This article is a reblog and was originally published by Ross Graber, Research Director at SiriusDecisions.
Earlier this week, SiriusDecisions assembled more than a dozen b-to-b marketing operations leaders to discuss the measurement of campaigns in their organizations. While there were only so many chairs at our roundtable, I wanted to share a few key observations from the discussion and what they mean for anyone concerned with measuring campaign performance.
- Campaign measurement isn’t simple. If you think the grass is greener at other organizations, it’s not. Participants quickly realized that the grass may not have been greener on their neighbor’s lawn. We consistently heard challenges around measuring reputation and sales enablement-oriented activities. Operational challenges of organizing and labeling campaign data in business systems so that it can be associated with one campaign as opposed to another was a consistent pain point, as was setting reasonable expectations for measuring campaign ROI.
- Planning plays an oversized role. I was surprised that nearly 50 percent of our conversation centered on planning (and that was not intended!!). There was wide agreement that to fairly evaluate tactics and programs, we need to understand program objectives – and not all of marketing’s actions are intended to create new pipeline. But most companies don’t have a process for understanding what tactics or even programs are supposed to do. At most of our participating companies, only sourced revenue targets are handed down from the CMO. While some attendees reported doing interesting work to link larger deal sizes or greater pipeline velocity to the acceptance of marketing tactics, no one in the room had a CMO who was setting those next-level targets. For companies that did set them, the marketing operations leader drove that target setting for the entire marketing organization.
- Attitudes toward tactic attribution are evolving. It wasn’t that long ago that marketers were confident that a single tactic attribution existed that could help them definitively assess the value of each of their marketing tactics. More recently, perspectives on tactic attribution have shifted. Leaders in the room were coming to grips with the idea that different models can help them answer different questions. For example, while first-touch models show the most successful tactics for acquiring new leads, tipping-point models focus on the most successful tactics for reaching qualification thresholds. The other really interesting discussion was that if a company can create agreement on its relative priorities across acquisition, qualification, acceleration and conversion, some participants felt that they could custom-fit a tactic attribution model to their priorities and adjust that models over time (annually) as priorities change.
- Sales alignment is still critical. There’s no such thing as a “marketing only” b-to-b campaign. Sales and marketing need to be partners. Both need to carry the same messages to customers and prospects and need to provide feedback to one another. Marketing needs sales to create and update opportunity records in business systems (e.g. the SFA system) in such a way that marketing can understand what’s happening and tie campaign responses to those opportunity records. But this can’t be a one-way street: Marketing has to demonstrate to sales how sales will benefit by staying on top of opportunity data. This includes not only creating programmatic elements that make it easier for sales to interact with buyers, but also finding ways to provide quantifiable evidence of what marketing and sales tactics work better.
The consensus from around the table was companies were facing a series of operational issues that need to be worked through – tagging campaign data, setting campaign goals and facilitating sales and marketing alignment – but at the same time, a lot of progress is being made. The promise of demonstrating marketing’s contribution by connecting marketing actions with business outcomes, is a powerful force that’s driving progress in integrated campaign measurement.