The marketing department used to be thought of as "arts and crafts" because most of what we did was difficult to measure. Those days are over; today, marketers need to create and deliver remarkable business value in order to survive and thrive. Still, a whopping 67% of CMOs don't formally evaluate the quality of their marketing analytics (2013). Houston, we have a problem.
It's no longer enough for marketers to generate pithy taglines and design a sleek website. We have to use the data, metrics, and insights at our fingertips to prove how our marketing efforts impact the company's bottom line. Below I've outlined two ways to start reporting on your marketing with metrics your executive team actually cares about and how CMOs can tailor their approach to set, meet, and exceed their goals:
Marketing Drives Sales? Prove It.
The key to reporting marketing's direct impact on revenue is connecting all your analytics tools to your CRM and e-commerce systems. Once you've bridged that gap, prove how marketing contributed to your business success by showcasing which percentage of new customers were identified or influenced by your marketing team and content.
Marketing Influenced Customer Percentage: It's very possible that a prospect entered the sales process without engaging with your marketing team. But, that doesn't mean marketing didn't play a role in their decision making process through content or follow-ups with disengaged leads. Best in class marketing teams track over 70% on this metric.
Marketing Originated Customer Percentage: Your software and approach should allow you to identify this value on an ongoing basis. If your company has an inside sales team, this number should represent 40-80% of your customers; if you have an outside sales team it should be in the 20-40% range.
These percentages paint a good picture of how your marketing team and budget directly drive sales and impact company growth. If you want a deeper dive into these metrics and others, check out this post. The next step is to get more granular and understand which channels, tools, and efforts within your marketing strategy are pulling the most weight and producing results, not just brand awareness.
Revenue Building vs. Brand Building
Tracking a lead from their very first interaction all the way throughout the buying process is crucial. More CMOs need to apply this practice of closed-loop marketing across all their channels. Take social media for example. As Lawrence Mak, Senior Manager of Product Marketing at Adobe said, "Your C-level suite doesn't care how many 'Likes' you have"; we need to think of social media as revenue building, not just brand building.
Start measuring how many leads you get through social media channels and track how many of those leads become customers down the road. For example, sports retail company Zaggora reported that 17% of their new sales since July 2013 were generated from social media. Customers that initially found your business through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn can and do bring in revenue, not just retweets.
The old adage for marketers was "I know half of my advertising is working; I just don't know which half." For CMOs in the 21st century, this approach simply doesn't work. Revenue reporting is one important piece of the sophisticated marketer's puzzle; you need software, systems, and solutions that help you identify the metrics that matter for your business.