The Strong Keep Getting Stronger

John Follett

Best-in-Class Marketers Continue to Improve Their Impact on the Business

by Jerry Rackley, Demand Metric and Laura Patterson, VisionEdge Marketing

Today’s marketers certainly feel the pressure, not just to stay busy, but to prove their worth by measuring their value and contribution to the business. The question the C-suite often has for marketing is: “what have you done for us lately?” Most marketers are facing this constant scrutiny regarding their performance and contribution. Very few, however, are responding to it in a way that inspires confidence.

The 2015 Marketing Performance Management (MPM) benchmark study measured this pressure, finding that 83% of the participants feel it. It is a persistent and all too familiar force at work on the marketing team, yet, the way marketing organizations respond to it differs significantly, and those differences are defining. VisionEdge Marketing and Demand Metric just completed the 14th annual study that reveals differences in how marketing organizations do more than just keep their seat at the corporate leadership table, but also earn greater credibility and influence. The study details how some marketing organizations are achieving best-in-class performance measurement and management, earning recognition as a Center of Excellence and getting the associated benefits.

When it comes to grading the performance of marketing organizations, just 1 in 5 marketers get an “A” from the C-Suite for marketing’s ability to prove its value. Data collected over the 14 years the study’s history provides insight into the characteristics of these groups:

  • A’s: This group is more strategic and data-driven. Their primary focus is to create value for customers and the business. This best-in-class group leads all others in terms of performance and they are known as Value Creators.
  • B’s: This group sees their primary role as serving the sales team. Their focus is on demand generation. They represent the middle of the pack in terms of performance and are known as Sales Enablers.
  • C’s and D’s or lower: This group operates as a service provider or internal agency to the organization, producing marketing outputs as scheduled as well as on demand. Compared to other marketing organizations, they represent the Laggards in terms of performance and are known as the Campaign Producers.

The MPM study has tracked marketing grade trends over many years, and marketing is not getting better. Despite constant pressure and greater investment in technology to support performance measurement management, the number of marketers achieving excellence in this area isn’t increasing.   In the 2015 study the number of elite, Business Value Creators (A’s) and Sales Enablers (B’s) declined, while the number of Campaign Producers (C’s and D’s) increased. In fact, the number of elite marketers has steadily declined over the past three years.

 Chart 3

The percentage of Value Creators has declined over the past three MPM surveys.

The study found that only the Value Creators do a respectable job of clearly showing the leadership team how marketing is impacting the business.

 Chart 2

Almost two-thirds of Value Creators strongly agree that leadership understands their business impact, a 40-point delta to the Sales Enablers.

An alarming trend is how few of the Sales Enablers and Campaign Producers agree that it’s clear to their corporate leaders how marketing is impacting the business. There is a substantial gap between the Value Creators and the Sales Enablers, and the Value Creators and Campaign Producers is significant and growing.  Since the 2013 study, the Value Creators have outdistanced all the other marketers.

The Value Creators earn such high marks for a reason. When it comes to key business indicators such as win rates, customer retention, and new customer acquisition, the Value Creators far outpace their counterparts. The average gap between Value Creators and Campaign Producers for these business indicators is 40 percent!

 Chart 1

Over half of Value Creators showed improvements in each of these areas.

Find out how this elite group of marketers excel at MPM, what core competencies they are building, and steps each group can take to accelerate their MPM initiatives at the free webinar, Tales from the Marketing Performance Pack Leaders, on April 29th at 9 am eastern.

Tales from Leaders VEM