HomeBlog High-Performance Marketing: It’s Not What You Think

High-Performance Marketing: It’s Not What You Think

August 21, 2013 | Jessica Lillian

High-performance marketing effectively and efficiently creates measurable value where it is needed most and where marketing is best positioned to create it. However, many b-to-b organizations that believe they have high-performance marketing in place are actually looking at the wrong metrics.

What CMO wouldn’t want to lead a high-performance marketing team? In the current b-to-b environment, however, identifying and implementing high-performance marketing practices can be trickier than ever.

Jay Gaines, vice president and group director at SiriusDecisions, guided a group of executives through the high-performance marketing journey in a recent webcast.

If you missed the presentation, you’re in luck: We've gathered a few key points to give you an idea of the points that it covered.

As Jay explained during the webcast, today’s b-to-b marketers must take on an expanded scope of responsibilities to reach empowered buyers who are conducting their own research before talking to sales. At the same time, marketing is still struggling to prove its relevance in many organizations, which often focus on sales and product management.

Many CMOs approach this dual challenge with good intentions that do not work out. Jay recounted the experience of one new CMO at a large, complex b-to-b organization. The CMO, who had a sales background, aimed to align marketing with sales and fully meet sales’ needs.

Under the CMO’s guidance, marketing tracked every sales request, achieved single-day turnaround and boasted a 98 percent fulfillment rate. However, sales still reported that that marketing was “not very valuable.”

The problem? Marketing’s contribution, delivered through responses to ad hoc requests, was not measurable.

“High-performance marketing effectively and efficiently creates measurable value where it is needed most and where marketing is best positioned to create it,” Jay explained.

However, measurement can backfire. Many b-to-b organizations that believe they have high-performance marketing in place are actually looking at the wrong metrics.

Contrary to frequently held beliefs, high-performance marketing is not defined by the following metrics:

  • Solid click rates. High click rates may be a component of high-performance marketing, but they are an insufficient metric on their own.
  • Award-winning Web site design. Although marketing may earn kudos, the achievement is useless unless it is linked to demand creation.
  • Conference or other event success. Event evaluation must be tied to specific marketing-related outcomes.
  • Reliable responses to sales’ ad hoc requests. Exclusive focus on these requests can degrade the organization-wide view of marketing rather than enhance it.
  • Abundant leads delivered to sales. Like click rates, this number can be relevant but does not provide comprehensive evidence of high-performance marketing.

With all of these widespread misconceptions, organizations must first get rid of their assumptions about the critical role that marketing should play. Then, identify marketing’s priorities based on the needs of buyers and customers as well as sales and other internal functions.

For example, in some organizations, lead generation may be paramount. For organizations with a small quantity of prospects and clients, sales enablement could be the top priority.  Or, a marketing team might discover it is misdirecting its efforts to communications rather than demand creation.

A thorough examination will reveal what marketing can and should be positioned to support and help avoid future missteps. Marketing can then assess its performance in these areas.

Stay tuned for my next post, which will cover five characteristics of true high-performance marketing.

Jessica Lillian

Jessica F. Lillian is a senior editor at SiriusDecisions and has more than seven years of b-to-b editorial experience, including five years as the editor of national b-to-b magazines. Follow Jessica on Twitter @jessica_lillian

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