating from measuring tactical results to measuring true Marketing value.
  • According to IDC, the average sales cost of generating revenue is at an all time high of 15-20%, an opportunity spends on average 270 days in the pipeline, and win rates are less than 50%. Improving sales and marketing alignment can significantly improve sales effectiveness. The relationship between Marketing and Sales is the fundamental relationship that lies at the heart of how it attracts customers. The tighter the coordination and cooperation between these two organizations the better your company’s customer acquisition and retention, new product development, and brand strength. The more effective and aligned the two functions are the lower the selling costs, the fewer the under-performers, the higher win rates and the greater the customer share-of-wallet. Jim Benard, Vice President Sales Operations for Rackable Systems, VisionEdge Marketing and the Business Marketing Institute combined their views and recommendations on how to better align marketing and sales to create a powerful revenue generating team. The program offered 10 Tell Tale Signs the Relationship is Broken, identified Four Key Benefits to Using a Customer Centric Model to Drive Alignment, shared insights into Best Practices For Creating Alignment, outlined Five Attributes of Successful Alignment Initiatives and Elements You Need to Create Alignment and provided A 12 Step Alignment Checklist.
  • Content marketing aims to create and curate relevant and valuable content that will change, enhance and drive customer behavior. But to be effective, you have to focus on the customer buying process. This presentation help you identify behavioral commitments; map the process and sync content, channels and touchpoints accordingly; and create relevant metrics to prove marketing’s contribution.
  • Laura discusses the steps required to become a more customer-centric organization, the benefits of doing so, and how using the customer buying journey can help accelerate revenue and align Sales and Marketing.
  • As a marketer you work hard. Perhaps you feel your efforts go unsung. Accountability, alignment and process are critical to being able to improve and prove the value of your marketing. This presentation explains the process for selecting metrics that show how marketing impacts the business and facilitates strategic decisions, recommends the steps you can follow to transform from being internally focused to a more strategic, customer-centric, data-driven culture, and explains how process creates stronger alignment between sales and marketing.
  • This presentation covered the following topics: - Better align your marketing with the business and clarify the business' expectations. - Use these expectations to craft quantifiable measurable marketing objectives. - Establish metrics that demonstrate marketing effectiveness, efficiency, and value. - Frame your metrics and reporting to demonstrate how marketing is contributing to the business.
  • In this presentation, Laura discussed the following topics: - Understand the role of the marketing department in a customer-centric environment (needs a bullet) - Explain the process for developing a customer-centric marketing plan - Review questions every marketing plan should answer - Dragons and quests: analyzing your situation - Use the M.O.S.T. approach to create a plan: Mission and Metrics, Outcomes and Objectives, Strategies, and Tactics
  • Those elite marketers (about 1 in 5 marketers) that earn a 90 or greater from the C-Suite for their ability to prove their value, impact and contribution do a number of things better and differently than their peers. Among their attributes is their ability to exercise greater business acumen. This session shares what these marketers do to achieve business acumen and how they use it to increase their credibility, influence and relevance.

Marketing Alignment & Agility Articles

  • It's always difficult for marketing to find quality leads. When marketing is not up to par, the lead-to-conversion ratio declines. These are critical metrics that must be monitored, measured, and managed. Read this article to find out how you can use a customer-buying pipeline to increase your quality leads and increase your lead-to-conversion ratio.
  • All of us, at one time or another, are confronted with a low-cost or low-price competitor, the solution isn't to lower your prices and engage in a price war, because the result is lowered profitability for everyone involved.
  • Various studies over the years have examined the relationship between content relevancy and behavior. Almost everyone would agree with the statement that "content must be relevant." So, what is the best way to measure relevancy? There are a number of best-practice approaches for measuring relevancy, many of them are complex and require modeling. This article outlines three steps any marketer can use to link interaction (behavior) with content and a method for measuring relevancy.
  • Just as 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. This article explores how best-in-class marketers use alignment and accountability to improve performance management and measurement.
