Data-Driven Marketing | Step Four: Make Metrics Your Mantra

Data-Driven Marketing | Step Four: Make Metrics Your Mantra 897 535 C-Suite Network

by Lisa Arthur


Now that you’ve untangled the data hairball in step three, it’s time to explore a new key step in the process of data-driven marketing: making metrics your mantra.

How can CMOs demonstrate that their marketing efforts contribute value to the overall business? Use metrics to measure progress. By this I don’t mean “likes” on a Facebook status update or the number of unique visitors to the company’s website. I’m referring to actual results, like the returns from a media buy or an increase in qualified leads marketing provides to the sales team. I’m talking about showing exactly how marketing’s effectiveness is improving. To develop this kind of proof, though, you’ll need to learn to “make metrics your mantra.”

Many marketers are nervous, though, about implementing metrics. They fear they’ll open themselves up to more scrutiny this way. In “Big Data Marketing,” I talk about a CMO at an established financial services company who told me her team was concerned about measurement. They’d gone through several organizational changes recently, so I wasn’t surprised they were nervous about metrics — they feared metrics were something senior management could use to “manage” them right out of their jobs.

Others marketers feel that making metrics their mantra isn’t even possible; they’re tangled in a big data hairball and think modern marketing has become too complicated and unwieldy to be able to measure their marketing efforts accurately. As marketing leaders, though, we can’t give in to these types of concerns. We can’t settle for old marketing operational approaches anymore either.

To begin, figure out what you actually want to measure, and then determine how you’ll measure it. I go into more details about how to take these first steps in my book, but one example is making sure your leadership team is on the same page regarding Return on Investment (ROI), versus Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI), versus Return on Marginal Marketing Investment (ROMMI). You’ll have to decide which of these metrics is most relevant to your company and its business objectives.

One thing is clear: the C-Suite won’t be impressed with numbers that don’t tie to business results. Executives want results. Instead, use metrics that show how marketing efforts contribute to the company’s overall objectives, like ROMI, or the number of leads marketing has qualified for the sales team. Make sure you don’t get lost in your data, though. Keep your focus on results, and make sure everything ties back to your strategy. Understand what metrics matter and which outcomes will drive value to revenue and customer retention. Then, measure broadly and deeply. Take action on the revelations generated from the metrics so you can optimize your marketing.

CMOs today must have a holistic view of marketing. They must understand the best way to measure marketing initiatives and activities, and they need to make sure all employees at the company understand and see value in the metrics shared by marketing.

Just like the other elements of data-driven marketing I’ve covered in my previous steps 1-3, setting up metrics can feel a bit intimidating, but doing so is worth the time and effort you’ll invest. Aligned metrics will give you confidence about the decisions you make, provide insights into new priorities, enhance your accountability and strengthen buy-in and alignment across the enterprise. In “Big Data Marketing” I go into more detail about how John Petralia, Bloomberg, created a successful career by driving value for his company through strategic marketing alignment. He’s a wonderful example of someone who made metrics his mantra. Once you’ve jumped on board with metrics, you’ll be ready for my final step to data-driven marketing: “Process is the New Black.”

Hear more of Lisa’s marketing advice and wisdom in her interview with C-Suite Radio.

Lisa ArthurLisa Arthur is the Chief Marketing Officer for Teradata Applications, the leader in integrated marketing software. She meets with thousands of CMOs and marketing professionals annually through public speaking and events. Learn more about Lisa’s book, “Big Data Marketing,” and follow her on  Twitter @lisaarthur.