As marketers, we talk a lot about the pursuit of excellence.
How you run marketing influences how you do marketing. But how exactly can we run marketingbetter How do we figure out where improvements will make the most impact, what those changes should be, and where do we even start
In order to stand out above the crowd, to capture our customers’ attention, and then to convert that attention into action, we are continually striving to do better marketing.
Just as they continually aim to create better customer experiences, so the most successful marketers also seek ways to better manage the investments that go into making this execution happen because thoughtful spending leads to better decisions. In other words, they strive for excellence in marketing performance management (MPM).
Ways to #RunMarketingBetter
The Marketing Performance Maturity Model is a framework that breaks down marketing performance into six dimensions. It’s a useful tool to assess your organization’s maturity in each of these areas, and help you identify next steps for improvement.
Here, we’ll take a brief look at each one, and provide some examples to spur ideas as you identify your next steps to #RunMarketingBetter.
Executive vision refers to marketing leadership’s ability to articulate and get buy-in for exactly what the marketing organization is trying to achieve. When executive vision is strong, leaders can envision and communicate what the organization will look like in 2, 3, or 5 years—and beyond. It’s important to remember that the vision has to relate to the department’s marketing performance and how the department will proactively manage and optimize it’s inputs and outcomes.
While this is one of the most important dimensions in how your marketing organization is run, it’s the one over which an individual marketer has the least direct control. Still, there are definitely steps one can take to help run marketing better in this area.
How to recognize a challenge in this area:
Examples of how an individual marketer can #RunMarketingBetter in this area:
“At Box, any marketer around the world can see what the rest of the marketing organization is planning to do, and align their objectives to the corporate objectives as well. This helps us to run marketing better.”
Tim West, Senior Manager, Marketing Operations at Box
This dimension is all about the fit between the people on your marketing team and the challenges at hand. A team can buy great technology, have ample budgets, and have a clear and powerful vision, but without the right competencies to execute, it will be left with missed opportunities.
“Using a marketing performance management tool] makes my job easier because when I’m improving the experience for the budget editors, making it easier for them to keep track of their budget, I’m also improving the data that I’m feeding my stakeholders. Those two things are not in competition, they’re very much complementary.”
Zoe Marquardt, Marketing Investment Programs Manager at NI (formerly National Instruments)
Like nearly all other departments in a business, Marketing depends on its peers in other parts of the organization to execute on the company’s objectives.
Where inter-department alignment is strong, Marketing is a trusted ally and partner to their closest collaborators: Sales and Finance. Where such alignment is weaker, the different departments operate in silos and have differing goals that do not seem to serve a common purpose. If Marketing hits its objectives, but is disjointed from the rest of the business, chances are it has not truly created the impact the company needs.
“I probably spend more time in our marketing performance management tool thank in our ERP because it has the full picture, from budget to actuals to results, and I can’t get that elsewhere… certainly not in a meaningful timeframe. It helps me help marketing make better decisions.”
Carey Rutigliano, Financial Planning & Analysis, Cloudera
When we talk about data visibility, this means both access to data and clear metrics that help run the marketing business. When data is fully visible, every marketer can get easily see how their activities and investments are performing, and feel confident about what to do next because they have a data-informed sense of what’s working and what’s not.
Organizations who are mature in this area go beyond tactical performance measurements. Additionally, they routinely capture business impact measurements–those higher up on the hierarchy of measurements.
“Every marketer in your organization is in charge of contributing to pipeline and revenue targets. It’s not just the CMO and marketing operations anymore. And the way to achieve this is to centralize all your data on one platform where it is linked back to plan and budget. It has to be a self-service system, and every marketer needs visibility, not just the power users.”
René Bonvanie, CMO, Palo Alto Networks
A close cousin to data visibility, data cleanliness refers to the quality, accuracy, and completeness of marketing data. Where data cleanliness is strong, there’s a single view of the truth shared not just by all groups within marketing, but also by other departments such as Finance and Sales.
Uptempo allows us to maintain data quality and data integrity, and also change that as quickly as anything changes in marketing.
Danielle Evangelista, Marketing Operations Analyst, FireEye
Last but not least comes the dimension of technology adoption, which refers to the appropriateness, sophistication, and connectedness of your marketing tech stack. Marketing technologies allow teams to achieve scale and efficiency, and are truly a difference-maker for the best organizations.
Strong technology adoption means more than just having licenses to all the latest and greatest tech tools—it means that there is intention and strategy behind their selection, and that the integration points between them are clearly documented. They’re highly automated, available to marketing end-users on a self-serve basis, and are purpose-built for the job at hand.
“We used to operate within a bunch of Excel spreadsheets with the data in a finance format and a minimum of six week lag time, so it was really difficult for us to have a good feel for what was going on in the business today, and being able to react within the quarter, let alone the year. This led me to figure out a better way to get out of spreadsheets, to have a collaborative platform for my global marketing team… it wasn’t just a technology for us, but a way to make sure that we were able to develop and bring along the organization to get to our shared goal.”
Sean Hiss, Director of Marketing Operations, Equinix
No matter the size or scope of the marketing organization, these common aspects of the MPM journey offer real opportunities for marketers to optimize their processes, methodology, and approach. And it’s important to remember that it’s called a journey for a reason—improving your marketing performance is not a one-time thing. As your organization improves how it tackles the customer experience challenge (or the ‘do’ side of marketing) and also as it naturally grows and evolves, there will be many points at which you and your team can pause to evaluate how you run marketing, and identify some next steps.
There is always a next step to improved marketing performance. Find yours, and take it.