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How to Answer the Age-Old Question, 'What Has Marketing Done for Us Lately?'

by Rani Hublou  |  
November 20, 2014

In the last three years, there has been a tremendous transformation in marketing. We have infinitely more data to tap and analyze, many more tools to use in each stage of the funnel, and new, fast-changing ways to engage customers.

What hasn't changed, though, is the prevalence of the age-old question, "What does marketing do, and why do we spend so much on it?"

As marketing budgets and buzzwords increase, the question is more prevalent than ever.

Unlike development and engineering teams that produce tangible products, and sales teams that close deals, Marketing often lacks a clear line of sight between action and outcome. When resources are scarce or when growth slows, it's not uncommon to look at Marketing and question the investment, thus making Marketing a lightning rod—that is, unless the marketing team has communicated (within the company) its goals, metrics, actions, and progress... and it delivers against those goals.

The following tips can help you set great goals, communicate them within and beyond the marketing team, and ensure you achieve them.

1. Align to company goals and measure Marketing by them

Instead of defining inward-facing goals about marketing, set goals tied directly to the results the company needs to achieve. Measure marketing outcomes directly tied to company outcomes; doing so will help you make a real impact and keep the team from confusing marketing programs and spending with marketing results that matter.

2. Motivate and mobilize your team

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Rani Hublou is CMO of OneLogin. She is responsible for accelerating revenue and engaging prospects, customers, and partners through a highly targeted portfolio of market-facing initiatives. Rani holds both a Bachelor and Masters in Engineering from Stanford University.

LinkedIn: Rani Hublou

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  • by Ford Kanzler Mon Feb 9, 2015 via web

    Some useful ideas at very high level, but the article lacks concrete examples of the general recommendations. In particularly missing is how to tie marketing outputs (tactics) to business outcomes. I'm aware this is extremely challenging. However, this is the kind of complex metric that management very often asks for, i.e. "What are we getting for our marketing investments?" Marketing ROI seems to very quickly get crazy-complex.One solution I've heard is "only do what's measurable." However, my take is that leaves lots of highly effective, but difficult to measure actions off the table.
    Using Salesforce is great for online measurement. Unfortunately the world doesn't totally hinge on online marketing activities. Marketing measurement in general seems to be a slippery topic, especially if the CEO is a metrics fanatic. The extreme (nuts!) example from my experience was having a CEO once ask what the payback of news announcement would be (!). My response was explaining what would likely occur if we DIDN'T issue the news. Not the best answer but it worked.

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