  • Many companies are focused on intensifying and amplifying their message by producing more content and leveraging more channels. But this approach doesn’t necessarily translate into better marketing. Today’s marketer must understand the mental process that their potential customer goes through in solving their problem and making a purchasing decision. By fully mapping and understanding the customer buying process, marketers can effectively produce business results. This article provides specific steps for mapping the customer buying journey and lifestyle and how to match content and channels to the buying journey.
  • None of us would agree to play a card game with cards missing from the deck. We’d know that the odds of winning would be significantly diminished. Today’s marketers are talking enthusiastically about how to make websites, SEO, social, email campaigns, mobile, etc. better. What we also need is serious conversation about how to be smarter. This is the purview of analytics – enabling us to be smarter. Analytics is an essential card, actually an ace, in every marketer’s deck. With analytics we can make fact-based decisions and improve performance- we can be smarter. As the importance of analytics gains momentum, marketers with analytical acumen will be great demand. This article outlines capabilities and skills marketers should add to build analytics strength and ensure there’s always an ace in your hand.
  • To survive and thrive, CMOs need to see themselves as champions of growth who can anticipate customers, develop their organizations’ Marketing capabilities, and measure Marketing’s impact on the business in terms that matter to their CEOs, CFOs, and leadership teams.
  • A compelling, meaningful and relevant value proposition enables you to increase the quantity and quality of prospective opportunities, gain market share in your targeted segments, and charge a premium price. Conversely, poor positioning contributes to long sales cycles, low close rates, customer confusion, channel indifference, and sales organization discord. It's nearly impossible to survive or thrive without a unique, pertinent value proposition. So, no wonder over 80% of the companies who participated in a recent survey said that their teams needed to adjust or re-think their company's positioning strategy.
  • A compelling, meaningful and relevant value proposition enables you to increase the quantity and quality of prospective opportunities, gain market share in your targeted segments, and charge a premium price. Conversely, poor positioning contributes to long sales cycles, low close rates, customer confusion, channel indifference, and sales organization discord. It’s nearly impossible to survive or thrive without a unique, pertinent value proposition. So, no wonder over 80% of the companies who participated in a recent survey said that their teams needed to adjust or re-think their company’s positioning strategy.
  • Finance departments often criticize marketing’s inability to present a tangible ROI and use financial measures.Marketing and finance both have well-developed ideas about what value is and how it should be measured. Unfortunately, their ideas are very different.
  • During the last weekend of February, Laura had the honor of serving as a speaker at the 6th Annual Intelligent Content Conference in California. The event was sold-out, but surprisingly, while she was there, she did not run into a single CMO, Marketing VP, or Marketing Director. The people she did have the pleasure of meeting had titles such as content managers, technical writers, content operations managers, and several more. Managing marketing content is a vital part of a marketer’s job, so why were the marketing executives missing?
  • Marketing shares finding new profitable customers with the sales organization. To attract new customer the sales and delivery teams must be able to articulate the business benefits. These groups often rely on marketing to create the tools to support the sales process.These sales enablement tools help the sales organization improve their effectiveness at generating revenue and earnings by giving salespeople the right information at the right time to increase their rate of success. One tool more and more organizations are leveraging is buyer personas. In this article you will discover why organization are using buyer personas, why they are creating them and why it benefits them.
  • The concept of Marketing serving as a Center of Excellence (CoE) within an organization is beginning to see traction. Marketing organizations must operate as CoEs to eliminate the inefficiencies of being a siloed organization. Recently, the American Marketing Associate declared that “to keep up with marketing’s continuous evolution, companies could get a jump on their competitors by creating a “center of excellence.” We concur. Marketing CoEs are more than an exercise, they positively impact the bottom line, which is why, back in 2012, we began offering practical advice on how to create a Marketing CoE. Learn How to Drive Repeatable and Predictable Marketing Performance.
  • Effective leaders recognize that change is part of continuous improvement. Change is often essential for your organization’s vitality, prosperity and growth. You know that to be more customer-centric, more competitive, and more effective you need to update your processes, send your team to training, and implement new systems and tools. You are also aware that sometimes you need to add personnel to support the operationalization. At the same time, you recognize your employees find change unsettling. Why? One reason is that change is hard. It can be grueling. However, there are actions you can take to make change manageable and palatable.
