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More than six in ten CMOs (63%) say ROI on marketing spend will be the most important measure of their success by 2015, but only 44% say they are fully prepared to be held accountable for marketing ROI, according to the 2011 IBM Global CMO Study.

If CMOs are to be accountable for marketing ROI, their marketing organizations must first have fact-driven cultures. In many cases, that will require a significant cultural shift and changes in the personnel roster. Why? Because marketing accountability requires marketing professionals who have data, analysis, and measurement skills.

Whether such a shift is the beginning of a transformation or just the next stage of your journey, the following three practical ideas can accelerate your progress.

1. Establish clear alignment between Marketing and the business

Most marketing strategies and programs are designed to drive three primary business outcomes: customer acquisition, customer retention, and customer growth.

Marketing effectiveness and accountability starts with the alignment of program performance targets and marketing objectives with key business outcomes. Executive support in developing customer-centric business outcomes is one of the most important factors in creating that alignment.

However you go about it, make sure you have direct line of sight between marketing activities, programs, strategies, and objectives and the business outcomes.

Alignment is essential—both for establishing the right metrics and for identifying the primary data chains to support the development of your marketing 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