• There is a difference between being a service provider for Sales or a value generator for the company, and as marketers, our future depends on the latter. Taking an external customer-centric view, rather than an internal Sales view allows Marketing to measure its value, and affect revenue and profit. This article describes both the role of service provider and value generator, with information on how you know which one you are, and five steps for making the transition from service to value orientation.
  • Companies need to make a myriad of strategic and tactical decisions on how they will operate in the market and engage with customers. One of the most important tasks for digital marketing is to differentiate the company and its products from the competition.
  • As it has been shown in a variety of ways over the past decade or so, the days of math-less, mindless, off-the-hip marketing have long set sail. So how do the once gun-slinging marketers of the past begin to tackle the voluminous unstructured data that is collected from nontraditional sources to harness the power of analytics? Big Data, derived from blogs, social media, email, sensors, photographs, video footage, etc. is and has always been the answer. Although Big Data isn’t new, most marketers are still wrapping their heads around the transformation of raw data into action.
  • The relationship between Marketing and Sales is at the core of how well a company attracts buyers and sells to them. This relationship is more than just a simple handoff at the point an opportunity is generated; it is the foundation for profitable revenue growth. This article outlines six best practices to facilitate alignment between sales and marketing.
  • When the time comes to begin creating the next year's marketing budget, many marketers submit their budget before even creating their Marketing Plan. If you don't have a plan for the initiatives you and your organization plan to employ for next year, how can you expect your colleagues in Finance to approve your budget? This is why marketing budgets are oftentimes returned from Finance with major monetary slashes and cutbacks. This article explores a new way to tackle the creation of a Marketing Budget that will greatly enhance your organization's ability to get its budget approved.
  • Various studies over the years have examined the relationship between content relevancy and behavior. Almost everyone would agree with the statement that "content must be relevant." So, what is the best way to measure relevancy? There are a number of best-practice approaches for measuring relevancy, many of them are complex and require modeling. This article outlines three steps any marketer can use to link interaction (behavior) with content and a method for measuring relevancy.
  • In today’s data-driven environment it’s important not to confuse marketing analytics with business acumen. Analytics may help facilitate or enhance business acumen or astuteness, but it certainly doesn’t replace it. This article outlines four tips for ensuring your Marketing Analytics are being put to work and not to waste.
  • Seth Godin, and lesser known folks, suggest that anyone can be a marketer. And you know it appears to be true. We have biology, art history, anthropology, and various other degreed folk practicing marketing. Maybe that’s why the marketing profession isn’t as well thought of as we would like by the C-Suite.
  • Over the past 200 years the discipline of marketing has continued to evolve, becoming more sophisticated and incorporating more complex channels. Competition has intensified and customers have moved into the driver’s seat. But one thing has remained the same, the root word “market” is still key to our success. As marketers navigate the dynamic fluid environment we need to return to our roots and ensure that all of the stuff we do and produce fulfills our purpose: finding, keeping and growing the value of customers. This article recommends three questions that successful marketers’ should answer in order to ensure that everything we do and create adds business value.
  • Although having a “loud megaphone” is beneficial to many companies, it is only one of many tactics that a marketer has at their disposal. The modern marketer must understand the mental process that their potential customer goes through in solving their problem at hand. By fully mapping and understanding this, the company can strategically place themselves in the customer’s buying journey.
  • Finance departments often criticize marketing’s inability to present a tangible ROI and use financial measures.Marketing and finance both have well-developed ideas about what value is and how it should be measured. Unfortunately, their ideas are very different.
  • During the last weekend of February, Laura had the honor of serving as a speaker at the 6th Annual Intelligent Content Conference in California. The event was sold-out, but surprisingly, while she was there, she did not run into a single CMO, Marketing VP, or Marketing Director. The people she did have the pleasure of meeting had titles such as content managers, technical writers, content operations managers, and several more. Managing marketing content is a vital part of a marketer’s job, so why were the marketing executives missing?
  • By monitoring experience, convenience, and differentiation, you will start to craft a much more comprehensive view of your impact on the customer's buying behavior and thus the effectiveness of your marketing programs. The closer you can link customer behavior to business outcomes, the better.
