Marketers Finally Turn Toward Metrics

One-third of U.S. companies plan to maintain or increase marketing budgets in the 2010-2011 fiscal year, and a higher percentage will set up guidelines and metrics to prove accountability, according to a study released Wednesday.

The Forbes Insights and software and analytics firm MarketShare Partners reveals marketers and agencies continue to struggle with finding the metrics to justify dollars spent on campaigns. Fifty-eight percent of companies working with budgets up to $1 million admit they will implement tools that measure return on investment (ROI) to measurable outcomes, compared with 40% for those working with higher budgets.

Companies with lower budgets favored working on developing metrics, while 58% of marketers with budgets of $1 million or more believe having a "big idea" was more important. With budgets protected or growing, proving the wisdom of how those budgets are used remains a priority.

More than half -- 55% -- of total respondents say CMOs own responsibility for effective marketing campaigns for their organization, and that proportion increases to 71% for those with marketing budgets greater than $1 million.

Measurement and accountability may have become equally important. Forty percent of respondents admit that one of the biggest drivers for developing marketing measurement and accountability programs remains justifying spend to senior executives. The more experienced CMO remains at the company 28.4 months, according to Booz & Co., compared with 75.6 months for the CEO.

A complex media landscape -- shifts in the market and new technologies and ad formats -- makes it more important for marketers to track budgets. The rise of social media, search and mobile creates increased competition for consumers' attention, and marketers need to know how to adjust.

Sixty-eight percent of marketing executives participating in the survey say they have some form of analytics in place to measure effectiveness and ensure accountability. One-third of respondents reveal that they plan to have formal measurement systems in place in the future, while one in five respondents with marketing budgets greater than $1 million said the same -- suggesting that nine in 10 marketing executives will have some sort of formal measurement system in the foreseeable future.

Online initiatives are the most popular programs measured, although not surprising. Three of the top four measurement approaches -- including measurement of online search marketing, 64%; measurement of online display marketing, 48%; and measurement of online social media marketing, 43% -- focus on digital marketing.

The study, entitled "The Accountability Evolution: Marketers Turn to Metrics to Boost Their Strategic Value," is based on a survey of more than 100 senior marketing executives. It examines the marketing landscape, as well as the strategies and methodologies being put in place by companies. It also looks at how approaches vary between those companies with marketing budgets over $1 million and those under $1 million.

2 comments about "Marketers Finally Turn Toward Metrics".
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  1. Candice Seiger from Luminosity Marketing, July 29, 2010 at 9:26 a.m.

    The need for measureable results is even more urgent due to the shortening tenure of CMOs. We see metrics and analytics becoming even more valuable in the future. The key will be finding ways to measure ROI (or other metrics) on marketing activities that may not have a direct impact on the bottomline.

  2. Lydia Sugarman from Venntive, July 30, 2010 at 12:33 p.m.

    For companies that have invested in building sophisticated metrics tools this is great news. Now, when someone asks me what sets us apart, all I'll have to say is...metrics...ALL your metrics in one dashboard.

    We believe all marketing activities directly impact the bottom line. It's just a matter of connecting the dots to illustrate that it all starts with marketing.

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