At the Marketing Ops Journal, we get a number of questions from marketing operations that are wondering if they’re really using the right metrics, measures, and data-driven approaches. While the conventional wisdom may say that Marketing Ops should simply measure, monitor, and report whatever management wants to see, we have a very different perspective on the matter:
We believe that Marketing Ops should be measuring what management needs to see, regardless of what management may want to see.
Under constant pressure to hit near-term goals, it’s easy for management to lose sight of the bigger picture. In fact, it’s not unusual for management to view marketing as a checklist of tactical activities, rather than a strategic, repeatable, and scalable business process. Therefore, it behooves Marketing Ops to codify a broader and more systemic perspective into the metrics and measures.
We believe that Marketing Ops should get beyond interim measures to understand the ultimate financial contributions and returns.
While intermediate metrics such as clicks, site visits, qualified leads, and so on, are certainly important for tactical improvement and optimization, they are wholly insufficient for making accurate investment decisions and driving more profitable growth. Marketing Ops must strive to achieve and deliver an end-to-end picture of performance, based on financial returns.
We believe that Marketing Ops should expand the scope of their reporting and analysis to include sales and pipeline performance data.
By definition, almost all “marketing” metrics in B2B environments are intermediate metrics, reflecting only that which happens prior to a handoff to a sales team. As such, true optimization of a marketing operation cannot be achieved without an in-depth understanding of follow-on sales processes and pipeline dynamics.
We believe that Marketing Ops should drive the structuring and measurement of internal marketing processes and procedures.
Effectiveness in the external marketplace is paramount, certainly. That said, internal marketing processes, procedures, and resource allocations all contribute positively or negatively to that effectiveness. Marketing Ops is in an ideal position to help transform what has traditionally been an ad-hoc “creative” function into a more rigorous and data-driven business practice.
We believe that Marketing Ops should report performance in ways that enable accurate judgements and encourage improvement.
Viewed in isolation, it’s difficult to tell whether any number is good or bad, or whether it’s improving or degrading over time. Therefore, Marketing Ops should monitor and report performance trends, rather than just provide the absolute numbers and ratios. Trend reports have an inherent directional expectation (up and to the right) and can enable more accurate qualitative judgments.
We believe that Marketing Ops should take an active role in not only defining the metrics and measures, but influencing them in a positive direction.
If management knew everything they needed to know to improve overall marketing and sales performance, they’d already be doing it. Therefore, Marketing Ops needs to move beyond merely reporting the numbers and help figure-out how to improve them. They need to become adept at diagnosing root-causes, devising scalable solutions, and driving execution.
Now, this little “metrics manifesto” may seem like a pretty tall order. It may seem very far from where you’re at today. But I can assure you that it’s definitely doable. How do I know? Because our research team is regularly interacting with marketing operations that have already made it happen. And if others have been able to make the transition, there’s every reason to believe that even more teams can do the very same thing.
To learn more about what leading Marketing Operations teams are up to, check out these on-demand webinars in the Journal:
- Building Data-Driven Marketing Operations — Transforming your marketing processes and culture to make better use of data.
- Masterful Marketing Operations — Exploring the traits, mindsets, priorities, and practices of successful Marketing Ops groups.
- The Fundamentals of Effective Marketing Analysis — The key analytical concepts and foundational elements that ensure meaningful results.