HomeBlog Marketing Measurement: What’s the CMO Got to Do With It?

Marketing Measurement: What’s the CMO Got to Do With It?

March 21, 2017 | By Jennifer Ross

  • B-to-b CMOs are on a journey to getting marketing measurement right
  • Thirty-three percent of global CMOs plan to add marketing measurement skills to their team
  • The right skills are only part of the equation; the CMO has a vital role to play in measurement initiatives

The ability to effectively measure and communicate marketing’s contribution to the business is clearly a priority for every b-to-b CMO, but most would admit that they’re still on a journey to getting it right. In fact, SiriusDecisions’ 2016 global CMO study revealed that a third of the more than 270 global marketing leaders surveyed plan to add marketing measurement skills to their team. While having the rights skills on the team is certainly a critical element, it’s only part of the equation.

Marketing leaders rely on the skills and expertise of their marketing operations team to spearhead marketing measurement initiatives. On the surface, that sounds like a pretty reasonable thing to do. After all, marketing operations is the trusted right hand to the CMO. Unfortunately, however, marketing leaders sometimes take that too far, relying completely on their marketing operations leader/team to drive measurement initiatives without their involvement. They don’t have bad intentions – sometimes they just don’t fully recognize that they have a vital role to play. Here’s how the CMO can help ensure the success of the team’s measurement efforts.

  • Pave the way. Most initiatives, at least those with any significance, require executive sponsorship to be successful. A measurement effort is no different – it needs an executive sponsor to champion the project and allocate the appropriate resources to it. The marketing leader must also define the business goals and clearly articulate the mission and vision of the measurement initiative. To be successful, the measurement team needs to know what questions from the business must be answered. The marketing leader must set the stage by defining the scope of the initiative and outlining the specific measurement goals. It’s the CMO’s responsibility to ensure the rest of the organization is receptive to the measurement initiative by socializing and championing the effort across the organization, and communicating the benefits to the CEO and the rest of the leadership team.
  • Remove roadblocks. Once the measurement effort is underway, the CMO must be committed to helping remove any roadblocks to data gathering that the measurement leader/team may encounter. Ideally, if the marketing leader has done a good job paving the way for the measurement effort, there should be no significant roadblocks. Realistically, the team will probably have some obstacles it may not be able to overcome without the appropriate level of executive leadership. The marketing leader must commit to providing ongoing support.
  • Provide conflict resolution. The core measurement team will likely uncover some conflicting information as it goes through the discovery and requirements-gathering process. It may get a lot of requests for specific metrics or reporting from various stakeholders that aren’t necessarily aligned. It’s incumbent on the marketing leader to provide guidance on prioritization and preemptively resolve any conflicts that might result. The CMO should also review, validate and approve the metrics and reporting deliverables before any building begins. If there are still conflicts to be resolved or requests that won’t be fulfilled, the CMO may also need to communicate that information to key stakeholders on behalf of the measurement team.
  • Guide and validate visualization of the data. The marketing leader must guide the measurement team through the visualization of the data for the intended audiences. All key stakeholders who receive the output from this measurement initiative will view it from their perspective, and it can be really frustrating for the team producing the reports to hear, “This is great. Now can you show it by region, by vertical, by product line, by revenue band…?” The team’s ability to anticipate the desired visualization of the data will help reduce the amount of necessary revisions and the accompanying frustration. The marketing leader, who has a broad purview across all stakeholders, is in the best position to understand how the data will likely be viewed, interpreted and used for decisionmaking purposes.
  • Refine the process. Even the best laid plans can go awry. Once the output from the measurement initiative has been presented, the CMO must provide input to the core measurement team about the reaction. Did the visuals resonate? Did the results answer the questions being asked? The marketing leader also should approve recommended roadmap changes that the core measurement team is suggesting on the basis of other stakeholder input and or its experience with the data.
  • Monitor the efforts. Finally, the outcome of the measurement effort may be great in terms of delivering the expected results, but how much effort did it require? Not all measurement initiatives are fully automated. The CMO must weigh the value of the output against the level of effort required. Is there a risk that the effort is affecting the progression of other projects and initiatives or diluting performance in other areas?

The CMO’s active involvement is sure to drive an even higher level of success and create a culture for marketing measurement that is embraced throughout the organization.

Jennifer Ross

Jennifer Ross is the Service Director of Marketing Leadership Strategies at SiriusDecisions. Throughout her 20 years as an executive-level marketer, Jennifer has employed integrated, multi-channel inbound/outbound marketing campaigns to generate demand, increase brand identity and awareness, and drive business growth. Follow Jennifer on Twitter @Jenross17.

Featured SiriusEvents®

Join Us at #SDSummit