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What distinguishes excellence among marketing organizations? What do best-in-class marketers do better and differently that enables them to achieve marketing excellence at their organizations? In many instances, the differences are subtle.

Since 2001, VisionEdge Marketing and a variety of partners have been evaluating the quality and merit of marketing organizations in terms of their ability to measure Marketing's impact, value, and contribution. The purpose of this research is to understand the often-subtle differences that distinguish best-in-class (BIC) marketers from the rest of the field.

A key aspect of our research for the past 16 years has been the grade the C-suite gives Marketing. Survey participants rate their marketing organizations using a 100-point scale, where 100 is the highest achievable score. The scale is 90-100, 80-89, 70-79, and 69 or lower. Those marketers who receive 90 and higher are rated an A; those 80-89 are rated a B; those 70-79, a C; and those 69 or lower, a D.

This year, as in previous years, the percentage of marketing organizations earning an A remained at 23%, or just slightly more than 1 in 5 Marketing groups. The number of Value Creators or BIC marketing organizations seems to have stalled out, whereas D-rated marketing organizations continue to increase.

An extensive study by the American Management Association found that the largest gap between high-performing organizations and low-performing organizations was whether organizationwide performance measures matched the organization's strategy: "The proper alignment between performance and strategy seems to make a big difference to organizational success."

Through the employment of marketing performance management (MPM), marketing organizations evolve into high-performing organizations that in turn help drive high performance throughout the entire organization. Marketing organizations that want to survive and thrive must wholeheartedly aspire to serve as Value Creators by embracing MPM.

This year's study revealed six ingredients that this elite group of marketers—Value Creators, who are ranked among the top 23%—use better or differently to achieve higher-marks from the C-Suite for their ability to measure and report on their contribution to the business. As a result, Value Creators achieve better results for the business, gain more influence over business decisions, and experience greater credibility.

About the study: The 2017 MPM Benchmark study was conducted by VisionEdge Marketing in partnership with Hive9 and Valid USA. The online study was fielded March 1, 2017 through April 7, 2017. Data from 418 qualified survey responses was used in the analysis. Some 30% of the participants were members of the C-suite, with titles such as CEO, COO, CFO, and President. The participants represent companies of various sizes, geographic locales, and a mix of B2B, B2C, and a combination of both. There were no statistical differences in results between roles, company type, and company size.

Hungry for more? Download a complimentary copy of the Cook Up Your Best Marketing Performance 2017 MPM Benchmark study abbreviated report, or contact VisionEdge Marketing, Hive9, and Valid USA, which can provide additional detail and help you become a 5-star marketing organization.

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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