Metrics must show impact of marketing on revenue

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Paul Albright, chief revenue officer, Marketo
Paul Albright, chief revenue officer, Marketo

The way businesses and consumers buy things today has been forever transformed by the abundance of information available on websites and social networks. This is fueling a significant change in the way marketing teams work with sales to drive revenue. It also presents an incredible opportunity for marketing to reinvent itself as a core part of the company's revenue engine.

According to a recent IBM Corp. study, 63% of CMOs said marketing return on investment will be the most important measure of their success by 2015 — yet only 44% are fully prepared to be held accountable for it. If this is an inevitable imperative facing the marketing profession, marketers must start thinking more strategically about how their programs impact their business' own revenue.

It's also no secret that CEOs and boards don't care about the open rate of the latest email campaign or a press release's view numbers. However, they care about the cold, hard revenue numbers to which they relate. By speaking the same quantitative language as the CEOs and CFOs, marketers will better communicate marketing's value and impact to the executive suite. Indeed, metrics are the lingua franca connecting all parts of a business' operations.

Marketers must track and measure the impact of all key marketing activities. The key is focusing on quality over quantity, sharing metrics that show marketing's impact on revenue. At the end of the day, marketing leaders must be able to answer the following five metrics-centric questions:

  • What percentage of revenue comes directly from marketing spend and how has this changed since the last report?

  • What percentage of revenue comes from prospective buyers that come to the company inbound versus outbound?

  • What percentage of revenue is coming from slow leads (leads that came to the company without an urgency to buy in the short-term, but were nurtured by the company and 
are now buying)?

  • Which marketing programs and campaigns are most 
effective right now? Which ones aren't? 

  • How do you anticipate the program effectiveness and contribution from your current marketing mix to change over 
the next 12 months? 

There's no question that marketers need to take more control over their impact on revenue so that sales, CFOs and CEOs know how their marketing budget is affecting the bottom line. Metrics are the medium for marketers to achieve this and earn a respected, influential seat at the revenue table. Being able to answer these five questions is a major step in the right direction.

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