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One of the companies we're working with is planning to make a significant change to the way Marketing operates. The company has done as much internally as possible, relying on external experts on a very limited basis.

It is now moving toward using more external experts because increased competition makes it imperative to harness the value of strategic—not just operational—speed.

Does strategic speed really matter? Companies that increased their strategic speed improved their top and bottom lines, averaging 40% higher sales and 52% higher operating profits over a three-year period, according to a Harvard and Economist Intelligence Unit study conducted with 343 businesses.

Along with analytics, alignment is a critical aspect of strategic speed. IBM's 6th annual study, Analytics: The Speed Advantage, found that speed-driven data and analytics have a significant impact on business performance.

Marketers can deliver on the value of speed to provide competitive advantage by upping their analytics and alignment game:

  • Alignment is essential for any business to realize its financial targets, and achieving financial targets requires finding, keeping, and growing the value of customers—all three of which fall squarely in the domain of marketing.
  • Analytics and the customer and market data that enable insights can help marketers with a keen understanding of the business to guide and focus the organization on the best opportunities.

How can you improve your alignment and analytics skills and results?

1. Align marketing strategy with business strategy

Strategy is at the heart of your company's ability to realize growth. Strategy is how you are going to make your company matter to the right market.

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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