marketing revenue

Beyond Vanity Metrics and Closer to Marketing Revenue

Mar 01, 2016
Kimberly McCabe
Kimberly McCabe

Marketers have their fair share of challenges these days. From recruiting new skills to equipping senior leaders with the skills to transform the business – marketing has evolved in its importance at the table.

At progressive companies, the executive teams aren’t interested in vanity metrics or anything without concrete value. Marketers must tie their activities to revenue. And for many that’s still complicated. 

The challenges many companies are seeing is that the information that contributes to tracking exactly how revenue is generated is still very much in silos. Yet any small amount of reading about companies that are driving forth business and digital transformation reveals increased transparency is a key element contributing to success. Read a bit more and we’re told these changes require expensive consultants and experienced ‘change agents’. But there are ways all marketers to ignite the transformation. 

First: Be familiar with how other departments use technologies and gather data

Collaboration begins with communication which builds understanding. It’s not surprising that many teams and departments are wary of sharing their information or taking time to work with other departments unless the benefit is clear. 

The adoption of technologies has happened in silos for years. And there are war stories about teams fighting for ownership and their preferred choice. That said, many companies have overlapping technologies – luckily many are streamlining. Different departments can often benefit from sharing information to fully understand what contributes and what detracts from revenue. CRM is an obvious example. How can your customer data repositories provide more information from your lead generation activities through to customer acquisition? How well can your sales team help you classify sales propensity of people in your marketing database?  Can you define what marketing investments have the strongest impact on revenue? Can marketing and sales specifically identify issues in other departments which positively or negatively impact the customer acquisition cycle?

Second: Aligning Marketing Technology with Business Goals

Disruptive companies have been good at serving customer needs by streamlining processes and raising the availability of solutions. In places like Los Angeles Airbnb is successful because people have broader access to accommodations in different areas, with amenities that let vacationers live more like locals, and often make the car-needed city a bit more affordable and accessible. In Paris Uber is loved as much as the Taxi Parisiens are loathed. Taxis charge a premium for pick-up and taxi stands can be hard to find and intimidating for non-locals, combined with the fact the drivers have a reputation of refusing to drive to certain areas and being generally unfriendly. Uber drivers provide door to door service, you can track your driver’s location in proximity to pick-up, the ride doesn’t require an exchange of cash, drivers and passengers can be reviewed, and the trip is also tracked on GPS. 

Existing business models are transforming and often by identifying where and what disruption is caused and delivering products and services which reflect a more granular understanding of the real needs and wants of customers. Disruptive companies have high rates of satisfaction, so much that even negative PR seems to be regarded more with curiosity about how the company will resolve negative situations than any kind of consumer backlash. 

Airbnb and Uber are service-based companies. They’ve stood out from their competition in part because of the ease of using their sites or apps. And via any channel a complaint, concern or compliment is bound to get a response.  The customer experience via different channels and devices makes sense or framed differently, “is to be expected”. 

What do your customers want? How can you deliver it? How will technology help you do it? How could technology actually detract from the Customer Experience? 

Move away from silos and try not to design your customer experiences around what you think your software can do. 

Third: Bridging cross-company technologies 

What creates situations where people use vanity metrics? People don’t have sufficient information to show value. Marketing can’t tell you if paid advertising on LinkedIn worked because they have no way of seeing the impact on sales. Sales is focused on meeting sales targets and doesn’t have time to spend helping marketing analyze what’s effective – that’s marketing’s job, right? Marketing doesn’t have a view of the sales pipeline and can’t see what’s converting.  The list goes on. 

Just as we’re trying to create experiences for customers, we need to also think in terms of data touchpoints. What information can we capture? What can we learn from the data we capture? Can marketing learn from fulfilment data? Can sales learn from customer’s digital interactions while in-store? Can product management learn how to enhance products by analyzing what campaigns cause increases in sales? Yes, they can. 

Marketers say bye to vanity metrics and increasingly have the ear of executives 

Marketing has transformed over the last few years and many senior marketers have been getting seats at the table by being able to show data which pinpoints marketing’s contributions to revenue. And as marketing continues to battle its way into boardrooms, marketers must continue to break through silos to identify data that will help them identify how they are contributing to revenue. And when they do, they’ll surely never waste their time with any silly vanity metrics.

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