At Econsultancy and IBM’s BusinessConnect event in Singapore last week I moderated discussions focusing on marketing performance management.

It was one of three roundtables, with the others focusing on personalisation and data-driven marketing.

The event was attended by senior Singaporean marketers and it was interesting to hear more about the challenges and opportunities that exist within the market.

To find out more about the BusinessConnect series, read our write up from the events in Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur.

Overall, Singaporean delegates felt that the responsibility of marketing performance management is to pull all of the answers together and offer the business an integrated service.

Every stakeholder wants answers from marketing, including:

  • Sales: what marketing investment gives the best leads?
  • Event planners: how many leads were generated?
  • CRM/lead generation: what is the customer journey and how can we improve it?
  • Traditional channels: what is motivating our partners to do their job well?
  • Digital channels: which messages resonate for which audience? How do social metrics correspond with sales?

Clearly none of these questions can be answered if we don’t have strong data processes in place. 

Centres of excellence

One delegate described how his firm has set up a marketing data 'centre of excellence' to deliver metrics such as: 

  • Cost per lead.
  • Cost per engagement (which is becoming an accepted metric).
  • Share of voice on social media.
  • Net positive sentiment.

These figures are then used to optimize the digital channels. 

Most agreed, though, that some of these metrics are new and confusing to people unfamiliar with marketing data.

But the reason we need new metrics (e.g. 'applause rate') is that the customer journey is becoming more circular. Engagement is the underlying motive for increased interest in the product.

Now there is concern in the field about how we actually set up these 'centres of excellence.' 

One delegate suggested that to do so takes the right talent, modelling and analytics - and for them to connect directly with the marketing strategy and creative.  

Too often, these teams lie in different parts of the organization, but for real marketing performance management they should be working together. Data to strategy to creative, and back again.

One delegate had a solution.  They broke up their analytics into three parts:

  • Tier 1. Social data: Growth of followers and other social metrics. Comparative analysis: Are we getting better?
  • Tier 2. Specific product launches. Set key metrics beforehand and see how campaigns performed.
  • Tier 3. Daily tactical metrics. e.g. open rates and clicks.

Using each of these different tiers enabled the company to optimize the performance of all its media.

It then starts with a very high level question such as 'we want to add $1bn of revenue - what do we need to do?' and delivers a strategy across all three tiers.

Vanity metrics

Interestingly, many delegates felt that vanity metrics - views, clicks, return visits - are still important. 

They really help the people responsible for the day-to-day marketing - and they also help keeping management happy. 

The reason is that most people outside marketing will still ask you for them, and when they do marketers should be willing to provide them. 

It gets buy-in and starts the conversation with colleagues about the new metrics which we, as marketers, know are more important.

B2B

Many of the B2B firms, however, are still unsure about how to deliver real value through managing market performance with data.

The issue they face is that with long sales cycles it's very hard to deliver accurate attribution.

One company has had to pull back from marketing automation as it just wasn't producing results.

The marketing team initially measured the individual buyer's journey but now focuses on educating a broader market instead with content, video, white papers - and not worrying about day-to-day reaction to the collateral. 

Another B2B company reported that the business is constantly asking ‘what are we getting out of it?’

The answer from marketing was that their customers were making better-informed decisions so it reduced the buying cycle. 

But it's a tough sell - especially when they don't typically get information back from sales as to whether their marketing helped with the deal. 

And even lead scoring causes issues. One delegate felt that their behavioural scoring was constantly changing. They would look at a successful sale and then tweak the algorithm based on individual cases. 

Finally, another delegate from a company with a presence in many regions felt that trying to measure their social reach was too hard.

Each country had their own preferred platforms so you ended up with a lot of metrics which could not easily be combined. 

What to do?

So how should we use marketing performance management to 'move the needle'?

Most agreed that the best, first step is to stop worrying about the outcome at first - and just start gathering data. 

With this data, then, test your marketing and learn - see if what you're doing gives a lift to ROI.

Jeff Rajeck

Published 19 March, 2015 by Jeff Rajeck

Jeff Rajeck is the APAC Research Analyst for Econsultancy . You can follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn.  

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