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Benchmarking: How to Determine the Value of Your Marketing Efforts

By Laura Patterson of Vision Edge Marketing

Marketing BenchmarkTo survive and thrive in a competitive business environment, companies are being hammered to continuously adapt and deliver more, faster, better, and less expensively. How do you know whether you did? You need to establish and use the right metrics. For Marketers, metrics are the key to assessing and improving a company’s capabilities and processes.

In today’s world of Marketing, what you are able to measure is only limited by your imagination. So how do you know what to focus on and how far to delve in? You use benchmarks. Benchmarking enables your company to collect quantitative and qualitative information to both identify gaps and pinpoint ways to improve performance, and it’s how marketers can determine the value of their marketing efforts.

Why Benchmarking?

The idea behind benchmarking is to achieve Marketing excellence. By identifying who is leading the industry and what their best practices are, your company can close the performance gap between the results it delivers now and the best-in-class targets it strives to realize as well as enhance its own competitive advantage.

Benchmarking against your industry peers and assessments of your Marketing Performance Management (MPM) capabilities can help you produce tangible, quantifiable performance targets that you can consistently measure over recurring time cycles in order to ascertain performance changes and the impact of these changes on your Marketing organization. Frequent and regular assessments and benchmarking with studies like  the 2016 MPM Benchmark enable you to measure changes in your own performance relative to best-in-class companies. By using an external reference, you can gain insight into the industry’s best practices and begin working to surpass your own expectations.

Identifying Best Practices for Marketers to Close Performance Gaps

Best-in-Class marketers need to go beyond tracking and reporting on “vanity” metrics and creating a smorgasbord of numbers that report on activity and outputs and calling it a dashboard. Instead, marketers should ally themselves with the C-Suite by identifying and tracking metrics derived from aligning Marketing to the business outcomes.

Once the desired metrics have been properly defined, elite marketers implement reporting mechanisms that allow them to measure, report, and improve upon their findings. Doing so removes them from the C-Suite’s rotating list of confidants du jour and puts them instead on the menu of reliable advisors.

Analyzing the Results of Your Business Alignment

Successful marketers aren’t enamored with data and reporting because they love numbers. For them, data has a purpose, and it’s all about business alignment. Those who know what data they need, where it is, how to access it, and how to use it will be the ones to make solid business decisions and strategic recommendations.

In order to do this more efficiently, industry-leading marketers are repositioning their analytics models. Instead of analyzing their data from a descriptive and diagnostic viewpoint, the model is beginning to mature into an analysis focused on the predictive capabilities of data.

Having the ability to predict trends and foresee potential results allows marketers to align themselves more closely with the outcomes the business is seeking. Naturally, the closer they are aligned with the business, the more valuable their contributions become. Those who are leading the pack are not only able to provide a pertinent business-centric analysis of the data, but they are able to develop dashboards to guide their recommendations, advise their actions, and help them mitigate risks. In essence, they use their dashboards to both improve Marketing and prove Marketing’s value to the business.

Best-in-Class Marketers Innovate, Settle for More

BIC Marketers do not settle for the status quo. They continually strive to innovate on their ability to deliver business results by working closely with the business to prove their value. For these marketers, becoming a best-in-class center-of-excellence is the force that will continue to push them one step ahead of the pack. And they know that the best tool to maintain their lead within the industry is to undertake a benchmark study of themselves in relation to their peers. The value of these assessments is that the data you collect reveal what can be achieved beyond where you are and provide you with insight into how to achieve improved performance levels.

Isn’t it time if you learned how to get ahead of the pack and operate as BIC? Take the 2017 MPM Benchmark study and find out.

Other resources on this topic:

Why Bother with Marketing Excellence When You Have Good Enough?
Predictive Analytics is on 89% of B2B Marketers’ Roadmaps
How to Grow Your B2B Business with Actionable Insights from Big Data

Laura Patterson is known for her practical, no-nonsense approach to proving and improving the value of marketing. Inventive and engaging, she quickly gets to the heart of the matter to provide actionable recommendations and solutions. Because her 20-year career began in sales and now spans customer relationship management and Marketing with a capital “M”, her recommendations are always cross-functional friendly. Laura is a strategic marketer, data and metrics master. Her company, VisionEdge Marketing has helped hundreds of companies, in a variety of industries, fulfill their marketing potential and achieve competitive advantage. An early pioneer on the science side of marketing, Laura is recognized as one of the leading authorities in marketing measurement and performance, content management, operations, and data and analytics.

This post was first published on Integrated Marketing Association. 

Photo Credit: adamjohn_22 Flickr via Compfight cc