According to The CMO Survey 2015, 70% of marketers report feeling increased pressure for financial measures, but only 40% are currently reporting on the right financial metrics. This level of accountability has caused a shift not only in the way marketing is viewed within the company but in the way goals are defined for the marketing team.
In her presentation at BMA Milwaukee’s February keynote, Debbie Qaqish of The Pedowitz Group discussed “The Rise of the Revenue Marketer.” According to Qaqish’s model, a marketing department moves through four stages, primarily defined by the relationship between sales and marketing and the primary way the marketing team contributes to the organization.
2. Lead Generation
3. Demand Generation
4. Revenue Marketing
At the end of this journey, sales and marketing are fully aligned and working in concert, and the marketing function is seen as a revenue center instead of a cost center. The marketing team forecasts its contributions to the business and is held accountable for a direct contribution to the pipeline. This can be attributed to a marketing process that is repeatable, predictable and scalable – the team doesn’t need to reinvent the wheel every time they launch a campaign, so they are able to bring new concepts to market more quickly and know what works best for their audience.
CREATING A CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
Digital marketing is a critical component of creating a customer experience. According to Qaqish, it’s not about getting your audience to picture your narrative – it’s about getting them to experience it. Now more than ever, a multimedia experience is critical to telling your brand story. Your website is one way to help your audience experience your brand – learn who you are, what makes you tick, and how your skill set manifests itself in your work.
A deep understanding of your customer is critical to create an effective experience. A key difference between B2C and B2B marketers, Qaqish posited, is that B2C marketers know their audience, whereas B2B marketers don’t. This is a generalization; any marketing department worth its salt has a basic understanding of their target. But B2B marketers do have additional challenges when it comes to getting to know their buyer and often forget that at the heart of every business is its people. Buyer personas can help marketers understand their customers’ needs and challenges and drive the development of a brand story that speaks directly to them.
MEASURING SUCCESS BEYOND FINANCIALS
By making significant contributions to revenue, the marketing department is often seen as more valuable within the organization. But it’s just as important to keep focus on the intangible value that comes from marketing initiatives.
Marketing departments that are held accountable to financial targets have a clear-cut way of measuring results. But measuring leads, sales cycles and associated revenue only tells part of the story. The intangibles - brand awareness, thought leadership, credibility and other similar concepts - might not be as cut-and-dry as page views or click-through rates, but they’re just as important as they often help close the sale and drive additional referral business.
A REVENUE MARKETING AGENCY?
Revenue marketing helps build a case for the value of marketing in an overall business strategy. But it’s often hard to bring the right resources with the right level of expertise in-house. Is it possible to build a team of revenue marketers that includes agency resources? Yes - but it requires a high level of trust and a strong partnership.
For any agency partnership to succeed, there must be mutual trust between agency and client. The client must believe that the agency is capable of following through on their promises, and the agency needs to feel confident that the client is sharing all of the information they need to do their job well. Revenue marketing adds another layer of accountability for agency partners, who find themselves on the hook to deliver specific lead generation and sales results. For agencies, the link between sales and marketing becomes even more critical - the teams need to work extremely closely and communicate freely in order for the marketing strategies to effectively drive sales.
If revenue marketing is your goal, be sure to clearly communicate expectations and define specific lead generation and sales goals for your marketing agency. Open and frequent communication is the key to a successful long term relationship - and engaging an agency can help your organization adopt revenue marketing strategies more quickly.