Christine Vermes, vice-president of marketing at sales and marketing analytics company Full Circle Insights, has helped all kinds of organizations achieve marketing success. From serving as Intel's corporate brand director—responsible for managing the company's entire worldwide brand identity—to acting as chief marketing officer for the governing body of polo, Christine has brought measurable marketing results in wildly different types of companies in vastly different industries.
I invited Christine to Marketing Smarts to discuss funnel metrics, measurement, and attribution, and how you can set your organization up for marketing success.
Here are just a few highlights from my conversation with Christine:
Certain fundamental marketing principles apply in every industry (06:56): "Across the board, when you're building a marketing plan for something, whether it's a widget or a sport or a piece of software or even a candy bar, there are a lot of best-practices. A lot of foundational marketing things that you do that are common across all industries, like targeting. Who's your target market? Like segmenting. Like linking your marketing back to your company objectives and revenue goals. How is your marketing supporting those revenue goals?
"There are a lot of commonalities no matter what industries you're in. For polo...it was less about revenue and more about membership and growing a fan base, but other than that, we were looking at a lot of similar things: putting together a strong brand strategy, brand identity, segmenting our audience (players and spectators), and understanding what the fastest path to growth was. In the case of the sport, it was about membership and spectator acquisition. In software, it's about revenue. For most marketers, it's about the impact on your bottom line."
Generate marketing reports using the tools everyone else at your company uses (like Salesforce) (9:00): "For a very long time, this has been...the holy grail for marketers: to understand what it is they're doing and how that impacts revenue. For a long time, it's been really difficult to do. In some industries, it's easier than in others. Clearly, if you're an e-commerce site, it's way easier to measure what's going on there.
"Certainly in the B2B world it's even harder because sales cycles are very long and we haven't had the technology, but since, more and more, [even] if not everything, these days, is digital, it can and should be measured, so it's become easier and easier to measure your influence on revenue.
"On the tech side [ask yourself], 'what tools do I have in place to actually [measure results]?' Measure your marketing performance inside the de facto standard revenue reporting system of the world, and that's Salesforce. Salespeople and organizations across the world are using Salesforce to track their revenue, so that's become this de facto standard for organizations.... If you're not measuring your marketing from inside [Salesforce], you start to have data discrepancies, and that can put Marketing at odds with Sales, at odds with the board. Because...who's the board going to believe? Are they going to believe what's inside Salesforce or are they going to believe these fancy marketing tools?
"So [having] marketing tools that live inside Salesforce and extend the reporting capabilities of Salesforce...is a very important thing. Then you're reporting from a single source of truth. It helps you to have more standing, a better seat at the table, so to speak. And it helps you to align with your sales counterparts. Your tech stack is incredibly important as one of the first considerations."
Embrace your inner data scientist (15:56): "I think it's possible in the world we live in to get overwhelmed by data...especially for marketers who weren't schooled in data science or don't come from that side.... If you've got a lot of data, being really good at zeroing in on what you need is important, and it's a skill set. Good marketers are able to really focus and think 'what do I really need here, what are the most salient pieces of data that tell me the most insightful things?"
Christine and I talked about much more, so be sure to listen to the entire show, which you can do above, or download the mp3 and listen at your convenience. Of course, you can also subscribe to the Marketing Smarts podcast in iTunes or via RSS and never miss an episode!
Music credit: Noam Weinstein.