How to Show Marketing’s Impact in Five Steps

April 16, 2019

“You know–for kids.”

In The Hudsucker Proxy, that one-liner accompanied by a drawing of a circle was all it took–more or less–for Norville Barnes (a naïve business graduate) to convince Sidney Mussburger (a ruthless member of the board of directors) to back his invention, the hula hoop. In the film, the invention puts Hudsucker Industries back on the path to profit. Although the outcome wasn’t what Mussburger was trying to accomplish, the point is that the CEO bought into Barnes’ vision based on a napkin drawing and the most basic of all possible positioning statements.

In the real world, marketers have no such luxury. We’re expected to be much more thorough in our analysis of opportunities, our plans to maximize returns, and our delivery of key results to show the impact of our efforts. These three core tenets of Marketing Performance Management (MPM) mean it’s no longer acceptable to have huge gaps in marketing spend visibility, which at Uptempo we have seen get as high as 50% of the total marketing spend for some organizations.

Fortunately, there are things you can do right now to highlight your accomplishments within your team and across your organization. Here’s what every marketer should know about demonstrating impact and showing off the results.

1. Adopt a Visibility Mindset

For marketers, embracing accountability is a powerful step towards achieving top-notch results, so never fear better visibility into spend! Much like a free-market economy where resources get allocated to the most profitable businesses, marketers who can demonstrate how they’re driving results will get increased resources for their programs. Surpassing your targets can earn you more budget and more freedom to pursue big wins.

2. Track Your Spend

Tracking where marketing dollars are being spent is the first step to mitigating a range of risks to marketing goals, including the following:

  • Budget claw-back
  • Interference in marketing planning
  • Inability to defend influence on the business
  • Eroding C-suite trust

Avoiding these pitfalls is hugely beneficial for a marketer, but you can’t do that with charisma alone. The team needs to make a unified effort to track how money is allocated across plans and programs.

3. Focus on Metrics that Prove Impact

More and more, marketers are embracing analytics as the key to a high-performing marketing team, but before you start sorting through reams of data, simplify your approach. Focus on tracking two fundamental data points really well: your investments and your returns.

Showing the impact of your decisions means you must have the integrated systems in place to track your spend across teams and programs, with the ability to show how much revenue you were able to generate. All the fancy engagement metrics in the world won’t turn heads if your results don’t shine. What matters most is your contribution to the bottom line.

4. Get a True ROI Snapshot

Don’t let the thought of sifting through all the data in your marketing technology stack give you an anxiety attack. Just make sure your technology is getting you the data you need to prove ROI.

In the B2B world, your CRM system is where you track returns, such as overall pipeline, pipeline stage, and actual bookings. A CRM system lets you get your hands on returns data on a weekly, daily, or even hourly basis. But that’s only half the picture because tracking your investments is equally important. Using a Marketing Performance Management (MPM) software lets you track marketing forecast and spend.

Integrating your CRM with your MPM software avoids manual and error-prone methods of connecting returns to investments. With the right MPM configuration you can slice and dice data to see how your investments and returns measure up against your goals.

5. Show Them What You’re Made Of!

By connecting your investments to your returns and collecting real data to back up your results, you can confidently walk into any meeting and say “This is what I spent and this is what I generated. Any questions?” This earns the trust of your team and the company plus gives you the leverage and respect you need to move forward with your marketing plan.

Without accountability we are rarely in true control, especially when it comes to influencing high-level objectives within an organization. You can avoid this fate by mastering your marketing performance domain, gathering insights informed by real numbers, and showcasing the undeniable impact you’re having on the business.

Check out our Great Big Guide to MPM ebook series for more content like this.

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