How do you measure your success? Most marketing organizations have an array of marketing analytics they track to gauge the success of different campaigns. All of those analytics are given some consideration and importance, but the primary metric that’s often treated as the holy grail of marketing success is the lead.
In a recent poll of webinar attendees, 58% said they measured success by sales accepted or sales qualified leads, making that the most popular answer. Leads are important. No one wants to deny that. But they’re often overvalued in marketing circles. The lead shouldn’t be your number one goal, revenue should.
Last week’s webinar with Russ Glass, Head of Products from LinkedIn Marketing Solutions and Darin Hicks, the CEO of Hive9, challenges the notion of putting leads at the top of the marketing analytics hierarchy and provides thoughtful suggestions for how to restructure your marketing efforts for better success.To give you a little taste of what the webinar covered, here are some of the main takeaways.
Successful Examples of Data-Driven Marketing
Glass provided several compelling examples of just how big of a splash data-driven marketing can make. Amazon, one of the biggest business success stories of the last two decades, built a business model around providing people with personalized recommendations based on past data. And it works. Every time you log in, you see items Amazon is confident you want. Chances are, you’ve made a purchase based on those personalized recommendations at some point.
Netflix initially started using data to the same purpose that Amazon does, to provide recommendations to customers, but their use of it has grown into something far more revolutionary. In recent years, their slate of original programming – including the widely successful and award-winning House of Cards –was all planned and executed based on what the data told Netflix its customers wanted.
Those cases may feel distant for the B2B marketer, but Glass didn’t stop with these high-profile B2C examples. Eloqua, the marketing automation company acquired by Oracle, didn’t know why some customers renewed their contracts while others didn’t. To dig deeper, they looked to their customer usage data.
They learned that the customers who renewed consistently used a couple of particular features of the product. So they shifted their focus to improving those features. That realization and the ensuing actions they took because of it helped them reduce customer turnover.
How to Start Becoming a Data-Driven Businesses
Those examples are pretty compelling, but don’t really tell you where to start. Glass had a few tips to recommend to listeners:
- Figure out what you want to know about your customers.
- Big data can be overwhelming, start by thinking small. Focus on a particular persona, region, and product line and then move out from there.
- Be prudent, but not shy about investing in technology. It’s a necessary component of the process.
- Hire the right people. You still need creatives, but you also need to round your team out with data-oriented, left-brain thinkers.
- Test repeatedly, measure constantly, and make sure your measurements tie back to revenue.
5 Concrete Steps to Marketing InfluenceGlass introduced learnings and ideas from the book he co-authored (The Big Data-Driven Business), then Hicks shared some actionable steps involved in executing those ideas.
- Bridge the gap between marketing and sales.
- Take stock of your marketing measurement.
Every marketing org, no matter the size, has access to some marketing analytics at this point. Having analytics isn’t always enough. You need to make sure that the numbers you have are reliable and that they’re measuring the most important things you want to know. Do your marketing analytics help you track how well you’re reaching your goals? Do they show you how your marketing activities relate to revenue? If not, work on refining the measurement you’re doing now in order to start seeing the information you need most.
- Start integrating your marketing plan.
- Define your goals.
All of your marketing efforts should relate back to clearly defined goals. Make sure you have top-level goals that serve as a guiding influence for how you shape your plan in the long term, but also break those down to smaller targets that you can easily measure on an ongoing basis. When your goals are clearly defined you’ll have an easier time making sure all your marketing efforts are working toward them. If you make sure those goals are tied back to revenue generation, then your team will have a stronger incentive to stay focused on results.
- Create a system for continuous improvement.
None of this is something you can do once and be done. It has to be ongoing. Make sure everyone in your marketing department has the means to provide and receive ongoing feedback on what’s working. Every time one team learns something from their testing, everyone in the organization should have access to that knowledge. When you put a continuous feedback loop into place, your whole organization will benefit from the lessons everyone else learns on a regular basis.
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