Marketing’s primary function is to grow revenue, but marketers aren’t very good at measuring it or proving it, according to a new Marketo whitepaper that I recently helped develop late last year.

The results of the study conducted by Marketo and ADMA confirm much of what Which-50 has learned anecdotally in recent years. Reviewing the research we have conducted at the Which-50 Digital Intelligence Unit and across more than 20 round table conversations with senior executives from marketing, digital, and IT,  a clear pattern emerges.

Company leaders clearly want their CMOs to step up. And some notable Australian marketers have done just that. But many are still struggling with the transition and holding firm to the comfort and certainty of the old way of working.

The attitude to revenue as a measure of success is a good example of the disconnect between some marketers and their company’s executive teams. To an outsider, this seems almost uncontestable. Yet, while marketers say they are comfortable being measured on this, most still struggle – or don’t even try – to measure the impact of the work they do on their organisation’s top line.

Numbers tell the story

As the study which Marketo and ADMA conducted last last year makes clear, “61 per cent of marketers say they are only fair or poor on this [revenue contribution] measure. Only 9 per cent rate themselves as excellent.”


Can You Demonstrate the Value of Marketing?


Revenue growth is ranked as the top expectation (20.6 per cent) of marketing departments, according to that research. Acquiring new customers (19.5 per cent) and improving the customer experience (17.9 per cent) round out the top three expectations.

The research report, Can You Demonstrate the Value of Marketing?, surveyed over 440 Australian marketers and interviewed more than a dozen CMOs and C-suite executives. It found times are changing for marketing. Yet it seems some marketers are still playing catchup.

But organisations must also understand marketing’s changing role and its place within the organisation. And it is clear from the work we do with non-marketing c-suite executives that too few understand that marketing is much more than just the campaign activity.

“Too often companies allow internal structures to create division between marketings approach to brand and direct response. Companies need to understand in the mind of the customer it is the same thing,” the authors said. “Customers don’t think of different channels as different brands and they are right. Instead, it is beholden on companies to make sure the end-to-end experience ties together.”

Marketers are hoping marketing technology can assist in demonstrating both marketing’s changing role and its contribution to revenue.

Change agenda

In addition to the quantitative research by Marketo and ADMA, Which-50 reality tested the results by deep diving behind the numbers with 12 senior marketers and managing directors.

Happily the two sets of results align.

The message from the leaders we spoke to was a reinforcement of the idea that this is a complex time for marketers. Those we spoke to say more has changed in the last five years than the previous 20 years.

One speaker at an event I attended recently nailed the problem precisely. “We are experiencing the fastest rate of change we have ever seen but it might be the slowest rate of change we will ever see again.”

About the author

Andrew Birmingham is the director of the Which-50 Digital Intelligence Unit. Marketo is a corporate member of the Which-50 Digital Intelligence Unit. Members provide their insights and expertise for the benefits of our readers. Membership fees apply.

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