Home Marketing Functional Area Definitions

Marketing Functional Area Definitions

June 21, 2018

Taking one of our benchmark surveys? The following definitions and examples should help you categorize your marketing spend to match SiriusDecisions' definitions. This information is relevant as input to benchmark analysis of your marketing budgets, as context for our biennial Tracking the True Costs of Marketing report, and as context for reviewing benchmark data on the SiriusDecisions Command Center™.

Marketing Program Budget Breakout by Function

Prior to 2018, the functional areas of marketing were limited to seven program spend areas and six personnel areas. All program and personnel spend data was accounted for in these areas. These areas are represented in the True Costs of Marketing 2018 report as follows:

  • Field marketing. All demand creation activities from cold to close, including new lead generation, lead qualification, pipeline acceleration and retention/loyalty. This includes the development and delivery of events and assets for the purpose of demand creation. Creative and brand-related expenses are not included unless they are one-time expenses tied to a specific demand creation activity. Tactics refer to both offers and delivery mechanisms. They include trade shows intended to meet prospective buyers, live events, webcasts, white papers, newsletters, search engine optimization, banner ads (pay-per-click), keyword purchases, contact list rental/purchase, third-party teleprospecting, email campaign service providers, direct mail, association marketing, content syndication, demos/trials, etc. This spend category also includes user conference(s), which are defined as large-scale events that are company-owned and meant to attract mainly current users for purposes of driving retention and loyalty and increasing the footprint in current accounts through cross-selling and upselling. The full suite of products is often showcased. (If the purpose of the event is exclusively for the development of product requirements, then it will be categorized under portfolio or product management.) A user conference is usually accounted for separately from field marketing because it tends to be a large expense and skews the field marketing spend; however, for the purpose of the True Costs of Marketing report, this cost is included in the field marketing program category.
  • Corporate/marketing communications. Corporate communications includes analyst outreach, public relations, social operations, and thought leadership content development and communication. Tactical spend includes the development of the corporate social media presence, such as blogs, social accounts and online communities, as well as annual reports, corporate newsletter etc. and events that are more corporate focused – e.g. an industry event where leads are not generated but participation is considered to be essential to demonstrate a presence in a market and typically showcase a vast array of the company’s products or solutions. In this model, corporate communications includes the cost of analyst relations, including subscriptions. Marketing communications includes advertising and brand marketing that does not address individuals or personas but is instead targeted at broad segments. Examples of advertising that falls into this category are broad brand-oriented ads and online advertising that focus on themes or brands rather than generating demand for a specific product or solution. Program costs include creative development and placement of advertising and logos. This also may include larger rebranding initiatives or sponsorships of third-party events or campaigns, such as community events, fundraisers and sporting events. Other program spend includes the Web site and any associated creative and centralized content development.
  • Product/solution marketing. All portfolio marketing spend including asset development for solution, product, service, industry and segment marketing. Tactical spend areas typically include offering (product/solution) documentation and marketing materials, buyer persona development, messaging and positioning development, targeting and segmentation, market testing or focus groups, win/loss analysis, etc. Many of these initiatives are carried out directly through events or field trips or through specialized third parties and contractors.
  • Channel marketing. Development and delivery of events and assets around recruitment, enablement and demand creation efforts focused on marketing to or with channel partners such as systems integrators, OEMs, application developers, service providers, distributors and resellers. Tactics include channel events, channel training and certification programs, co-op advertising, MDF and other communications and field marketing tactics that are done for partners as an audience or for partners to use with their prospects or customers.
  • Market intelligence. This category includes general market, competitive or customer-focused information that is gathered and analyzed through research that is commissioned from third parties, acquired from readily available reports or subscriptions, or gathered by conducting primary research.
  • Marketing operations. This category includes marketing-related measurement, reporting and analytics; process building and refinement; planning and budgeting; marketing technology landscape selection and governance; and marketing data management.
  • Executive. This category is tracked only for personnel spend. It covers headcount expense associated with the office of the CMO, including planning, strategy, chief of staff and overhead roles that support the entire marketing organization.

Drill-Down Budget Categories in the Command Center by Functional Areas

In the Command Center, there are additional drill-down categories for field marketing and corporate/marketing communications. These sub-categories present additional details of how companies allocate their personnel and headcount spend within the broader categories.

The field marketing category breaks down to the following sub-categories:

  • Demand creation/demand center. The design and orchestration, measurement and execution of multi-touch demand creation programs leveraging inbound and outbound tactics to drive demand creation objectives such as customer acquisition, exclusive of account-based marketing, channel marketing and programs run by field marketing. May operate as a shared service (e.g. demand center) at the headquarters or regional level.
  • Field marketing. Working at the country or local territory level to create plans; develop marketing/customer insights; and design, execute and measure programs.
  • Customer engagement. This sub-category includes customer experience, customer marketing and customer success functions. Programs include community, advocacy and loyalty programs; customer insights; and customer lifecycle and retention programs.
  • Account-based marketing. This sub-category covers marketing support for a defined universe of well-understood accounts, where sales and marketing work closely together, there are deep insights about the accounts, and marketing activities are tailored and customized for the specific accounts.

The corporate/marketing communications category breaks down into the following sub-categories:

  • Corporate communications. This subcategory includes analyst outreach, public relations, social operations, and thought leadership content development and communication. Tactical spend includes the development of the corporate social media presence, such as blogs, social accounts, online communities, as well as communications such as annual reports, corporate newsletter etc. and events that are more corporate focused. For example, an industry event where leads are not generated but participation is perceived to be essential to demonstrate a presence in a market and typically showcasing a vast array of the company’s products or solutions. In this model, corporate communications also includes the cost of analyst relations including subscriptions.
  • Marketing communications. This sub-category includes advertising and brand marketing that does not address individuals or personas, but is instead targeted at broad segments. Examples of advertising that falls into this category are broad brand-oriented ads, and online advertising that focus on themes or brands rather than generating demand for a specific product or solution. Program costs include creative development and placement of advertising and logos. This sub-category also may include larger rebranding initiatives or sponsorships of third-party events or campaigns, such as community events, fundraisers, sporting events, etc. Other program spend includes the website and any associated creative and centralized content development.

Understanding “SiriusDecisions Recommends” in the Command Center

In the Command Center, the categories described above are provided to facilitate the examination of peer sets, while the data from the True Costs of Marketing Report 2018 is presented as “SD Recommends” information in the gray bars. This does not mean that SiriusDecisions recommends that companies attempt to adjust their program and personnel spend to match these amounts exactly, since they represent the average of well-performing companies across a broad collection of responses to benchmark surveys. Every company should examine their own situations and plan their budgets accordingly.