Despite having more data at hand than ever to improve company performance, marketers are not taking full advantage of the potential for data analysis to allow them to tie the effects of their initiatives back to overarching corporate strategy.
Marketers cannot continue to rely on metrics like brand awareness, trade show scans or Web site traffic to demonstrate the value they provide to the organization, says Laura Ramos, an analyst at Forrester Research Inc., commenting on a Forrester survey.
“Those who do will be shown to the door as CEOs and CFOs raise the bar on accountability – and getting the right attention here is a substantial challenge when so few execs rely on marketing data in their decision making,” she adds.
The survey finds that marketers continue to use metrics to report on performance and justify budgets.
“But far fewer use data and analytics to analyze purchase patterns, fine tune the mix, and understand customer lifetime value – actions that can have a bigger impact on overall performance,” according to Ramos. “The bottom line here is that marketing’s impact doesn’t matter if CMOs fail to link what they do to business goals.”
She recommends that marketers:
- Answer three key questions about every effort that marketing reports to executive management: Which business outcomes will the project affect? How will it affect the business? How we will demonstrate that we have achieved the goals?
- Look beyond leads to demonstrate marketing’s influence. Include preference, loyalty, market share and brand sentiment to show impact.
- Monitor customer lifetime value. Identify the processes and tools to help the firm understand what makes customers valuable, and commit resources to targeted messages.
- Take into account the buyer’s journey after a deal closes. Focus marketing communications on upselling opportunities and showing how marketing can improve share of wallet and market penetration.
“Recognition associates interactions with individuals or segments across time and interactions,” he says. “The strength of recognition is gauged on its ability to associate interactions to anything from individual to a broad segment and to persist those associations across different touch points over time.”
He suggests that firms:
- Focus on customer recognition to help prioritize the data streaming into corporate networks.
- Audit existing customer interaction touch points to understand campaign strengths and weaknesses and build out road maps to fill in gaps.
“Place customer recognition at the heart of your strategy; this will help prioritize the big data coming your way and focus projects needed to recognize the customers within,” he says.
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