Accountability has been the most important issue facing marketing executives this year, according to the Association of National Advertisers (ANA).
In fact, accountability and measurement have remained consistent concerns since 2006, even though their specific positions in the rankings have shifted over time, the ANA notes.
Many CMOs and marketing leaders are under tremendous pressure to use big data analytics to generate solid returns from marketing initiatives.
Marketing accountability is about demonstrating the business value of marketing initiatives to senior management through performance management and reporting, John Weathington notes in a blog post for TechRepublic.
One of the biggest challenges facing marketers in demonstrating the value of marketing to top brass is causality. But marketing is unlike sales where activities can be easily linked to results, he notes.
“Many marketing activities – such as advertising, positioning, and promotion – don’t have a direct causal relationship with revenues,” Weathington says.
It doesn’t help that many marketing leaders struggle with their overall uses of big data and analytics. Just 24% of marketers use big data for actionable marketing while 45% say they lack the capacity for analyzing big data, according to a study by The Economist Intelligence Unit.
Despite these challenges, marketers can make more effective use of big data and data analysis to draw on specific ways that marketing is contributing to the company’s top business goals.
A good way to start is by pinpointing a specific business objective that’s labeled as a priority (e.g., increase customer satisfaction or Net Promoter Score by five points) and then using customer data and analytics to identify opportunities that can be acted on to help achieve that target.
For instance, customers share a goldmine of information in their interactions with the contact center, including complaints about contract terms, product shortcomings, and other triggers of dissatisfaction.
Marketers can use analytics to identify common sentiment expressed by high-value customer segments, and then use those insights to craft campaigns or strategies aimed at assuaging customer criticism and strengthening customer satisfaction.
From there, marketing teams can work with data scientists and IT to connect the dots between recent shifts in customer satisfaction or Net Promoter Scores with changes in revenue and share those results with senior management.
Just as it’s critical to align marketing objectives and programs with business results, it’s also essential for marketing leaders to ensure they take an outside-in approach to measuring performance results by taking the customer’s point of view.
So while it’s important for marketers to track important KPIs (key performance indicators) such as cost per lead and revenue generated per campaign, ultimately the performance of any marketing initiative depends on the customers’ perceptions of the messaging and the inherent value they see in the various offers.
Customers don’t dwell in a single channel – they make extensive use of multiple channels such as the web, mobile, social, chat, email, etc.
That’s why it’s extremely useful for marketers to examine cross-channel and cross-campaign impact to fine tune their strategies and ensure the results they’re communicating back to senior management take a multidimensional view of customer behavior and channel usage and how this influences conversion rates and other critical business results.