I was recently discussing a new strategic campaign with a customer—their goal was to promote a new product to an audience that they had never spoken to before. So when the topic turned towards how to measure the success of the campaign (in this case, the number of sales qualified leads or SQLs), they decided not to set one. Makes sense, right?
But it got me thinking: It’s the marketing department’s job to run new and innovative campaigns and experiment with messaging to new audiences. Yet, time and time again, I’ve come across this same fear of committing to a target or goal—which is no surprise to me. Most marketing departments don’t have the capability to forecast how a plan or strategy will work for a specific campaign. They also often don’t have access to the historical insight or performance metrics to confidently say, “other similar campaigns we’ve run achieved x and y.”
On top of all this, marketing historically has not owned any organization revenue goals. But this is changing—as marketing starts owning more of the customer experience, its traditional role is merging more deeply with sales and service roles. And connectivity between these customer-facing departments (sales, service, and marketing) is crucial in order to make a meaningful business impact. Because of all this, marketing, more than ever before, is shifting from a cost center to a profit center.
With this shift in expectations, marketing must overcome its fear of committing to metrics and targets. Here are four steps to becoming a more metric-driven organization:
- Create benchmarks for what every marketing dollar should achieve. Whether it’s the number of MQLs, engagement metrics, or something else, the key is to set benchmarks for all spend.
- Use these benchmarks in the planning process. For every campaign or strategy you run, consider the metrics you are committing to during the planning process—not before or after.
- Introduce a forecasting capability into the planning process. Each individual campaign (as well as the annual planning process) should have a revenue forecast associated with it, based on its benchmarks.
- Create attribution models to tie campaigns back to the plan.
Whether it’s the first touch, last touch, or multi-touch, set a standard and stick to it for everything! Otherwise, you’ll never close the loop to determine impact.
With these four steps, you will be on your way to a better marketing performance process while overcoming the fear of commitment to goals—allowing marketing to become a strategic partner to the business.