In today’s complex marketing landscape, 56 percent of marketers say they are not fully prepared to measure their ROI, even though 63 percent say measuring return on spend will be paramount to determining marketing success by 2015. For CMOs and marketing executives who want to understand – and demonstrate – the value of their campaigns, Adobe’s senior director of global media and demand marketing, Mikel Chertudi, shared some tips at SES Chicago.
Here are Chertudi’s seven deadly sins of marketing that you can overcome to unmask the value of campaigns.
1. Lack of clear strategy and objectives
When developing marketing objectives, marketers need to think about the goals they want to accomplish for their businesses – and they should be sure they use the right language to explain these aims. Chertudi believes marketers need to start thinking of themselves as sales generators, fueling the growth of their organizations. Do you talk about marketing spend or marketing investments?
Once you begin to look at marketing as a sales engine, he said you’re positioned to set goals about sourcing sales for your company. While marketing is vital to influencing consumers in sometimes intangible ways, Chertudi expressed that marketers should also know their sales worth. Does marketing source 30 percent of sales? Forty percent of sales?
Of course, marketing is also about expanding your brand reach and amplifying authority, which can be difficult to track to sales, but Chertudi’s point about the marketing-sales tie is one that likely hits home with a number of marketing executives. IBM’s recent CMO study indicates that 48 percent of marketers think conversions will be used to determine marketing efficacy by 2015, and 42 percent refer to marketing-influenced sales as critical to gauging marketing success. As such, it’s something businesses should be looking to measure – which brings us to Chertudi’s next marketing sin.
2. Sloppy in efforts to track and measure
If you want to produce results that will be taken seriously, you need to make sure you dedupe your systems, says Chertudi. This is especially true for businesses with multiple campaigns or even multiple marketing departments operating at once. He had this “aha moment” when he added the figures across Adobe’s marketing systems and realized the company should be twice as large as it is if his measurements were accurate.
It’s important to make sure you’re on the same page with other marketing departments, and you should also follow through with finance departments to see if your measured conversions are actually becoming sales. Don’t assume a conversion rate means a certain level of income for the business, Chertudi said. If you do, you’re committing marketing sin No. 3.
3. You assume too much
In order to know where you should be investing more (notice we didn’t say “spending more”), Chertudi says you must validate your data. Is there any way you can measure your marketing leads right through to sales with your current Analytics packages? Whether the answer is yes or no, he told marketers at SES Chicago that they should develop good relationships with the finance department. This can help them understand which campaigns are impacting their business’ overall profitability.
Additionally, marketers need to set up the right attribution models and understand the limitations of their measurements. Often, companies measure marketing success according to a first-click or last-click model, but they must find the right analysis method to ensure they aren’t overestimating or underestimating their work. (Notably, there is an upcoming SES session on attribution models which Brafton will be covering for more insights on this.)
4. Too much art/ right-brain thinkingChertudi shared an Adobe anecdote on the importance of not “assuming” success (or failure) based on lackluster attribution models: One of his clients thought 80 percent of its sales would continue without marketing… until it developed a regression model of measuring lead sources. It then quickly realized that sales would drop to 32 percent if its marketing channel was shut off. Once this stat came to light, the marketing department got a much larger budget to invest in its creative.
Marketing is both an art and a science, said Chertudi. It can be frustrating if your marketing pitches are denied because they don’t meet the brand guidelines, but he reminded attendees that something that is pretty to look at may not clearly convey a business’ message.
“Test, optimize like crazy, then test, test, test,” he said.
5. Too much science/ left-brain thinking
By the same token, Chertudi warned marketers against becoming a slave to proven marketing elements to the point that they fail to develop campaigns that really fit their businesses and their clients’ needs. For instance, he said, maybe “longform landing pages with 40-point font and alternating calls to action statistically have the highest conversion rate, but don’t underestimate the value of what your brand represents to customers.”
Just because something is proven to work, will it help your brand? Allow for differentiation and innovation, he said.
Marketing sins four and five boil down to his ultimate theory that “marketing campaigns must be well balanced,” exhibiting a healthy mix of right-brain creativity and left-brain analysis.
6. Short-term vs. long-term oriented
Another marketing sin covered by Chertudi is marketers’ tendency to be short-term oriented. “How would your customers rate you after signing on with you?” he asked the SES Chicago audience.
“Brand is so much more than a logo and the color of the fonts – a brand is how you treat your customers,” he said, emphasizing that marketing work must continue through to communications with existing clients.
Don’t make your customers jump through hoops to accomplish what they want, whether it is reaching an account manager or canceling the service. Reach out to your current pool of clients with useful information – such as content marketing or email newsletters that alert them of new services or sales. Basically, he said, market to your existing users to give them a simple and satisfying brand experience.
7. Unauthentic marketing
Finally, Chertudi reminded marketers that they must create something that’s original to their brands and represents their point of view. Place the target audience at the center of marketing outreach and create social media content, landing pages, display ads, blog posts, etc, that will be useful to them.
It’s easy to generate a copy cat marketing campaign, closely mirroring what has worked for competitors (especially in search marketing), he said. Are your paid search ads just like competitors’ ads? Are you recreating their blog posts instead of coming up with your own? If so, you’re taking competitive analysis too far.
Find what’s unique about your business, products and services. Leverage whatever it is that sets you apart to attract leads and become an authority in your space.
Hopefully, these tips will help marketers stay on top of their marketing ROI and innovate accordingly. Brafton might add another marketing sin, which is that marketers should know their strengths and weaknesses and make sure their brands get the resources they need. If there’s an area where you could use help in reaching out to customers, find the right partners to help you do it – either within your company or with an outside agency. Indeed, resourcing marketing efforts to outside experts is becoming more mainstream in 2012.
As Brafton has reported, 72 percent of marketers are investing in editorial talent this year.