The Ultimate Accountability For Marketing Is Sales

For a very long time, marketers developed strategies to achieve marketing objectives like awareness, perception and efficiency.  The pendulum shifted recently, with marketers now starting to take a more significant seat at the C-level table, realizing that marketing metrics are not necessarily as important as standard business metrics -- though marketing measures do provide a bridge to meet standard ones. And now the ultimate accountability for marketing is revenue and sales. Today’s marketers understand addressability and accountability, and if they don’t then they’re destined to be replaced.

In 2014, the CMO and the modern marketer are businesspeople.  They are focused on crossing the chasm to connect marketing to sales  -- but that chasm is really only a short distance.

For B2B marketers, there is a clear relationship to be drawn between each stage of the customer journey, how qualified leads feed the sales pipeline, and how those pipeline opportunities convert into customers.  In the B2C landscape, the connection can be more difficult, but it can be drawn.  In the case of brand-building efforts, there are ways to weave together media mix with current-state attribution models to forecast sales impact from various marketing tactics. 



And as more media becomes addressable, leveraging either first- or third-party data, it becomes possible to stitch together the customer journey across multiple devices and touch points and determine the marketing impact on sales.  At the very least, a savvy analyst can isolate those interactions likely to be connected or causal, and use them to reduce the variable interactions, thereby defining the customer’s journey to a statistically significant likelihood.  I know there are far smarter people than I working on these kinds of formulas, so my confidence is high.

The point of my rant is that technology, specifically enterprise-level marketing technology, has come a long way, and is doing an amazing job of helping the modern marketer to shift from a “gut feeling” with a modicum of credibility to a true business driver who is establishing impact on both the bottom line and topline of business.

At the very least, one can analyze the expense of marketing in ratio to revenue generated, even going so far as to aggregate marketing and sales expenditures under one umbrella to determine their impact on business growth. These are not new metrics.  These are the same kind of metrics that businesses used to run up against, but the difference is now that marketers are able to create these data points in near real time versus waiting for a cumulative circulation in print or TV logs to report back on inventory that ran.

Digital -- and the programmatic space in particular, coupled with the explosion of big data for marketing -- has made the circle complete. Marketers are the new rock stars in the organization.

So if I were you, I would embrace all this data “stuff.  These are the tent poles that will prop you up as a marketer for many years to come.

Don’t take my word for it.  Take the other side of the discussion, and see how far you get in 2015.

1 comment about "The Ultimate Accountability For Marketing Is Sales".
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  1. Kenneth Hittel from Ken Hittel, November 26, 2014 at 4:02 p.m.

    Well done, Cory. I would only add that the connection of marketing to sales and revenue must actually go one step further, namely to bottom-line profitability. Sales numbers are great, revenue numbers are great -- but profitability is much greater. When you can legitimately report (and even accurately forecast) profitability, then, as a marketer, you're truly earning those "big bucks" you've been paid.

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