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Earlier this year, BtoB ran a story on the top anticipated trends for 2010. Once again, marketing accountability was high on the priority list.

According to the article, "while proving ROI on marketing performance is nothing new, the recession increased the emphasis on accountability and analytics, and this will continue even as a recovery gets under way."

The American Marketing Association defines accountability as "the responsibility for the systematic management of marketing resources and processes to achieve measurable gains in return on marketing investment and increased marketing efficiency, while maintaining quality and increasing the value of the corporation."

To truly be accountable, however, marketing professionals need to periodically report on their performance and contribution.

The progress or status report of projects, such as updates to the website,, an upcoming event, new collateral, or a direct-marketing campaign, are no longer enough because they do not address the questions the C-suite is most concerned about: what is working; what course adjustments, if any, are required; and whether the investments that the company funnels into marketing are properly allocated.

Marketers need to develop a more valuable and insightful way to report. Only a report that benefits both marketing and the C-suite can help optimize performance and make decisions that will enable the company to sustain a competitive advantage and react timely to external and internal factors.

Such a report needs to provide an at-a-glance view that quantifies the overall impact that marketing is having on the business and how well initiatives are increasing customer acquisition, retention, and share of wallet.

Within the industry, such a report is known as a dashboard.

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image of Laura Patterson

Laura Patterson is president and founder of VisionEdge Marketing. For 20+ years, she has been helping CEOs and marketing executives at companies such as Cisco, Elsevier, ING, Intel, Kennametal, and Southwest Airlines prove and improve the value of marketing. Her most recent book is Metrics in Action: Creating a Performance-Driven Marketing Organization.

Twitter: @LauraVEM