  • Firms that put customers at the center of their business will outgrow those who serve stockholders.
  • By monitoring experience, convenience, and differentiation, you will start to craft a much more comprehensive view of your impact on the customer's buying behavior and thus the effectiveness of your marketing programs. The closer you can link customer behavior to business outcomes, the better.
  • More and more of the buying process is occurring without any direct human-to-human interaction. Customers are self-educating themselves about products and services long before engaging with your company. Hence the role of content marketing – a means to communicate with your customers and prospects without selling. Therefore, you need to align your marketing to the new way customers are buying and take the customer buying process into consideration when creating your content. This article takes you through the steps you need to understand what touches and channels your customers prefer along each point in their buying journey.
  • More and more of the buying process is occurring without any direct human-to-human interaction. Customers are self-educating themselves about products and services long before engaging with your company. Hence the role of content marketing – a means to communicate with your customers and prospects without selling. Therefore, you need to align your marketing to the new way customers are buying and take the customer buying process into consideration when creating your content. This article takes you through the mapping the buyer journey.
  • More and more of the buying process is occurring without any direct human-to-human interaction. Customers are self-educating themselves about products and services long before engaging with your company. Hence the role of content marketing – a means to communicate with your customers and prospects without selling. Therefore, you need to align your marketing to the new way customers are buying and take the customer buying process into consideration when creating your content. This article takes you through the steps you need to understand what touches and channels your customers prefer along each point in their buying journey.
  • A good marketing plan is in essence the "Cliff Notes" version of the company story explaining current status, how it got there, and what if anything needs to be addressed and if so, by whom, how, with what and when. A good marketing plan has all the elements of a well-told story.
  • Driving revenue for the business takes Marketing working the numbers, then tracking and reporting on the performance to the numbers. This articles explains how to take a customer-centric view rather than an internally oriented revenue-centric view and “doing the math” to facilitate creating a marketing organization that is relevant, can measure its value, and more importantly affect revenue.
  • Many marketing organizations are playing a strategic role in helping to transform their companies from being operations- or product-centric to becoming more customer-centric. To have an impact on acquisition, retention, and growth, marketers are articulating, developing, and implementing customer-centric marketing strategies that have an impact on the customer buying journey and experience.
  • Finding, keeping and growing the value of customers is the job of marketing. The emphasis on demand generation among marketers these days often shines the light on finding customers. Yet the keeping and growing are just as essential. Having a clear understanding of what business needle you expect customer loyalty to move is critical. Measuring the movement of the business needle will indicate you whether or not your initiatives are working. Therefore, if you plan on implementing a customer loyalty initiative, this article recommends five steps to ensure your customer loyalty efforts connect to business results.
  • Customers are more fickle and relationships are more brittle than ever. Even the world's largest companies don't have as many resources as they need to reach all markets and drive ever increasing quarterly revenue. That makes it imperative to implement and maintain marketing initiatives to track and communicate the right dimensions, attributes, and metrics to reduce customer relationship brittleness and improve customer satisfaction.
  • Marketing jointly and equally shares the responsibility for generating revenue with our very important partners in the sales organization. That being said, I must confess I am confused by the recent emphasis on Marketing being focused on revenue.
  • A recent study by Forrester and Harvard Business Review found that ONLY 8 percent of customers feel GREAT about their experience despite the fact that 80 percent of businesses state they offer a GREAT customer experience. So, unless you work in one of the rare organizations with customers who rate their experience as great, improving customer experience truly is an opportunity to increase your competitive advantage. This article identifies the best practices value creators employ in their quest to understand the customer experience as a means of achieving market leadership.
  • Performance management is about understanding where money is being spent, for what purpose, and how these activities are affecting the business. While many parts of an organization are already deploying performance management practices, marketing remains one of the final frontiers for performance management. This article discusses the four key processes to optimize your marketing organization's performance and why it's important.
