Marketing professionals talk a lot about collecting marketing analytics and performing data-driven marketing. With any marketing blog you visit or conference you attend, you can confidently count on hearing plenty of data-related buzzwords thrown around with frequency. You can’t really blame us. For years, the influence of specific tactics and larger marketing campaigns was extremely difficult to measure. Revenue attribution wasn’t a concept many could execute. Today, if anything, marketers are drowning in data. Unfortunately, more data doesn’t mean that businesses automatically know what to do with it.
The Five Levels of Marketing Maturity
With so much data at our fingertips, it’s easy to get distracted by the smaller marketing metrics and miss seeing the big picture. A mature marketing department has soared above giving disproportionate attention to activity metrics and looks to what really influences revenue (without discounting the role of those activity metrics entirely). Marketing organizations that are measured on sourced and influenced revenue are better aligned with sales and end up driving more revenue for the business. Read on to learn more about the different levels of marketing maturity, and tell us what you think.
Beginner (Level 1) – The Marketing Organization is Measured on Activities
On the lowest level of the maturity hierarchy, we have the marketing organizations that can’t look past the activities they’re completing. Are your marketing reports focused merely on the response to each marketing activity you execute: views on a blog post, shares on a Tweet, click-throughs on an ad? These can tell you something, but they don’t really help you pinpoint what actions are bringing in revenue. If your data is still fragmented and you don’t have a marketing automation platform in place yet, there is still work to be done.
Intermediate (Level 2) – The Marketing Organization is Measured on Inquiries
People or businesses that take the actual step of reaching out—these are much more valuable than the marketing analytics tied to individual marketing actions. When someone takes the time to give you contact information to download a white paper, request a demo, sign up for an email list, or any other step that requires being active in reaching out to your company, they’ve initiated a relationship. Assuming you’ve implemented a marketing automation platform and have a decent definition of leads, measuring inquiry goals against actuals as an important part of your larger marketing planning bumps you up to intermediate maturity.
Intermediate Plus (Level 3) – The Marketing Organization is Measured on Marketing Qualified Leads
That first outreach is just a first step. Some of those inquiries may come from competitors interested in your content, or people at businesses with budgets too small be a viable lead for your company. Sometimes they’ve shown some interest, but could clearly use a couple more steps in the buyer’s journey before it’s clear they’re for real. That judgment often requires a human—in this case, someone in your marketing department—to review the leads and weed out the ones that are hopeless. Then, after multiple rounds of nurturing, getting them to a qualified stage, or Marketing Qualified Leads. If your team is being measured on MQLs, your MAP is integrated to your CRM and you’re starting to make key decisions in a data-driven manner, your organization is likely in the Intermediate Plus level of marketing maturity.
Mature Adjacent (Level 4) – The Marketing Organization is Measured on Sales Accepted Leads
When you’ve reached level 4, you’re doing really well! These organizations that are just on the cusp of full maturity measure their marketing teams on the quality and quantity of Sales Accepted Leads (SALs) and Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs, sometimes known as Sales Qualified Opportunities). A high percentage of MQLs should turn into SALs, and you should be tracking the conversion rates across your waterfall frequently to see patterns even before a cohort of MQLs makes it through the marketing and sales funnel to closed deals. If your MAP and CRM are integrated and support full-cycle nurturing, marketing actively owns buyer personas and sales enablement, and data-driven decisions are the norm, you are at Level 4 of the marketing maturity scale.
Level 5 (Mature) – The Marketing Organization is Measured on Revenue
When both sales and marketing are measured on revenue creation, the marketing organization can be considered at peak maturity. These marketing teams are aligned to business goals and are creating value, not just campaigns. Continual realignment, improvements, and spend adjustments, all based on marketing analytics. These organizations can further improve by investing in predictive marketing analytics and customer touch point analysis to understand both the buyer and customer journey.
Revenue is the Whole Point
When the whole point of your marketing efforts (and your marketing spending, for that matter) is to bring in more money for the company, metrics that reveal marketing’s impact on revenue should be the most sought out and valued of them all. When you’re ready for a partner to help your organization become more mature and focus on revenue performance planning, look for Uptempo.