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Marketing Activity Metrics Mean Little: Here's How to Really Prove Marketing's Value

by Laura Patterson  |  
March 2, 2017
  |  3,296 views

Research published in AdAge at the end of 2016 helped decode today's five CMO priorities. Two of those priorities fell squarely into the domain of marketing performance management (MPM). The first priority was measurement. However, the study revealed that not just any kind of measurement will do: To be effective, you need to be able to measure Marketing's impact. The second priority was the need to do a better job of justifying Marketing investments.

AdAge was not alone in shining a light on those CMO priorities. The trend toward more compelling measurements of value were reflected in a Chief Marketer article that identified six trends for 2017, three of which included some type of measurement: cross-channel measurement, more sophisticated marketing measurement, and real-time attribution.

And a Forbes article predicted that 2017 is the year Agile Marketing will be taken more seriously. Why? Because "agile marketing results in a measurable improvement in marketing performance."

In another instance, Steven Wastie, CMO of Origami Logic, wrote that "2017 will the year of data and measurement.... Marketers will be under more pressure than ever before to prove accountability."

Perhaps you see the pattern emerging: For today's marketers, the challenge really isn't measurement; there is an abundance of metrics. The challenge is measuring Marketing's value and performance.


Notice we won't suggest that common three-letter term "ROI" as a way to demonstrate value. Although ROI is important, ultimately the goals of Marketing measurement should be to facilitate decisions and determine Marketing's contribution to the business. To that end, you need a way to measure the value Marketing creates.

Are You Sure Your Marketing Metrics Measure Up?

The number of data sources that businesses will rely on will grow 83% between 2015 and 2020, a Salesforce study forecasts. We will be able to measure even more than what we measure today. But, although it may seem counterintuitive, that isn't necessarily a good thing. With so much information, it is easy to find yourself sucked into a metrics vortex.


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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

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