As a marketer you cannot afford to waste your resources on an ineffective marketing activity especially considering the dwindling trust of CEOs in marketers.
Fournaise interviewed more than 1200 large corporation and SMB CEOs and decision-makers in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia through its 2012 Global Marketing Effectiveness Program, and found out that 80% of CEOs do not trust marketers and are not “impressed” by their work.
If you think that the state of marketing has improved dramatically since 2012, check out the following statistics:
- 83% of marketers pay a little attention to the Customer Value Propositions (CVPs) in their strategies. Instead of focusing on “VCP and message” (what the message should be) they focus on “form, style, and awareness (where and how to send the message). (Source)
- 76% of marketers are measuring the wrong Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). 77% of marketers think that generating “Awareness” is a good indicator to measure their marketing effectiveness. Also 71% of marketers consider “engagement” (web traffic, clicks, likes, tweets, etc.), and not conversion, as the ultimate indicator for their marketing effectiveness. (Source)
- 70% of the companies surveyed by Docurated say that they do not measure their marketing productivity. In the same research it is mentioned that 56% of sales people prepare their own sales materials and don’t use the content provided by marketers, which shows a gap between marketing departments and sales departments. (Source)
While these numbers are quite shocking, they do not mean that marketers are not working enough or that they’re just beating a dead horse in making all the fuss about laying down and following a marketing strategy.
As a marketer, you might want to blame digital disruption as the number one obstacle for getting things done as you did before. And you’re right! Truth is with the advent of numerous technologies and the change in Value Proposition of products or services, marketers are expected to adapt and deliver more results.
Imagine what happens when your CEO wakes up one morning and finds that although the pain points, needs, and values of his company’s prospects have changed, his marketers still go with the same old messages over and over again without having adopted the new pain points, needs, and values of the customers.
He would get all bent out of shape 🙁
No worries though. Check out the following marketing performance checklist and tick each of the items you actually do in your marketing career. If you score 5/5, you’re doing a great job, if not, see what you’re doing wrong and improve it.
Marketing Performance Checklist:
1. Your marketing goals are aligned with the overall business goals and priorities
It’s easy to lose sight of the overall business goals and priorities once the business takes the “siloed organizational approach”.
Giving specific roles to different departments within an organization might reduce the workload and work complexity, but there will be a bigger problem: departments within an organization might forget about its connecting point with the customers, and move in different directions.
In “2016 State of Marketing Productivity Report” Docurated found out that although an average 25% of marketing budget is devoted to content, only 10% of the content produced by the marketing teams is used by the sales reps.
Shocking . . . .
So if this is the case in your company (i.e. 90% of the content produced by your marketing team is unused), no wonder execs would lose hope in marketing activities.
What is the cause?
As a marketer, you have a different persona of the customers and thus (as an example) produce content that does not resonate with them.
What is the solution?
Don’t see marketing as a separate department with its own values and goals.
Instead, take time to connect with other departments, especially sales department, know their values, and explore their version of buyers’ persona to find and cross out inconsistencies. Only this way you can share a similar Customer Value Proposition (CVP) with other departments.
2.You measure marketing productivity
To get things done is one thing, to know if you did them right is another. Which one is more important? Of course the second.
Although this is obvious, we tend to forget it sometimes.
“2016 State of Marketing Productivity Report” shows us that 70% of the companies surveyed say that they do not measure marketing productivity.
Again, shocking . . . .
How can marketers be productive?
First, marketers should know how they can have a part in the revenue generation process. This is important — and of course obvious — because the overall goal of a business is actually generating revenue.
Marketing could be productive by producing high-value leads, providing hands-on content for the sales team, teaching the sales team what they know from data analytics or market research, or nurturing the leads and moving them in the sales funnel.
Second, marketers should be able to design their own Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for evaluating their activities.
I say design KPIs because due to the different factors in a business, the meaning of marketing productivity differs.
While for a company, or for a specific time span, it might be important to generate traffic to the website, for another the engagement with social media posts or the increase in conversion rates are important.
Here is a short list of useful marketing KPIs:
Return on Investment (ROI): It measures the efficiency of an investment, the amount of return compared with the initial investment. Say you start a campaign and want to calculate its ROI to compare it with other campaigns so that you would know which one is more efficient. You subtract the amount of initial investment from the total gains and then divide it by the initial investment. ROI is mostly shown in percentage.
Incremental Sales: It shows the amount of sales that is more than what was estimated, the amount that your marketing activities (e.g. campaigns) contribute to your company’s sales revenue.
Sales Funnel: You should take into consideration how people enter your sales funnel, find your products interesting and finally become your loyal customers. Conversion rates between various stages of a sales funnel are important.
Average Lead Score: By evaluating some characteristics of your current customers (e.g. demographic info, behavior, activity, preferences, . . .) you can determine a score for your new leads.
Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs): The number of qualified leads based on the criteria determined by the company.
