Tag Archives: Forrester Research

Measuring What Matters

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I read an interesting report from the Forrester folks this morning. It is about business-to-business marketing but I think it’s instructive to any of us who are in marketing. It’s called “Metrics That Matter For B2B Marketers” and you can read it here. I’m a big fan of the premise:

B2B marketers must do more than measure activities like click-through rates and event attendees; they need to show how their activity directly affects business results. This report shows marketers how to provide insight on the things that matter most to their executive peers and the board — growth in revenue, profit, and customers. While marketers need to capture a wide range of metrics, this report focuses on measuring marketing’s contribution to revenue as a function of customer acquisition and installed base growth.

When I was in TV and marketing (which probably should have been called business development) was a relatively new concept (as opposed to sales which was there from day one), I always felt that part of my role as “the marketing guy” was to demonstrate that marketing was part of the revenue-generating part of the team. The only way to do that was to quantify how what I was doing was driving sustainable business.

Fast forward a lot of years. All of us in marketing are deluged with data. The problem, as the report points out, is that many folks take the easy way out and measure the easy to find stuff while ignoring the pieces of information that may be more impactful to the business but harder to discern. As the report says:

Marketers need to measure a lot of things to understand what is working and what isn’t. Unfortunately, most get stuck measuring activity, not value: More than half (61%) of the marketers we surveyed admitted that most of their data work went into reporting on how they did, not showing how marketing drives better business results.

Measure what matters. Measure quality over quantity. Don’t “manage to metrics rather than performance.” OK?

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How Do You Like My Tie?

There is an old joke about an egocentric sales guy rambling on and on about his life and success.  He sees the recipient of his boastful rant glazing over and says “But enough about me.  How do you like my tie?”  I was reminded of this as I read about a study conducted by the Online Marketing Institute, who teamed up with Forrester Research and the Business Marketing Association to understand how well B2B marketers gauge their content development skills and maturity.  The headlines aren’t so wonderful:

While 51% of B2B marketing leaders rate their content marketing practices as very mature, an overwhelming 85% fail to connect content activity to business value — and, as a result, fail to retain customers or win their long-term loyalty. In fact, when asked to look back at the past 12 months and rate the effectiveness of content marketing efforts, only 14% of those surveyed gave their content practices high marks for delivering value back to the business.

One wonders sometimes who exactly is in charge at these companies.  If 86% of the executives surveyed think they’re sucking at content marketing, what are they doing about it? 71% of surveyed marketers say their content features case studies or customer stories, but only 3% admit this is a primary focus of their efforts.  Hello?  How is this any different from the sales guy in the joke?

All marketing is about adding value and solving problems.  Hopefully everything you produce does both but it must do one or the other.  Obviously, as the study concludes, B2B marketers have more work to do when it comes to using content to consistently deliver a valuable exchange of information with prospective buyers.  That starts with a mindset to do just that and part of the process is evaluating what you’re producing in that context.  This last bit is the clearest indicator of that.  The study talks about how the content these businesses are producing:

Focuses on closing the deal, not on building relationships. While more than three-quarters of respondents say they frequently communicate to their customer base, only 5% make this a priority, proving that marketers are too focused on acquisition rather than long-term loyalty.

That’s the issue.  What are they (and you!) going to do about it?

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The Devil You Know

The folks at Forrester issued a study on marketing and customer experience the other day and it makes a number of interesting points.

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Maybe “interesting” isn’t the right word; maybe it could be more like “disappointing” or “confusing.”  Entitled The Convergence Of Brand, Customer Experience And Marketingthe study deals with the intersection of brand, marketing, and customer experience.  One might expect those three areas to be operating in sync.  One would be wrong.

Forrester found that 63% of Chief Marketing Officers consider customer acquisition their number one priority, while only 22% give precedence to retention. Kind of a silly choice, because there is a lot of  evidence that shows that generating loyalty and holding onto existing customers is better for a brand financially  than spending resources to bring in new customers.  In fact, the 22% statistic represents a decline in the focus on retention.  In 2011, the number was 30%.

What’s a little strange is that many of the CMO‘s do believe that they are, in fact, highly customer-focused.  The research found, however, that they are highly transaction-focused and are trying to foster conversions, not conversations.  Lifetime value is only a concern to a little over a third of these folks while two-thirds focus on segmentation studies to pursue new customers.

It’s almost as if there are two completely different experiences – one for prospects and one for existing customers – while it seems obvious that those experiences should be united into a vision that derives from the brand itself.  Otherwise, as the study found, there is customer confusion, dissatisfaction and departure.

No one likes to be treated like royalty when they’re being wooed only to be given short shrift once the deal is sealed.  Even worse, if a brand is a promise to the customer, no one likes to be confused about what that promise is or how it is to be kept.  Heck, even accounting recognizes that and puts something called “goodwill” on the balance sheet.  The disconnect cited in this study is disturbing and the trends it recognizes are even more so.

I’m a believer in “the devil you know” and the value of doing everything I can for existing customers.  I’m a believer in making the brand the source of strategic thinking about customers, current and future and expressing that thinking in a cohesive way.  Are you?

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