Mike Moran

By Mike Moran

Do You Trust Your Marketing Metrics or Your Gut?

Do You Trust Your Marketing Metrics or Your Gut? 150 150 Mike Moran

I have spent some quality time with a new client who is struggling with getting the C-Suite to recognize the value of marketing. Yes, it’s an old-line B2B company–how did you guess? They have a lot of data describing the success of marketing, but the C-Suite at their company would rather ascribe that to superior product or their go-getter sales team.

So, they asked us to do a competitive assessment of how much companies like them are spending on marketing. We found various studies and gleaned data from annual reports and we believe that the average is about eight percent of revenue spent on marketing. This client was spending less than a tenth of that. And we found many studies showing that higher marketing spending is correlated to higher revenue. Does that mean that it causes higher revenue? We can’t prove that, but maybe it is the way to bet.

Still, they weren’t sure that the C-Suite was going to accept the number. Did we compare apples to apples? Couldn’t their situation be different? Were some of those companies a lot bigger? We tried to explain that these were reasonable questions that might explain a 35% or 30% difference, but not a 90% difference.

But they know those are the questions they are going to get, so they are trying to prepare for them. The reason that they will get those questions is that their C-Suite has a history of going with their gut rather than the numbers–at least when it comes to marketing. (That’s the only way that you end up here, frankly.) Now, a new day might be coming, because they did decide to do this study, which provides some hope.

But in the end, every C-Suite executive needs to ask themselves whether they are smarter than the data. Because no one can change your mind on something you are sure you already know. You have to at least be a bit curious. A bit doubting of your own opinion. A bit open to the possibility that the world has changed.

If you are, you can model being data driven for everyone else. You can model changing your mind in the face of new information. You can model getting it right instead of being right. Ask yourself if your team doesn’t think that mere data will change your mind, and then ask yourself if you want them to be right.