Social Sentiment: It includes analyzing whether mentions of your company across social media is positive, neutral, or negative. Use social media monitoring tools such as TalkWalker, Mention, Awario, or Brand24.
Net Promoter Score: You can give a score to your customers based on how much they are willing to promote your products. Simply ask your customers to rank from 1 to 10 how much they are willing to promote your products to others.
Cost per Lead: How much you spent to acquire a lead. Calculate how much you spend to have a campaign running (costs such as whitepapers, landing pages, emails, Google Ads) and divide it by the number of the leads produced by the campaign.
According to ANNUITAS’s B2B Enterprise Demand Generation Study Results top marketing KPIs tracked by B2B companies are conversion/net new leads (89%), web traffic (87%), and Marketing Qualified Leads (83%).
3. You use marketing technologies efficiently
You can find 3,874 marketing technology solutions in this supergraphic by chiefmartec.com.
The link to a high-resolution version: 2016 Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic (1,200dpi JPEG)
Amazing, isn’t it? You bet 🙂
Some major marketing technology categories include content creation/management tools (e.g. Curata, Docurated), marketing automation systems (e.g. Oracle Eloqua, Marketo ), account based marketing systems (e.g. Terminus, Azalead ), customer relationship management tools (e.g. Salesforce, Hubspot), data management (e.g. Mediamath, Lotame), and marketing reporting tools (e.g. Megalytic, Databox)
Although the landscape of the marketing technology solutions is overwhelming and intimidating, most of the companies use a few of the well-known solutions above.
According to ANNUITAS’s B2B Enterprise Demand Generation Study Results top marketing automation platforms among B2B companies are Oracle Eloqua (34.5%) and Marketo (25.7%), and top Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution is Salesforce (77%).
You should be careful though as only 29.4% of the respondents replied that using marketing automation has been very effective and it has had a big impact on the pipeline and revenue.
To use marketing technologies efficiently you should do two things:
- Educate yourself in various uses of marketing technologies
- Identify the touch points between your marketing needs and technology solutions
The point is without many of these technologies you cannot do what you’re expected as a marketer. So it’s not the matter of choice or even improving your performance in areas you can do without marketing technologies.
Without a sound grasp of various marketing technologies, you cannot last in the age of digital disruption.
4. You try to sharpen your marketing skills
According to a study done by the international marketing technology brand, Bluevenn, 72% of (200) marketers consider data analysis as the most important skill they need to acquire in the next two years.
Three other skills identified as essential by marketers were social media skills (65%), web development (31%), graphic design (23%), and search engine optimization (13%).
Hubspot too identifies analytics as the #1 skill every marketer should acquire. Here is the complete list of skills:
- Analytics: research predicts the shortfall of up to 1.5 million tech-savvy managers by 2018.
- Social media: 92% of marketers believe social media is important for their marketing activities
- Data visualization: 12% of websites see an increase in traffic after an infographic is posted on the website
- Technical skills (e.g. basic coding, video and picture production, researching, writing): two of four of new marketing hires will require technical skills. As a content marketer you need to have superb researching and writing skills.
- Teamwork: 57% of marketers have a dedicated social team.
- Newsjacking: being up to date of the latest news in the digital age.
- Soft skills: Don’t forget communication skills, friendliness, and flexibility in the workplace.
Click on the infographic from Formstack to enlarge:
5. You’re smart enough to know where to drive marketing investments:
You’ve heard that in today’s ever-changing market, you need to be agile enough to adapt to the new values expected by customers. You’ve heard it right — I wouldn’t disagree with this.
However, you should note that while marketing agility is necessary, being agile and being reckless in marketing are two absolutely different things.
You don’t need to jump in there when a new technology is introduced; instead you should take your time to analyze the possible ways a new technology or a new strategy or tactic could eventually add a value to your company, and whether it’s worth to try it.
If you’re in charge of dividing your marketing budget and allocating it to different marketing sections, you know that a miscalculated step could cost you thousands or even millions of dollars.
What if instead of focusing on an important metric (let’s say the time people spend in your blog), you focus on using various plugins or features that slow down your website’s load time? You’ll lose a lot of customers.
What if instead of focusing on the real value propositions of your products and framing them foremost in your messages, you focus on how fancy your messages will look? You’ll again lose a lot of revenue.
Again, a deep understanding of your company’s overall values and goals is a must when deciding where to focus marketing activities.
Marketing agility does not equal marketing recklessness.
Take time to analyze if any step you plan to take will really follow the core values and goals of your organization, and how it will contribute to revenue generation.
Marketing Performance Checklist:
Be honest with yourself and tick each item you actually do. Do you score 5/5 or do you need some revisions in your marketing attitudes?
- Your marketing goals are aligned with the overall business goals and priorities
- You measure marketing productivity
- You use marketing technologies efficiently
- You try to sharpen your marketing skills
- You’re smart enough to know where to drive marketing investments