Marketers are operationally proficient but strategically stalled

Survey finds they don’t use data to move the needle on growth or profitability

Few members of the C-suite rely on marketing data to make strategic decisions, according to a joint 2013 Marketing Performance Management Survey from VisionEdge MarketingITSMA, and Forrester Research, Inc. Just 9 percent of CEOs and 6 percent of CFOs leverage marketing data in this manner. The reason? Marketing dashboards report marketing activity rather than business outcomes, as marketers cling to performance metrics to continuously justify budgets and resource allocations — when instead they should show how marketing moves the needle on top-line growth or profitability, say the researchers.

The 2013 MPM Survey captured input from more than 400 respondents, enabling ITSMA, Forrester, and VEM to expose valuable insights on the performance measurement and management challenges marketers face. The study, which VEM began initially, is now in its 12th year.

“The data demonstrates how marketers rely too much on their CRM and marketing automation systems to produce dashboards or report on marketing results. These systems are fine for providing a view into marketing program activity and pipelines, but the research shows that most fail to produce the level of information and metrics business executives want to see,” says Laura Ramos, VP/principal analyst serving chief marketing officers at Forrester.

Operational Efficiency, Not Effectiveness

Measures of operational efficiency, such as on-time delivery, budget, productivity, campaign performance, and lead data, are the most common metrics that marketing tracks and reports. On average, 54 percent of marketers use data analytics to fine-tune the marketing mix. However, few marketers are using data to predict customer behavior, make strategic recommendations, drive innovation, or impact customer acquisition, retention, or growth — measures that make a stronger connection between marketing activity and business outcomes. For instance, just 35 percent of marketers, on average, use data analytics to predict customer buying behavior.

“The metrics marketers say they use suggest an almost myopic focus on efficiency instead of effectiveness. Marketers need to add metrics that measure the effectiveness of their programs as well as measures that will help them make strategic recommendations,” says Julie Schwartz, SVP/research and thought leadership at ITSMA.

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