  • Marketing teams today have the ability to boil oceans of data and produce vast amounts of reports. Access to this information and refined analytical and process skills create an opportunity for us to generate business-relevant insights. We can move from tackling point problems with analytics, metrics, and automation to using these capabilities to act as organizational change agents. This article explores how Marketing is ideally situated to own the role of change agent and five steps for driving and impacting change within the organization.
  • Today’s marketers are under relentless pressure to obtain data, prove ROI, and justify decisions. Many marketers we work with have functional responsibilities and therefore their measures often reflect their role. Asking the question “How to measure the ROI of these tactics?” is the wrong question. There is almost no way to draw a straight line between the investment associated with these tactics, measures and business results. We have become so focused on measuring and improving the metrics up and to the right associated with the tactics that we may have lost sight of our real purpose in the business: find, keep and grow the value of customers. This is why it is important, essential actually, that our marketing measurement is part of our marketing governance initiative. A measurement policy can help guide your efforts and facilitate performance management. In this way, you can insure that you develop and consistently manage the processes, data, analytics, and measurement to support marketing investments and decisions that will effectively move the needle for the business not just improve the efficiency of a tactic. This article provides an marketing performance management policy example.
  • Selecting the right performance metrics and developing an actionable marketing dashboard is something many organizations are tackling. However, if the link between marketing activities and business results isn’t clear, you may find yourself wallowing in data.
  • Challenging and highly competitive business environments. Channel proliferation. The need to prove and improve marketing ROI. Budgets on the chopping block. Perceived primarily as an expense, Marketing executives face many obstacles. One of the only ways to avoid being “sliced and diced” is to generate measurable value and demonstrate Marketing’s impact on the bottom line.
  • Does your dashboard: 1)Inform the leadership team of the contribution and impact marketing is making on acquiring, keeping, and growing the value of customers? 2)Provide a direct link between your marketing programs and investments and business results? 3)Enable you to make strategic decisions? If your dashboard is not helping you with these three questions then it may be time to do some fine-tuning. Here are 3 things we look for when evaluating a marketing dashboard’s ability to facilitate decisions, improve marketing, and prove marketing’s contribution.
  • As marketers we need to take the macro-environment into consideration when we’re creating any plan. With the election looming, it makes sense that companies are working to understand the implications of the results for several scenarios. However, using the election and waiting on the results to create your marketing plan and taking a “wait-and-see” approach to your investments is probably not the best course of action. The future of your business is more likely determined by your plan of action or lack of than any election outcome. As we enter the election and planning season, this article presents five important planning reminders.
  • With the millions of bits and pieces of data available for us to collect, marketers must be capable of applying a discerning eye to identify the important patterns that lie within. This article addresses five data pattern detection approaches that all marketers should know, explaining their differences and when it is best to use each one. The marketers that are able to identify data patterns and distill them into something meaningful and actionable will be the ones to succeed in today's data-driven business environment.
  • Not having the right information means that market, customer, and product decisions will have to be based more on instinct and intuition than on facts. Whenever possible, this risky approach should be avoided. What information do you need to make those critical decisions? Having the right information readily available in an actionable, manageable and comprehensible marketing dashboard is essential for success. This article explores three key building blocks for creating a marketing dashboard.
  • The beginning of a New Year signifies a new start, and with that comes resolutions for the year ahead. We all have New Year's resolutions, and hopefully you made a few for your marketing, with at least one devoted to Marketing Performance Management. Making resolutions is the easy part, but keeping them is where it can get difficult. If you have yet to make a marketing resolution, this article provides four performance resolutions to choose from, along with a few tips for bringing them to fruition.
  • Shifting focus and lack of communication are two of the most frequent reasons why strategies fail. By keeping track of performance in comparison targets, companies can hold themselves accountable for the strategies that they adopt. Using these four steps in strategy execution, any company can improve their odds of success.
  • Creating a successful marketing plan is not fast, easy, or free. This article debunks the three most common myths that prevent marketers from developing a plan that improves and proves the value of marketing, and provides tips on how to approach this important project.
  • Customers are at the heart of every business, and that concept was reinforced over this past Valentine’s Day. While on a getaway over the holiday weekend, a hotel in San Antonio provided the best customer experience, almost guaranteeing that visitors will become repeat guests. With that in mind, now is the perfect time to share insight on one of the tools we think best enables organizations to provide this type of excellent customer experience—the customer experience map.
