During a recent conversation, the VP of marketing at a well-established B2B company told me they couldn't address marketing measurement accountability now because they needed to address marketing automation first.
Multiple questions immediately ran through my mind:
"Will the leadership team accept the inevitable delay in communicating what Marketing is doing with the money and whether it is making a difference to the bottom line?"
"In what way will automation help them define their metrics?"
"How did we ever manage to measure and manage marketing performance before we had all of the latest technology?"
The marketing technology landscape is exploding. In just a few years we've gone from a few key technologies and a hundred players to dozens of technology options and nearly a thousand players. It's easy to get excited by all these sexy new tools. But it is a mistake to wait to address accountability until after you have addressed technology, even if it's just the marketing automation piece.
Why is that so? Because we know from over a dozen years of research that in performance management two best-practices are statistically significant for separating the best marketers from the rest of the pack: alignment and accountability.
Although automation matters, "A" Marketers focus on knowing which outcomes and metrics are essential to proving how Marketing is affecting and contributing to the business, and therefore which metrics need to be reported and improved. Armed with this information, the Marketing function can make decisions on what course of action and what investments will enable the Marketing function to serve as value creators.