Upon Further Diagnosis…

A few weeks ago, I was speaking with one of my colleagues about the state of B2B marketing and the maturity of today’s marketers.  During this discussion we were focusing in on the skills gap that has been well documented by groups like the Marketing Automation Institute, Sirius Decisions, Aberdeen Group and others.  We came to the conclusion that by and large, B2B marketers are at a stage where they DO KNOW what needs to be done and where their organizations need to go. What they DON’T KNOW is how to get there.

Unfortunately, two recent reports prove us wrong demonstrating that B2B marketers are lost AT BOTH knowing what needs to be done and how to get there.  Say it isn’t so!

What brought me to this change of mind was an article that recapped a study conducted by Columbia University’s Center on Global Brand Leadership and the New York American Marketing Association.  The study looked specifically at how marketers view and measure return on investment.

Here is a snapshot of what the study showed (if you have a weak stomach, stop reading now):

  • Less than 59% of companies measure the financial impact of their email marketing
  • Only 14% of marketers that utilize social measure its impact on revenue
  • Only 38% tie their social efforts to lead generation – Only 26% tie it to sales
  • Of those that do measure the social media ROI impact 76% define ROI on “soft” metrics such as likes, followers, fans etc.
  • When asked to define marketing ROI, 37% of the respondents did not mention financial effects. 19% did not think that measuring the financial impact of their marketing was considered marketing ROI.

In addition there are recent blogs that have been published by marketers stating that “drip marketing is also known as lead nurturing or marketing automation?!?!” (punctuation is mine)

To quote our friend and author of Balancing the Demand Equation, Adam Needles – “Modern B2B demand generation is failing.  Seriously.”  With statistics like this one must ask what is going on inside B2B organizations?  How can one begin to manage marketing if it is not measured?  How can a marketer who wants to be taken seriously show an ROI measurement report but not speak to financial impact?

Perhaps it is time to go back to the Lombardi-esque “This is a football” approach with marketers. Maybe we need to go back and start with some of the basic tenants that we need to succeed in the Buyer 2.0 world such as:

  • It is all about the customer and developing an engagement strategy with that customer through compelling content
  • Marketers must understand and measure their impact on revenue and pipeline i.e. they must become “coin operated”
  • Marketers must take the first step to align with sales by bringing solutions to the table, not by starting the conversation with “Why don’t you follow-up on our leads?”
  • Marketers must take a process-based approach to marketing
  • Marketing executives must come to grips with the fact that the majority of their staff is ill equipped to excel in their roles, so they must train and equip their people to succeed.

Marketers, it’s time to get back to the fundamentals. It’s our responsibility to fix what’s broken. Our companies, our sales counterparts and our buyers are counting on it.  Let’s not let them down.