  • Use the four steps in this article to design a performance management and measurement system that serves as a continual, repeatable process that helps you measure, analyze, and act. Measuring the right things is paramount to making more informed decisions and successfully producing better predictable outcomes.
  • In order for a business to function effectively, we all need to be solid and dependable team players. However, you must also remember that there is a difference between collaborating and abdicating. Marketing leaders often times find themselves in situations where their power has been diminished, especially when it comes to authority over budgets and programs. This article provides some ideas on how marketers can "take back the reins" and re-gain their power in their organization.
  • Nearly everyone understands that the marketing function is vital to an organization's success. A center of excellence consists of subject-matter experts and uses methodologies and tools that enable shared learning and encourage the building of a performance-based team. By using outcome-based metrics, a center of excellence justifies the Marketing team. So, how far along are you in making Marketing a center of excellence? Check out the following infographic to see what makes for a successful marketing operations function.
  • Imagine you have two new customer acquisition programs in play: Program Excalibur produces 100 qualified leads and Program Camelot produces 50 qualified leads. At first glance, it might appear that based on volume, or the quantity of qualified leads, that Excalibur is the better program. What other metrics should organizations use to evaluate opportunities generated by Marketing? This article explores six additional pipeline metrics every organization should consider.
  • Marketing cannot be successful unless they forge a viable partnership with Finance. Unfortunately, in too many organizations, a disconnect exists between these two departments, making it more difficult than it should be to gain approval for marketing budgets--without significant cuts. While it's tempting to point the finger at someone else or circumstances, the major reason for this disconnect is that marketers do not speak the language of Finance. This article recommends an alternative approach for developing a Marketing budget and a dialogue for obtaining approval for a budget that will enable both Marketing and overall business success.
  • Many marketers have gotten so caught up in the creation of content, however, that they have forgotten how important it is to match marketing content with the customer buying journey and lifecycle.
  • Marketing Technology enables marketers to thrive in today's hyper-competitive business environment. The ability to identify exactly which technologies are needed, in which order, and how to effectively implement and use the tools is key to return on investment and success. The right investment in people is also required in order to realize the full benefit of these tools. This article explores the four different categories of Marketing Technology tools, and provides the basis for creating a roadmap to implement them in your organization.
  • Although many have embraced the collection of large amounts of data, many are still struggling with the synthesis of it. By firstly choosing the correct data sets, marketers can then follow this 5 step process to pull actionable, valuable insights from their collected data.
  • With the increased pressure on business leaders to be more personally accountable for the performance and conduct of their organizations, the emphasis on performance management has trickled down and across the organization, which of course includes marketing. A sound marketing performance management process is essential for enabling marketing professionals to demonstrate and communicate marketing’s impact on along with the contribution to the organization. This article explores three performance management terms often used interchangeably – marketing effectiveness, marketing accountability and marketing measurement – and the role these three complementary ideas serve in the performance management process.
  • Many marketers think that they can approach their marketing plan like a televised home makover-a few days and a few dollars and “voila” a new marketing plan! Well, the truth and myths of real-time television apply to the creation of a marketing plan. Here are three lessons we can learn from HGTV.
  • Two of the most valuable purposes of a marketing dashboard are to help our leadership team understand how Marketing is moving the needle in terms of top line revenue, market share, customer value, category ownership, etc. as well as to provide strategic guidance. However, one of more perplexing findings from the recently completed marketing performance research conducted jointly by Forrester, ITSMA and VisionEdge Marketing is that while marketers have access to more data, leverage more analytics, and have invested in more tools and systems than ever before, they continue to struggle to prove marketing's contribution to the business. This despite the fact that the majority of the marketers in the study indicated they regularly produce and share dashboards. These dashboards are primarily generated by marketing automation platforms and CRM systems. This article clarifies the difference between an activity tracking report and a dashboard that helps you improve and prove the value of marketing.