  • Many marketers prefer to do as much internally as possible and before leveraging external experts. We begin to see some organizations considering change. Why? Because the value of speed is a big concern for many organizations and we are talking about strategic speed not operational speed. Does that really matter? Yes it really does. Studies show that increasing your strategic speed will increase your sales and higher operating profits. In this article you will learn how to foster strategic speed through two key marketing areas: Alignment and Analytics.
  • A small group of marketers have cracked the code for demonstrating their value, impact and contribution to the C-Suite. These marketers focus alignment and accountability in their pursuit to serve as value creators. This paper discusses how they address the challenges of collecting, managing and analysing data, using data to link marketing activity to business outcomes and selecting the right metrics.
  • We know from our Marketing Performance research over the past 15 years, that Marketers recognized and rewarded for excelling at contributing to, and impacting, the business, have a best-in-class planning process.
  • Best-in-Class marketers focus on delivering the “RITE” content (Relevant, Informative, Timely, and Entertaining) in the right channel. An essential part of the RITE equation is to match your marketing content with the customer buying journey and lifecycle. This means your first step is to map your customer’s buying journey, move from profiles to personas, and clearly understand your customer’s lifecycle. Read this article to learn more about how to tackle this effort.
  • The more you understand your customer’s journey the better you can address opportunities to improve key business results such as product/service adoption, and loyalty. What tools you use to create your visual map isn’t as important as how you create your map. This article outlines the five primary steps for creating your customer journey map.
  • How do you know where to aim and how far? One valuable approach is to use benchmarks. A benchmark, that is a measure, serves as a standard or point of reference against which things may be compared or assessed. If the benchmark is the “what”, benchmarking is the “how.”
  • Customers are at the heart of every business, and that concept was reinforced over this past Valentine’s Day. While on a getaway over the holiday weekend, a hotel in San Antonio provided the best customer experience, almost guaranteeing that visitors will become repeat guests. With that in mind, now is the perfect time to share insight on one of the tools we think best enables organizations to provide this type of excellent customer experience—the customer experience map.
  • As business leaders, you must be able to react quickly and decisively to rapidly changing customer demands and competitive conditions. Agility requires proactive planning, business intelligence, alignment and collaboration among all the key functions to make the right decisions and turn opportunities into a competitive advantage.
  • As a CEO, you know that a good strategy that is well executed has the ability to impact a market, competitive position or business model. Yet many companies lack the processes and leadership needed to ensure a strategy achieves the desired results. Failure is expensive and wastes precious resources, so what causes execution to go wrong?
  • After years of focusing on controlling costs, growth has moved to the top of the priority list for many companies and is now driving organizational transformations. While 93% of the 900 senior executives surveyed by KPMG say that their companies are “at some stage of undergoing or preparing to undergo a transformation,” few succeed. Organizational complexity is considered the biggest barrier to transformation success.
  • Because of explosive increase in the data available, the real challenge for marketers is to transform marketing data from a collection of charts and graphs into something much more engaging and appealing. This work requires marketers and data scientists to tease out the story hidden within the data to help facilitate decisions. Creating an engaging story is not an easy task. Many marketers which whom we have worked with have asked us for ideas to help them develop this skill. This article outlines 5 tips to do just that.
  • With scenario analysis we focus on possible different future outcomes to design a strategy that is flexible enough to accommodate whatever outcome occurs. This article explores how to use scenarios as a creative way to segment the market. This is what is known as scenario marketing. The article suggests that different customer sets face different scenarios which trigger their response. By understanding the various scenarios different customers face marketers can take a unique marketing approach to each scenario. The article illustrates the concept and provides ten steps for creating scenarios for the purpose of segmentation.
  • Sales enablement is a process that focuses on empowering salespeople to perform their job more effectively. Because the sales organization relies on the marketing organization to create the tools that support both the sales enablement process and strategy, it is important that Marketing and Sales collaborate with each when creating, distributing, and utilizing tools. One such tool is the playbook which characterizes the roles and responsibilities for each member of the selling organization, lays out clear objectives for each member of the team to support the business plan, targets setting and performance measurement, and provides a common framework and approach for most effectively developing and closing opportunities. This article discusses both the importance of having a playbook and specific steps involved in making it a valuable. sales enablement tool.
