A new year is upon us and once again B2B marketing departments are front and center when it comes to generating revenue for their companies. Being a growth engine has been the norm for marketing departments over the last number of years, however many marketing organizations are struggling to meet these expectations.
As marketing departments continue to mature, here are three areas that CMOs can focus on to ensure they do indeed become a revenue center for their companies.
Build a Solid Data Foundation
The amount of data that exists in most B2B organizations continues to grow and in the words of CMOs who were surveyed by Conductor in their latest Marketing Executive Study is “overwhelming”.
While data management is not one of the sexier jobs of marketing, it is a must, as data is foundational to the success of marketing and their mandate. Often times organizations miss the first step in the development of strategy and that is the health of their data.
As stated in DemandGen Reports Database Strategies Research, B2B practitioners are quickly realizing that the ability to shift messaging, campaigns and channels is dependent on having reliable, accurate and robust data.” Which may be why 30% are stating they are going to spend more than 10% of their budget on database management. While this is encouraging, the fact that 83% state their database is old and outdated; those looking to invest should be much higher.
Advance Their Analytics Capability
In their Marketing Performance study, Vision Edge Marketing states that 40% of marketing organizations earn "low marks from the C-suite for performance management and measurement.” Additionally, according to the aforementioned Conductor study, only 10% of marketing leaders state they can “easily measure their global marketing efforts.”
With this being the case, it is no wonder why Gartner is predicting the reduction of marketing budgets in the new year.
Marketing is no longer in a position to get by with vanity metrics such as social shares, web visits, downloads and form fills disguised with the word leads. Additionally, CMOs need to know exactly what is driving growth, unlike one CMO I spoke to who said, “we had a good year, but I am still uncertain as to what is working and not working.”
CMOs need to establish an approach and analytics strategy that measures their business impact and the return on their marketing investment.
Being able to demonstrate marketing’s impact on customer retention, account growth, acquisition of new customers, etc. are key to justifying the investment that organizations need and want to make in marketing.
With the inability to communicate the revenue impact that marketing is having on the business, it is increasingly hard for C-level executives to funnel more money into the machine. If CMOs want 2018 to be the year they gain a seat at the executive table, they need to improve their analytics.
Hit Pause on Technology Purchases
As demonstrated recently by Scott Brinker’s MarTech Super Graphic, there is no shortage of options for marketing technology and 68% of marketing executives in the Conductor study are planning to spend more.
While technology can certainly provide benefits, it is not a strategy. Despite the continued increase a recent report by Dun & Bradstreet shows the majority of B2B marketers have yet to take advantage of the more advanced features of the technology they own.
Before CMOs approve another technology purchase, they need to document their strategy and then determine what, if any technology, they will need to implement it. While it is tempting to jump at the shiny new toy, it could be possible that marketing goals could be achieved without the adoption of new technology . . . something that should be given serious thought.
The role of marketing departments is not getting any easier as the world of B2B customers and buyers continues to evolve and become more complex. However, CMOs need to ensure they are not becoming their own worst enemy and adding to their issues. By taking a measured approach and focusing on some key areas, they can establish themselves as a revenue center and justify further investments.