  • One of the key differences about the stellar performers is that these marketers view and present themselves as businesspeople first. This elite group is customer-centric above all else, and they are driven to transforming or establishing Marketing as a center of excellence within the organization. These marketers work at ensuring that Marketing focuses on producing results that matter to the business, particularly in customer acquisition, retention, and value, and they are able to communicate those contributions in ways that are relevant to the C-Suite. This article identifies the best practices they employ to give their marketing both a turbo charge and additional torque.
  • One of the key differences about the stellar performers is that these marketers view and present themselves as businesspeople first. This elite group is customer-centric above all else, and they are driven to transforming or establishing Marketing as a center of excellence within the organization. These marketers work at ensuring that Marketing focuses on producing results that matter to the business, particularly in customer acquisition, retention, and value, and they are able to communicate those contributions in ways that are relevant to the C-Suite. This article identifies the best practices they employ to give their marketing both a turbo charge and additional torque.
  • Customer Segmentation is not as easy as it once was. Each category and segment reflects a customer and by understanding the customers’ needs, wants, and buying process in a category you can make better strategy, product, positioning, messaging, channel, and content decisions.
  • Most marketers today are responsible for planning, directing, and controlling something -- at the very least a program or project. Part of our job is to enable our companies to make better, more informed decisions.Yet today’s marketers need to approach running the marketing organization as if they were managing a strategic business unit.
  • Marketers everywhere know they need to increase their analytical and accountability prowess. However, this effort is only worth the investment of time, people and money if you can use these capabilities to drive strategic decisions, actionable recommendations, and improve and prove marketing effectiveness. In fact, we believe the line between marketing analyst and marketing strategist will increasingly blur. Strategists need the analytics to stay ahead of emerging opportunities, respond quickly to unexpected threats, and make timely decisions.
  • Marketers everywhere know they need to increase their analytical and accountability prowess. However, this effort is only worth the investment of time, people and money if you can use these capabilities to drive strategic decisions, actionable recommendations, and improve and prove marketing effectiveness. In fact, we believe the line between marketing analyst and marketing strategist will increasingly blur. Strategists need the analytics to stay ahead of emerging opportunities, respond quickly to unexpected threats, and make timely decisions.
  • Although most markets are fiercely competitive, with so much focus on demand generation, many marketers cannot allocate sufficient resources to anticipating competitors’ moves.
  • Last summer, SpencerStuart reported their latest findings for the 8th annual CMO tenure study. They found that the tenure for CMOs is now nearly 4 years compared to just 2 years back in 2006. While CMO tenure varies across industries, there are several attributes long-tenured CMOs share.
  • Last summer, SpencerStuart reported their latest findings for the 8th annual CMO tenure study. They found that the tenure for CMOs is now nearly 4 years compared to just 2 years back in 2006. While CMO tenure varies across industries, there are several attributes long-tenured CMOs share.
  • Laura Patterson was interviewed for the upcoming 2012 Bridge Conference and was asked to offer tips for marketing pros attending the conference. Read this article to see what advice she had for marketers.
  • As we create more content, marketers are trying to understand the role this content plays in the buying process and which components have the greatest impact on generating conversation, consideration and ultimately consumption. So it’s no surprise that marketers are trying to understand how to leverage both marketing mix attribution and optimization models. Both attribution and optimization modeling are about improving mix and understanding the impact of marketing investments on customer behavior. This articles what these models are, when to use them, how they are different, and outlines various approaches for measuring attribution: first/last touch, equal, and fractional.
  • Some marketing questions require robust analytics. For example understanding what mix of channels are driving sales for a particular product or in a particular customer set or what sequence of channels is most effective. These types of questions often require large sets of data, or what is being referred to as Big Data. Study after study shows that marketers are struggling with mining and analyzing data in order to derive valuable insights, actionable intelligence and managing performance. This article explains Big Data, why it is important, and suggests six steps for using it.
  • An effective sales playbook characterizes the roles and responsibilities for you (and your sales team), lays out clear objectives, identifies metrics for measurement, and provides a common framework and approach for closing sales. Having a “killer” playbook, which incorporates Marketing & Sales Alignment, enables you to sell more effectively, handle different selling situations, position against a particular competitor, and/or communicate the value proposition in the buying process. This article outlines exactly what your playbook needs to include, and how to create it, so that you have constructed the best strategy required to accomplish your, and your company’s, goals.

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