7 Deadly Sins of Marketing: #1 Ill-Defined Metrics

Marketing OperationsToday’s marketing departments must justify their existence. The need to measure results is inevitable. However, the instincts and skills that make a corporate marketing professional great — a bias toward action, verbal and written acuity and a talent for relationship-building — often don’t translate into an ability or willingness to scientifically and objectively evaluate success.

Broken systems and the lack of patience to think through the full picture of marketing measurement also conspire against the effort to define meaningful success metrics. The tendency is to track activities, like click-through rates, that don’t translate meaningfully to stakeholders like the CFO. And metrics like revenue and market share are so far down the line that the direct connection to decisions and work of marketing employees is vague and frustrating.

Off-the-shelf dashboards can help, but they may not really connect the dots between what various groups are doing, or between daily work and outputs and outcomes, and other holistic viewpoints that are vital to optimal performance.

Busy corporate marketing groups can be so focused on tactics and fire-fighting that they jeopardize their marketing investment. Overreacting to events, tackling symptoms rather than underlying fundamental problems, and jumping to please the boss can prove fatal. Crippled marketing efforts can leave promising companies in the dust, or at least handicapped at the starting gate.

One of the keys to zeroing in on the right metrics is to look at your workflows, and identify what can be tracked from point A through point Z. For example, how do you know that the inputs to your workflow are high quality and timely? What can you keep an eye on in the midst of your workflow as early signals of things going well — or things needing adjustment so that they will go well?  These two questions form the basis for marketing metrics that are empowering. If these metrics are ugly, then the output and consequence metrics will certainly be ugly.

Another key to focusing on the right metrics is to cascade your c-team’s objectives downward, level by level in the organizational structure, asking yourself: what does this level contribute to the level above it? This aligns your marketing team’s metrics with what contributes to your c-team’s hot buttons.

Admired companies are leveraging Marketing Operations to improve performance and measure ROI as they refine their marketing organizations using an operational focus. Marketing Operations is an emerging discipline that increases efficiency and drives consistent results in complex marketing organizations. It builds a foundation for excellence by reinforcing marketing strategy with processes, technology, guidance (including rules of engagement, knowledge management, marketing intelligence and best practices) and metrics.

By talking to marketers like you, we realized that solutions to these quandaries are few and far between. And that’s because new mindsets and new habits are needed. Complicating matters is the break-neck speed of marketing these days, addressing needs and opportunities that crop up overnight around the world, among numerous micro-segments, channels, and customer lifecycle touchpoints.

The Marketing Future Forum makes it possible to chip away at the seven deadliest marketing sins that plague companies of all sizes. It accelerates your entire marketing organization’s progress in tackling marketing’s most chronic problems: ill-defined metrics, slammed resources, sketchy institutional memory, constipated creativity, poor fiscal and tactical decision-making, inadequate marketing portfolio, . . . you get the picture. This article is the first in our 7-part series about these chronic problems.

The Marketing Future Forum takes on these dilemmas, and shows every type of marketer how they can shift their mindset and habits to build collective capability in metrics mastery that gets marketing ahead with the CFO and all the other stakeholders.

New mindsets and habits spell the need to breakdown the solutions to bite-sized nuggets of wisdom with legs. And of course, make it easy for the whole marketing organization to progress pretty much in lockstep. This is the magic of the Marketing Future Forum. Whether it’s a Workspace, Community Call, Webcast Conversation, Taskforce, or Collaboration Space, you can pop into the Forum for 20 minutes or so and discover a practical big idea that’s easy to share with your colleagues, and ready to try out on-the-spot. Colleagues can internalize the big idea, seeing how it applies to their unique work situation. That makes shared vision a much greater possibility, with much greater speed.

Find out more in our Leap Day launch announcement webcast recording. You’ll see how the Marketing Future Forum is a mission critical tool for your organization’s success as it navigates increasing demands of the future.


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About the Author:

Lynn Hunsaker is CEO of Marketing Operations Partners, a consultancy that transforms marketing organizations into high-value engagement centers through accountability, alignment, and agility. Lynn is a past director of marketing and business development at Applied Materials, an award-winning past president of Silicon Valley American Marketing Association, and she taught marketing, advertising and business for 5 years at UC Berkeley Extension, SJSU, and Mission College. Lynn is a well-known expert in metrics, customer experience management, and organizational change. See more at http://mopartners.com/about

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