  • Some of the most recent research conducted by CSO Insights and IDC suggests that marketing and sales alignment is more important than ever. The studies revealed these five worrisome tidbits: Today's sales cycles are 25% long than they were a year ago. In the B-B world, the sales process often involves seven decision makers from the prospective customers' side. Only about 43% of sales reps made their quota in 2006. Sales people can spend up to 40% of their time each week developing materials to support their sales efforts; this is approximately 2 days per week. Less than 25% of CMOs and 14% of Senior Sales Executives are satisfied with their ability to optimize sales efficiency and effectiveness. Marketing and Sales are really two sides of the same coin. They are both responsible for generating revenue for the company. Revenue is a result of relatively simple equation: Opportunities in the pipeline multiplied by the average deal size multiplied by the win rate and then this sum divided by the sales cycle time. This sum multiplied by all the sellers in your organization determines your revenue. Even a small increase in each of these can make a huge difference. The better marketing and sales are aligned, the more likely each of these components can be improved thereby improving the company's revenue.
  • It is essential that marketers court, engage, and build a relationship with customers to gain loyalty. When your marketing genuinely employs empathy you are more likely to engage the target audience with your content, your message, and your story. This article discusses how to take a customer-centric approach and use empathy to craft stories that will resonate with your customers and create loyalty.
  • Research suggests that nearly nine in 10 organizations “expect their CEO to lead the organization on a strategic growth trajectory.” Perhaps you are among this group who holds these expectations. Maybe you are among those to whom this expectation is applied. If you fall into the latter group, likely you also expect to be able to lead from a solid foundation.
  • Analytics-based insights derived from Marketing's data have become the lifeblood of both Marketing and the business. These data driven decisions are the critical component in improving Marketing's effectiveness as well as proving Marketing's value to the business.
  • Many organizations now have teams that produce reports bursting with numbers, charts, and graphs as if they were Model T automobiles – all in the same fashion, but with only the basic features. Often, these reports are referred to as dashboards. However, we, at VisionEdge Marketing, would like to be so bold as to say that you’re probably missing a few design capabilities when it comes to having an effective Marketing dashboard.
  • Three key performance categories from the world of sports are relevant to marketing: outcome, performance, and process. This article defines these three performance management categories and explores how to apply them to marketing. The article provides tips and examples for how to formulate performance statements.
  • Marketing cannot be successful unless they forge a viable partnership with Finance. Unfortunately, in too many organizations, a disconnect exists between these two departments, making it more difficult than it should be to gain approval for marketing budgets--without significant cuts. While it's tempting to point the finger at someone else or circumstances, the major reason for this disconnect is that marketers do not speak the language of Finance. This article recommends an alternative approach for developing a Marketing budget and a dialogue for obtaining approval for a budget that will enable both Marketing and overall business success.
  • There are no lack of gizmos, gadgets, and tools when it comes to Marketing Technology (MarTech). It is one of the tricks of the Marketing trade that there is a suitable MarTech platform available to meet just about any company’s requirements and budget. Despite the proliferation of MarTech, many organizations are struggling with it, especially when it comes to employing it to improve marketing performance. Follow these steps to make sure the magic of your Martech results in more than an Illusion.
  • Many marketers have gotten so caught up in the creation of content, however, that they have forgotten how important it is to match marketing content with the customer buying journey and lifecycle.
  • In just a few years we’ve gone from a few key technologies and a hundred players to dozens of technology options and nearly a thousand players. It’s easy to get excited by all these sexy new tools. But it is a mistake to wait to address accountability until after you have addressed technology, even if it’s just the marketing automation piece. This article explains why accountability comes before automation and provides four steps of the marketing performance management leaders you can model.
