There are many aspects to leading and guiding a group of marketers to a business goal. I bet you have three or four key factors you rely on to help you be successful. For me, data is the most important.
Here are the five key elements I suggest you start with in order to leverage data to the fullest within your marketing team, especially if you're working with a demand generation or growth marketing team. These offer a starting point for ensuring a stable and repeatable focus on data by your entire team.
What is most important for your marketing team to achieve? Are you trying to grow new business, retain existing customers, break into a new region, etc.? Knowing the answer to this question will enable you and your team to know which data you need to focus on.
Marketing in general has the opportunity to get LOTS of data and ask even more questions. It is easy for analysis to turn into months of thinking and prevent you from making progress on your goals. It is also easy to think that you need to analyze ALL the data you have, when in reality you really do not need to.
Once you know your focus and have some data you can access, you can consider attribution. Attribution is important because it lets you and individual team members clearly articulate which campaign, tactic or test actually generates results. The basic B2B options are first touch, multi-touch and last touch.
Are you a growth team? If so, you should be looking at first touch. You want to know where that lead came from and how you can go get more leads like them.
Are you a field team that is working to get late stage prospects to move quickly into the sales cycle? If so, you should be looking at existing leads and what can be done to re-engage them, so you are looking multi-touch and last touch behaviour data. You want to understand the steps you can take to get deeper engagement from existing leads.
You have to trust your data. Make your entire team responsible for proper tagging and tracking of leads, codes and conversions. You will need a scalable process that all of your marketing team can participate in. Your marketing operations team is your best source for a solid platform and process for this.
Now that you have the basics in place, you can really work with your marketing team members to focus on the data and goals at hand. This is your chance to have quality quantitative conversations in marketing, and not just debate opinions. The next two elements are examples from our experience at Looker.
The Demand Generation team at Looker has been evolving the planning process since we started our first marketing efforts in 2013. It started purely based on gut feel and past experience. As soon as we had got leads that turned into meetings and opportunities, we had our first conversion rates. That allowed us to create a demand plan that aligned to the business plan.
We now have the ability to look at the performance of leads, content, publishers, campaigns and tactics for the last several years, allowing us to forecast return from our marketing mediums (email, event, paid ad, web…) in a given time frame. By combining this performance intel with our available budget, we are able to generate a “proposed marketing mix” and budget for the marketing team. This gives a marketing manager a place to start from.
For example, in a single quarter we may need a thousand meetings and no single marketing channel can generate that, so we spread it out across several mediums. The online marketing manager is given information that she has XX amount of budget and should generate XX number of leads at a conversion rate of X.X%. By giving her these guardrails of what we think she needs, she does not have to spend a bunch of anxiety-producing time establishing her goal line. She will just spend tons of time figuring out how to hit the goal, which is what we want her to do.
Now this is the exciting part and most recent evolution for the marketing team here at Looker. We have a dashboard that has the agreed-upon goals and current achievement for our first touch attributed marketing medium. It allows for to-the-point conversations with marketing managers regarding the performance of their medium(s). It helps us to determine the health of a program based not just on the number of leads, but on lead-to-meeting conversion rate, quality of meetings, cost per lead and cost per meeting.
This multi KPI focus has allowed us to adjust our efforts on programs and tactics that produce more meetings and revenue, rather than just lead count. It also allows us to keep tactics going that may have a high cost per lead, but a low cost per meeting. It also has us looking at tactics that have a low cost per lead, but high cost per meeting. We may not turn those ones off right away, rather we will then go a do more nurture to them. At some point though, if they simply do turn into revenue we will stop that tactic or stop working with that publisher.
With these key elements in place you can really help the people on your team focus on what they need to do in order to clearly support the business goal at hand. As a group, marketing teams have the opportunity to DO so many things. It is often difficult to say ‘no’ or ‘not right now’ to certain projects. With a data-focus, you will have a solid reasoning to determine what projects need to be worked on now.
I would be remiss in saying behind all of this is a good bit of technology you will want help on. Make friends with the IT, BI, Analytics, and operations teams. Check out how Looker can support your marketing analytics.