Ted Levitt, author of The Marketing Imagination, writes, "The role of marketing is to create and keep customers." A marketing plan is a valuable instrument in helping Marketing plot a course of action for how it will go about creating and keeping customers.

Now that fall is here, you are likely tackling your marketing plan and budget. The pressure for marketing organizations to justify their spending, prove their programs' contribution to the organization, and demonstrate value is only increasing.

A study this summer by Forbes Insights found that being able to measure marketing is "not taking a backseat" and that proving "how budgets are used remains a strong priority."

Given the current economic climate, it is important to make every investment count. The issues of alignment and accountability are inextricably linked. Without alignment between Marketing and the business, it's impossible to quantify the value Marketing is providing to the business, let alone focus on the right metrics to establish progress toward helping the organization achieve its goals.

And without the ability to demonstrate value, the budgeting process becomes a game of guesswork because there is no link between expenditures and desired results.

This past summer, a study with more than 4,000 top marketers by The CMO Survey found that marketing spending is expected to increase—with the caveat that Marketing be able to measure its impact.

An initial step every marketing organization can make, regardless of whether it has sophisticated data systems or measurement tools, is to develop a customer-centric, metrics-based marketing plan.

Such a plan serves as the foundation for improving marketing accountability. If developed properly, it will provide you with guidance on how to measure Marketing's effectiveness and value.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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