  • : For today's marketers, the challenge really isn't measurement; there is an abundance of metrics. The challenge is measuring Marketing's value and performance. Notice we won't suggest that common three-letter term "ROI" as a way to demonstrate value. Although ROI is important, ultimately the goals of Marketing measurement should be to facilitate decisions and determine Marketing's contribution to the business. To that end, you need a way to measure the value Marketing creates.
  • Marketing and Sales are both responsible for generating revenue for the company. Regardless of various approaches taken by companies to address this issue, the lack of alignment and collaboration between marketing and sales persists. Both organizations need to change for the organization to succeed. This paper suggests how moving Marketing and Sales from a transactional approach to a customer-centric approach and using the customer buying process aligns the organizations and improves both organizations' effectiveness at growing the top line.
  • a. With increased pressure on marketing to measure its value and contribution, marketing performance management is moving to the front burner. As a result many organizations are actively implementing a marketing operation function. The role of marketing operations is expanding, especially among Best-in-Class marketing organizations. Learn how BIC marketers use marketing operations to champion and orchestrate the six A’s (alignment, accountability, analytics, automation, alliances and assessment) of marketing performance management.
  • Optimization means "the action of finding the best solution." Mathematical programming, or optimization modeling, is a branch of mathematical modeling that is concerned with finding the optimal solution to a problem. Initially, optimization was used as a way to mathematically determine the optimal allocation of scarce resources. The concept has been borrowed by businesspeople to aid decision-making. Marketing optimization addresses determining the optimal subset of combinations that will maximize profit. Marketing's primary responsibility to the organization is to generate profitable revenue growth. It would seem that maximizing profit is a relatively easy thing to do: just achieve the full profit potential for each and every customer. Easier said then done.
  • The consequences of not performing effective research, or “winging” research and using those results to make decisions can have a detrimental impact on your organization and ultimately result in reduced sales and market share. Fielded properly, effective research can help you identify potential new customers and answer questions such as who is going to use your product/service, how they buy, their supplier criteria and preferences, and so on. Research is also both critical and essential if you seek to better understand your existing customers, what they value, and their degree of loyalty or risk of defection. This article defines the benefits of research and will help you build the business case to get your company focused on doing the measureable market research you know is needed.
  • The convergence of data, analytics and technology is driving both the demand for marketing dashboards – and enabling their evolution. This article explores the various types of dashboards and their design. Learn about four essential design elements and the six categories you should include on your marketing dashboard.
  • Marketers today are creating more content than before and leveraging various channels to get their messages across. With the major investment of time and money, it is important that marketers understand the most effective methods for delivering content to consumers. In this article, learn how you can use optimization and attribution modeling, when to use them, how they differ, plus the various approaches for assigning and measuring attribution.
  • Fifty years ago, optimizing the media mix was relatively easy. Today the media channels have exploded with the rise of SEO, social networks, online display, virtual events, email, and mobile. All of these marketing vehicles reinforce and amplify the importance of being able to ascertain the effectiveness and efficiency of our marketing channel investments; hence the increased emphasis on marketing mix modeling and optimization. This article explores what is a marketing mix, when it makes sense to use a marketing mix model, and the steps for creating one.
  • Customer-centricity is more than a buzzword. It represents a shift in perspective, especially for B2B companies. B2B companies tend to be more product-centric. What does it mean to be customer-centric vs. product-centric? And what steps should your firm take to become more customer-centric? Research has found that customer-centric companies enjoy great customer satisfaction, outperform industry peers two-to-one in revenue growth, and generate margins 5%-10% above their competitors. The Internet has leveled the distribution playing field. Price is often perceived as the determinant of value. Therefore, companies are left with only two ways to really add value: through their brand and their relationships with customers and prospects. Switching to a customer-centric system positively influences both.
  • Members of the leadership team expect marketing to generate value for their organizations. Why? For many organizations, over 80 percent of their value is derived from intangibles. These intangibles, such as marketplace position and customer relationships, are often produced by marketing initiatives and result from marketing investments. Therefore, it’s no surprise that the leadership team’s expectations and pressure on Marketing will continue to rise. This article outlines seven steps any marketing organization can undertake to start or accelerate the performance management and measurement journey.
