More Companies Require Revenue-Focused Marketing ROI Meaures, Study Finds

Molly Soat
Marketing News Weekly
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Key Takeaways
  • What: ​According to the study, "The Rise of the Marketer," 69% of survey participants view marketing as a revenue driver today, and 79% think that it will be a revenue driver three to five years from now. 

  • So What: Customer experience, as a whole, is being relegated under the marketers’ purview, rather than being co-owned by sales and other departments. 

  • Now What: To have a greater impact internally, marketers need to focus on ROI-related metrics as opposed to softer metrics like brand awareness.

​Marketers today are seen more as revenue drivers and as a result, marketing ROI measures will rely more heavily on hard metrics, according to the study “The Rise of the Marketer” by the London-based Economist Intelligence Unit, the marketing research arm of The Economist magazine, and San Mateo, Calif.-based research firm Marketo Inc.

The study is based on a survey of 478 global CMOs and senior marketing executives, and a series of in-depth interviews​ with several marketing thought leaders. According to the survey, 69% of respondents think that business owners currently view marketing as a revenue driver today and 79% said that it will be a revenue driver three to five years from now. Additionally, 29% of respondents said that their biggest challenge over the next year will be demonstrating marketing ROI to the rest of the company. 


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“Effectiveness trumps efficiency, especially in a time of rapid change,” the report states. “Metrics will become broader and more comprehensive, focusing on top-line revenue and overall engagement more than efficiency and brand awareness.”

Sanjay Dholakia, Marketo’s CMO, says that soft metrics still have a role to play in measuring marketing’s efficacy, but they’re “not sufficient” on their ow​​n. “The soft metrics around [brand] awareness still are important in the sense that they speak to how well the engagement process is actually working out in the market because emotion does play a real role in buying behavior. … But you have to be able to move on to those deeper engagement metrics, which show that for the money that I’m spending, here are the various programs that are working in terms of driving engagement with customers and ultimately driving purchase behavior and revenue.”

The study also found that customer experience, as a whole, is being relegated under the marketers’ purview, rather than being co-owned by sales and other departments. More than one-third of survey respondents said that marketing currently is responsible for the full customer experience journey, and 75% said that marketing will be​​ responsible for customer experience in three to five years. “Marketing is moving from being primarily focused on brand to being much more involved with developing and owning the customer experience, and more specifically, deepening engagement,” says Jeff Pundyk, vice president of global integrated content solutions at The Economist and head of the department that spearheaded the study. “This means marketing is moving away from the traditional creative brand awareness function—traditionally at the top of the funnel—and is moving deeper into the middle and end of the funnel.”

According to Pundyk, the biggest challenge for marketers moving forward will be to figure out exactly what drives engagement and to learn to present that in a compelling way to the company’s CFO. “It's about understanding how marketing contributes to revenue, and finding ways for marketing to justify its expenditures because they're quite significant.”

Dholakia agrees. “Now that I can actually show the impact on revenue, I will be able to shift that perception of marketing as the arts-and-crafts function to marketing as the revenue driver,” he says. “[Marketers] now have the analytics and data available to them to actually show the points that they're putting on the board.”​​


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Author Bio:

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Molly Soat
Molly Soat is a staff writer for Marketing News and Marketing News Weekly. Contact her at msoat@ama.org.
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