‘Marketers are Operationally Proficient but Strategically Stalled’

VisionEdge Marketing (VEM), ITSMA, and Forrester, organizations committed to helping marketers improve their effectiveness, released the findings from their 2013 Marketing Performance Management (MPM) Survey. We made a call for that in of our previous blogs.

The 2013 MPM Survey captured input from more than 400 respondents, enabling ITSMA, Forrester, and VEM to expose valuable insights on the performance measurement and management challenges marketers face. The study, began by VEM initially, is now in its 12th year.

Marketing Activity, Not Business Outcomes

The study reveals that few members of the C-Suite rely on marketing data to make decisions. Results show that only nine percent of CEOs and six percent of CFOs rely on marketing data to make decisions. The reason? Marketing dashboards report marketing activity rather than business outcomes. Marketers cling to metrics that measure and report marketing’s performance, continuously justifying marketing budgets and resource allocations when they should be showing how marketing moves the needle on topline growth or profitability.

“The data demonstrates how marketers rely too much on their CRM and marketing automation systems to produce dashboards or report on marketing results. These systems are fine for providing a view into marketing program activity and pipeline, but the research shows that most fail to produce the level of information and metrics that business executives want to see,” said Laura Ramos, Vice President, Principal Analyst serving CMOs at Forrester.

Operational Efficiency, Not Effectiveness

What are the most common metrics marketing tracks and reports? Measures of operational efficiency such as on time delivery, budget, productivity, campaign performance, and lead data. On average, 54 percent of marketers use data analytics to fine-tune the marketing mix. Compare that to an average of 35 percent who use data analytics to predict customer buying behavior. Few marketers are using data to predict customer behavior, make strategic recommendations, drive innovation, or impact customer acquisition, retention, or growth. As a result, marketing activity fails to make a strong connection to business outcomes.

“The metrics marketers say they use suggest an almost myopic focus on efficiency instead of effectiveness. Marketers need to add metrics that measure the effectiveness of their programs as well as measures that will help them make strategic recommendations,” said Julie Schwartz, Senior Vice President, Research and Thought Leadership for ITSMA.

Past Performance, Not Predictive Insight

A key component of the annual study is the number of marketers earning an A grade from the C-Suite for their ability to impact the business and measure their value. The grades remain relatively stable compared to last year, with 27 percent earning an A, 38 percent earning a B, 29 percent earning a C, and the remainder failing. The A marketers are better at using data and analytics in general, but all the groups primarily use data and analytics to report on past performance rather than to support future decisions. Only a third of marketers are using data analytics to predict customer/market behavior and make strategic recommendations to the business leaders.

“Marketers are at various stages of their journey, some further along than others. One step all marketers need to address is to have the building blocks and repeatable processes needed to support alignment, analytics, and accountability,” said Laura Patterson, President, VisionEdge Marketing, Inc.

The final reports from ITSMA/VEM and Forrester respectively will include select survey results, along with recommended action steps to help marketers improve marketing effectiveness, efficiency, and value for their organization. The results will be previewed at the ITSMA Marketing Leadership Forum in Napa and presented in the June 4 webinar, Measuring and Communicating Marketing Performance.

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