  • Culture – the socially transmitted behavior patterns that reflect how a group of people operate. With the explosion of data, companies are moving to more analytically-oriented evidence-based decisions. With so much of today’s data related to customer and market behavior, marketing organizations are in an excellent position to lead the charge for creating data-driven culture. In this article, learn how to nurture and create a data-driven marketing culture.
  • Content is everywhere! Marketers in all industries are spending countless hours creating content to improve their SEO Rankings, gain credibility as thought leaders, but more importantly, to drive prospects and customers to their organization. However, some of the content being created is not proving effective and sometimes ends up being a wasted touch point. Why? Because it is not being delivered at the right time. In this article learn how to use the customer buying process and lifecycle to time your content to effectively engage and motivate your prospects and customers.
  • Customer Segmentation is not as easy as it once was. Each category and segment reflects a customer and by understanding the customers’ needs, wants, and buying process in a category you can make better strategy, product, positioning, messaging, channel, and content decisions.
  • Marketers in organizations of all sizes and working in all industries are clambering to develop content and utilize the proper channels to reach and connect with customers and prospects. However, if we produce content without taking the customer buying process into consideration, all of this effort could end up being a waste. This article outlines how to synchronize mix and content with the customer buying journey and lifecycle, why this is important, and how your organization will benefit.
  • a. Marketing Technology enables marketers to thrive in today’s hyper-competitive business environment. The ability to identify exactly which technologies are needed, in which order, and how to effectively implement and then use the tools is key to return on investment and success. The right investment in people is also required in order to realize the full benefit of these tools. This article explores the four different categories of Marketing Technology tools and recommends key steps to help you pave the way to developing a successful technology roadmap.
  • With the myriad of choices and options for nearly every purchase, it is essential that marketers court, engage, and build a relationship with customers. When you can genuinely use empathy you are more likely to engage the target audience with your content, your message, and your story. This article discusses how to take a customer-centric approach and use empathy to craft stories that will resonate with your customers.
  • One of our associates is preparing to send her child, Evan, off to 3-week overnight summer camp for the first time. Over the past few months she’s shared how the family went about selecting the right camp for them, and then the amazing job the camp did managing the experience after the selection and before the start of camp. It struck as a familiar buying process for a considered and consultative sell, followed by an impressive customer onboarding process. So, as you read this article think about how this model could be adapted by your organization to improve your customers’ experience.
  • Creating customers is the purpose of any business so that being said, the role of marketing is to create and keep customers. It is Marketing's responsibility to develop a roadmap or plan for how to go about creating and keeping customers.In this article, you will discover what initial steps can help guide your organization's marketing planning and budgeting efforts, why you need to set clear business outcomes, what to do with the outcomes, and the importance of measurement.
  • It is important to understand the differences and connection between account-based marketing and mapping the customer buying journey in order to create successful marketing strategies and plans. This article describes the connection, processes and differences and provides links to additional resources to help you put this knowledge into practice.
  • Just like Sales, Marketing is responsible for managing a predictable, reliable demand generation pipeline with a plan that ultimately produces higher value opportunities and maximizes revenue. The traditional approach to the pipeline- Awareness, Interest, Demand, Action or the more modified version of this pipeline – Awareness, Interest, Consideration, Purchase - is outdated. The customer is no longer a passive recipient or a sidelined spectator. In today’s environment, customers are actively engaged in the buying process. Today we leverage a mix of vehicles from search engines to customer generated blogs and reviews, from online communities to social networks, and from broadcast to personalization designed to create engagement and enhance experience. Yet our language related to the customer buying pipeline hasn’t kept up. This article suggests an alternative of six key measurable stages into account when developing, implementing and measuring Marketing’s contribution to the opportunity pipeline.
  • Performance management and measurement is here to stay. It is now a routine business practice. Yet the challenges Marketing organizations face in demonstrating impact persists. Marketers need to measure to provide focus, to guide direction, and to facilitate action. And of course to justify budgets. Metrics provide Marketing with a way to document actual results compared to expected results. The challenge is that the list of marketing metrics has become nearly limitless.
