Analytics-based insights derived from Marketing's data have become the lifeblood of both Marketing and the business. These data driven decisions are the critical component in improving Marketing's effectiveness as well as proving Marketing's value to the business. However, in order to formulate actionable recommendations that will be of value to the business, you have to ensure that you are offering insights into the business priorities that are advantageous to the C-Suite. Doing this begins by changing your focus from budget management to performance management and operating as a Best-in-Class (BIC) Marketing Center of Excellence.
If data is the lifeblood, Marketing Performance Management (MPM)—which Forrester describes as "a discipline that governs goal setting, monitoring, and continuous optimization of marketing's contribution to revenue and other priority business goals" – is the heartbeat of Marketing. Performance measurement and management requires Marketing organizations to optimize operations and adopt best practices in order to connect their investments to results. For Marketers, it takes operating as a Center of Excellence (CoE) by transforming into a center of competency focused on value creation, customer-centricity, outcome-based planning, and the related analytics to achieve this target.
But how do you know that you've achieved this level of excellence? The attributes associated with excellence need to be clearly identified so you know what to strive for and when the target is achieved. Since 2001, VisionEdge Marketing's annual Marketing Performance Management Benchmark study has explored what Marketers who earn high marks from the C-Suite do better and differently than their peers. The results indicate that marketers who earn the high marks are serving a value creator function within the organization.
The question, however, remains how do you become a BIC value creator that produces long-lasting benefits for the organization? You begin by benchmarking yourself against the other leaders in the industry with the following criteria:
1. Who are you aligned to? Those Marketers who choose to align themselves with the priorities that are important to the C-Suite are critically differentiating themselves from the pack as BIC marketers and giving their organization a longer shelf life.
2. Are you measuring what will be impactful to the business? Did you know that even out of BIC marketers, only about 80% transcend other marketing organizations' ability to select the right metrics? Being able to select the right metrics is a result of marketers knowing which business outcomes matter to the business leaders and then aligning Marketing to these outcomes.
3. Do you leverage data for a specific purpose? BIC marketers aren't enamored with data because they love numbers. No, data has a purpose. Those who know what data they need, where it is, how to access it, and how to use it will be the ones to make solid business decisions and strategic recommendations.
4. Are your analytics descriptive or predictive? BIC marketers are making fast strides in climbing up the analytics maturity model. They are reorienting themselves quickly from implementing descriptive and diagnostic analytics to utilizing analysis for its predictive capabilities.
5. Are your performance targets quantifiable and outcome-based? If your performance targets are not aligned to what outcomes the business needs, then they will never be of value. However, even if your targets are already aimed at business outcomes, you still need to pause and ensure that they are easily measurable.
6. Have you created a dashboard that is actionable? How to design an actionable dashboard is a massive subject of its own because you need a dashboard to fulfill two functions: allowing you to improve Marketing while simultaneously proving Marketing's value to the business. BIC marketers accomplish this dual functionality by have their dashboards oriented toward mitigating risk, facilitating decision making, and guiding course adjustments.
7. Do you pursue excellence? BIC-Marketers do not settle for the status quo. They continually strive to innovate on their ability to deliver business results by working closely with the business to prove their value. For these marketers, becoming a best-in-class center-of-excellence is the force that will continue pumping longevity and relevance through the Marketing organization.
Isn't it time if you learned if your Marketing organization has the endurance necessary to operate with a Best-in-Class designation? Take the 2017 MPM Benchmark study and find out. Check out this presentation to learn how you can crack the code on measuring Marketing's impact. In addition, read the 2016 MPM Benchmark Study, How to Make Progress on Your Marketing Excellence Journey.