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Are you effectively executing marketing efforts in alignment with your strategic business initiatives?That’s the ultimate question you need to be able to answer and support with quantitative proof.To do so, you must assess your current processes and capabilities – acknowledge and deal with any limitations and problems – and clear the way for better approaches. I’m Christine Nurnberger, VP of Marketing from SAS. And I’m here to share our story. I call it “50 Shades of Clarity: A CMO’s Guide to Marketing Metrics and ROI.
When Marketing works well, you can readily demonstrate how your efforts are supporting sales based on revenue growth related to specific initiatives…You can show how you’ve been able to leverage technology to help improve processes.This includes integrating and tracking all related marketing campaign activities, which puts you in a better position to adjust performance, innovate and drive business results and value…
With these capabilities and insights, you can make the transition from a cost center to a profit center, and clearly show (series of clicks through to Marketing total contribution) how your organization has met objectives and contributed to the bottom line.This involves setting specific revenue goals for individual products (click) and analyzing results against a comprehensive set of inputs. (click)When you can function like this, you can “move your business forward, fast.” It’s what we needed to do, but it was far from what was possible when I joined SAS in 2012.
When I tried to shine a light on what Marketing actually had been able to accomplish, I was grasping in the dark…For example, while there was some attempt to measure and prove ROI, many questions remained unanswered (pick or choose a couple of questions among those being presented and/or summarize in your own words at a higher level)…With all these gray areas, it was hard to assess the true effectiveness of any Marketing initiative…let alone trust or improve results going forward.
The fact is, we were creating and running campaigns like we were working in the Dark Ages:(click) We had no relevant content; we were on the receiving end of old white papers and other outdated materials that we force-fit into specific campaigns…(click) These were sent to prospects using a one-size-fits-all approach…(click) Resulting in a high volume, but low-quality, of leads.Improving results would require greater analysis into ongoing efforts, as well as better coordination with Sales:(click) But we didn’t have comprehensive analytical tools to see precisely where results were falling short.(click) And a lack of integration with supporting systems such as Salesforce made it difficult to obtain and incorporate information vital to the overall process. Meanwhile, related manual workarounds added to costs and delays.
For all intents and purposes, our Marketing efforts were broken:We were in reactive mode, using whatever content was on hand rather than strategically developed content.We engaged in spray campaigns made ineffective through poor targeting and data hygiene, so the right decision-makers weren’t being contacted.And reporting was sketchy at best since critical metrics weren’t in place to gauge effectiveness across multiple levels.With so much out of sync, there was no way to speed the process, or more importantly, close the loop to revenue.
As you can imagine, this situation eroded our relationship with Sales.We needed to be able to capture and analyze the right data in order to clearly understand the impact of campaigns and other marketing activities…So we could operate with greater clarity to support Sales along every step of the buying cycle.
We tried to upgrade our existing Eloqua system to address integration issues and the inability to perform closed-loop reporting. After one quarter and no results, we implemented Marketo instead.The result? A smooth implementation, completed within 45 days.Now we can provide SSO and integrated, automated reporting between our Marketo and Salesforce systems, making it easier for Marketing and Sales to be productive and share information.
This has made it possible to gain real-time insights and report on what is actually happening to each specific piece of content involved in a demand-gen campaign.(click to screen shot) For example, we can track when a particular item was opened and how much interest it has generated compared to other materials.We can also track related costs associated with the item to understand the marketing return on investment.
As you evaluate a marketing automation solution, be sure it can deliver the new capabilities you need while also leveraging – and preserving your investment in – other critical marketing systems.(Speak more in depth to points listed on slide as desired.)
With new automated capabilities in place, we needed to also make sure that we could produce campaigns that hit the mark.We sought a marketing services partner to help with strategy, planning and execution.26 interviews later, we selected Bulldog: their fresh approach and knowledge of the Marketo platform was key.Working with Bulldog, we implemented our first automated nurture campaign where customized content was delivered to prospects based on their activity in the buy cycle.(click)Using this approach, we put prospects on a path with progressive profiling, where each action triggers another offer or moves them to another step in the nurture cycle.
Fundamental to our success was a shift from producing solution-driven content to compelling content focused on customer-specific needs. A timely and edgy direction also helped ensure campaigns would stand out from the noise and get real results. Our Zombie Apocalypse/World War Z campaign was a prime example. (We met and exceeded our goals for click-throughs, shares and overall interest.)
Your campaigns and content will be more successful when you:Make smart partner selections: Interview multiple partners until you find the right fit of industry and technical expertise to fill in any gaps in your current capabilities and skills:-- Fully understand how they will help you design, implement and support campaigns, and what you’ll be able to track as a result.-- Be sure they can integrate their solution with any related marketing systems, so you don’t waste cycles trying to fix or implement solutions that will never be a good fit.Build internal capability: Content plays a strategic role in meeting campaign/business objectives. Designated Marketing Content Managers are a valuable/critical addition to your team.Overcome the noise: Develop campaigns that leverage provocative content.
At the same time, we’re working to apply a fresh approach to both our Website and PR activities.Specifically, we’ve brought on new partners to help us rebuild our website so that it is more responsive and visually appealing to users and more effective from an SEO and SEM standpoint.Meanwhile, since we began working with a new, more progressive PR firm, we’ve:-- Trained 46 SMEs,-- Developed bios and talk tracks,--And established a comprehensive crisis plan.We’re also benefiting from ongoing insights from CIO-populated Learning Labs, which we use to inform our content strategy.As you consider making similar improvements in these areas, remember to keep your customers front and center. Leverage any messaging around customer pain points you’ve developed for demand-gen in your Web site- and PR-related content.Provide a Web site that speaks to your desired audience and is easy to navigate. And when a PR crisis or opportunity arises, be prepared to respond with the right plan and the right message at the right time.
With the right processes, tools and support, you can perform demand-gen activities in a more enlightened and proactive way – adjusting and employing new and improved tactics in real time.As a result, you’ll get strategic, measurable results that (click – Improvement to Pipeline) demonstrate the quantifiable impact of your demand-gen efforts…And (click) you’ll be able to prove your alignment to strategic goals and change the perception of your organization…(click) which puts you in the perfect position to influence strategic company/sales initiatives going forward.In the end, you’ll be able to more easily identify the right opportunities and respond quickly to grow and build revenue streams.
We’ve also made it easier for management to analyze and view revenue results through an executive dashboard tool. For example, this report shows the results for a number of individual product lines – listing the annual goals for KPIs and comparing them against actual results for items such as Leads, Marketing Qualified Leads, and Opportunities.Being able to report on marketing activities to this level of granularity helps us demonstrate in real terms the value that Marketing is actually bringing to the table.
If you want to make a visible change to your Marketing efforts, you have to put in the time while diplomatically handling any detractors along the way:Dig in and fully assess current processes:-- Where are the gaps-- What’s broken beyond repair?Own up to what’s wrong, so you can mend and rebuild relationship with Sales:-- Clearly communicate what will be fixed (and in what time frame)Bring on qualified partners to provided needed expertise-- Just as we did in the areas of marketing automation, PR and WebAnd then effectively – and continuously – monitor and report on results
Thank you for coming to my presentation today.I hope you’ve seen that it is possible to turn around less-than-ideal demand-gen and related marketing functions, and that you’ve gotten some specific ideas about what you can do in your own organization to make improvements.Just remember (click):“CMO ideas will always get challenged unless they have a seat at the revenue table. If you want it to work, sign up for a quota — and deliver it as direct contribution to revenue."