  • 'Relevance' is a term that describes how pertinent, connected, or applicable something is to a given matter. However, marketers often measure the wrong thing when looking to measure relevance. There are a number of best-practice approaches for measuring relevance, many of them are complex and require modeling. There is an intuitive relationship between relevance and intended behavior. By tracking relevance, you will be able to set benchmarks and performance targets for your content and model content relevance for intended behavior.
  • The premise of VoC is to collect and analyze customer data to transform an organization into a truly customer-centric operation. This article explores how to use VoC research to acquire business insight about customers and what is important to them in order to enhance the customer experience and ultimately the bottom line. The article outlines the steps for conducting VoC and the business benefits.
  • As we create more content, marketers are trying to understand the role this content plays in the buying process and which components have the greatest impact on generating conversation, consideration and ultimately consumption. So it’s no surprise that marketers are trying to understand how to leverage both marketing mix attribution and optimization models. Both attribution and optimization modeling are about improving mix and understanding the impact of marketing investments on customer behavior. This articles what these models are, when to use them, how they are different, and outlines various approaches for measuring attribution: first/last touch, equal, and fractional.
  • Growth, measured in terms of increased revenue, profit, and/or assets is a key initiative for most companies. The recent merger, acquisition and takeover frenzy of the past few years reflects what is known as inorganic growth. Organic growth, now back in vogue is the rate a business expands through its own business activity. Organic growth requires a company to create competitive advantages, differentiate and innovate its product/service offerings, and to hone in on viable existing and new customer opportunities.
  • Best-in-class marketers go beyond tracking and reporting on vanity metrics. They don’t waste time creating dashboards consisting of a smorgasbord of numbers that report on activity and outputs. These astute marketers identify and track metrics derived from aligning Marketing to the business outcomes. Marketers who make this connection make a stronger case for securing a greater share of resources.
  • In a recent article, Marketing Activity Metrics Mean Little: Here’s How to Really Prove Marketing’s Value, we asserted that 'marketers need to be smarter about the performance metrics they select', we also found ourselves concurring with David Dodd’s claim that 'many senior leaders are no longer satisfied with the tactical performance indicators (campaign response rates, content downloads, etc) that marketers have traditionally used to describe marketing performance.'
  • CEO's are urging their companies to focus their efforts on organic growth methods to increase and accelerate revenue. These CEO's understand that with an effective organic growth strategy, their organizations will continue to grow by engaging new customers and expand the business with existing customers. So how does one achieve that? In this article, you will learn what Customer Engagement is and why you should use it as well as the different metrics that you can put in place to measure how successful or not your organic growth strategy is.
  • More new channels, competition, and distinct segments to manage, as well as shorter product lifecycles, greater price transparency, and higher customer experience expectations, are creating an exponential increase in the amount of available marketing data. Unless all that data can be effectively collected, analyzed, and transformed into meaningful and actionable insights—and then used to tell a compelling, actionable story it is useless. Many marketing organizations are employing data scientists to capture, manipulate, and transform data into meaning. The ultimate challenge for data scientists is to use the data to create stories. This article offers five coaching tips to help data scientists go beyond the data to become compelling storytellers.
  • When you search under the term Customer Centricity, there are over 865,000 hits. When you look for the term customer experience, you find over 51 million items. Clearly, Forrester wasn’t kidding when they said we’ve entered the Age of the Customer. Today, with customers in the driver seat, the proliferation of marketing channels, and the equalizing forces of the Internet, it has become a challenging environment in which to be a customer-centric Marketer.
  • Some days it may seem like the weather forecast came from gazing into a crystal ball. In fact, being able to forecast the weather is the single most important reason for the existence of meteorology as a science. Forecasting is the process of making predictions of the future based on past and present data and analysis of trends. Despite being fraught with risk and uncertainty, forecasting is as important in business as it is in the weather. Business depends on forecasts for financial and staff planning and prioritizing investments and initiatives.