Chief Marketers Brainstorm Measurement Solutions

The Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council met at BusinessWeek’s New York offices yesterday to address what has become a critical issue for organizations: marketing performance measurements (MPM). Apparently, most marketers consider MPM a priority, but few have adopted a formal system, according to the Council’s extensive study of nearly 1,000 top technology marketers.

Despite the struggle with measuring the broad, holistic view of marketing, marketers have been able to determine the success of some touch point initiatives, such as Web site and Internet presence; direct mail/email campaigns; trade shows and events; and telemarketing and contact management.

“The good news is we’re doing a good job, but we have a way to go toward full marketing performance measurement,” said Keith Fox, senior vice president of marketing for BusinessWeek Research Services.

What the CMO Council identified during the study is that marketers often try to tie marketing dollars to revenue – a task that becomes difficult when attempting to quantify the value of soft marketing initiatives, such as branding. “Whenever you could prove that your marketing dollars generated revenue, that becomes more important,” said Fox. “Marketing is not always lead-generating,” he remarked.

Included among the top metrics executives use to determine marketing performance are customer retention and loyalty; marketing program return on investment (ROI); feedback from sales channel; word-of-mouth and customer referral rates; and number of campaign leads converted. The company’s stock price, analyst influence, and Wall Street reports were considered to be less relied upon for marketing performance indicators.

Some of the CMO Council’s MPM Program Leaders offered measurement criteria. Donald Frischman, senior vice president of communications and brand management for Symantec, suggests simple multi-pronged measurement: customer satisfaction versus customer complaints; product reviews; support, particularly customer hold times; and abandonment rate. “All these affect the brand,” said Frischman. “Get the branding right first and then others will join in. We are selling brand trust.”

Jim Easton, acting vice president, sales and marketing, Orcas Network, also emphasized simplicity, suggesting that marketers measure roughly four categories or parameters. “Kill those that don’t work or cause you to overanalyze,” said Easton.

David Hirsch, director of BtoB vertical markets, Google, stressed the importance of measuring relevancy – connecting information to the customer at the right time – along with accountability, and ROI or return on objective.

The panel members were in agreement about how emerging technology has positively impacted their ability to measure their efforts, but Carol Meyers, vice president of marketing, Unica, warned, “Technology is not a magic elixir.” Panelists explained that change has to come with a corporate-wide acceptance of measurement importance and strategy.

“Having a measurement program means you know what you want to do. It helps to put you in sync with the rest of the company,” said You Mon Tsang, CMO, Biz360.

The CMO Council represents more than 800 technology companies, and was designed to foster high-level knowledge exchange and thought leadership among senior marketing and brand decision-makers. MPM Forum key underwriters include Biz360, Cognos, Google and Unica.

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