Assembling the elephant … thinking about the Ultimate CMO Dashboard

The whole is more than the sum of its parts (Aristotle). As a marketing leader, you don’t want to just make an impression, you want to show your impact.

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Let’s cut to the chase: as Chief Marketing Officer you need metrics and results. Otherwise, there is no glory – and no budget or resources for you to help your company succeed. Setting KPIs is today’s mantra for everything you do. But agreeing on which KPIs are relevent, is not that straightforward.

Despite our focus on being data driven and building our marketing plan on data rather than assumptions, aligning with sales objectives and corporate strategy – what we perceive as a successful result may not resonate among our peers. Our KPIs must be based on a joint perception of what constitutes success. Believe me, in large organizations, CMO-life isn’t straightforward:

Success

It’s analogous to the story of the three blind men and the elephant in which each blind man touched a different part of the elephant (trunk, leg and tail) and thus had a different perception of it. (Debbie Quagish, The Pedowitz Group)

 

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Illustration by Frits Ahlefeldt “The Hiking Artist Project”

So, how can you fulfill all these expectations while controlling your urge to count leads, conversion rates, clicks, opens, and number of attendees at your events?

I am guessing, that this is how you judge your success as a marketing leader today. But other stake holders expect different measures, and nothing is more frustrating for a marketing leader than happily reporting marketing results and then being ignored/unappreciated by the organization.

The dilemma is well known – there are countless “How To Measure Marketing Success” do-it-yourself books, articles, videos and blogs out there for you to sample. But from checking 10 different sources, none of these provided an answer to all of the above. Most – and that makes sense – are focused on the expectations of Sales in order to support creating revenue. But remember, Sales is measured on short term goals, and your CFO wanted your plan in place 12-18 months before it is supposed to be executed.

The ultimate CMO Dashboard

When convincing CFOs, CEOs and board rooms, the trick used to be to show complex pivot tables with an abundance of data that hopefully illustrated achieving your KPIs. But times have changed, and speed is the new currency of business.

You only have seven seconds to make an impression.

But knowing that your counterpart only has a slightly higher attention span than a goldfish, you have about eight seconds  to make an impact.

So, skip the pivots and show The Ultimate CMO Dashboard:

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You know you want it. (Source: Musqot Marketing Technology)

It has all the components you need in order to assemble the various parts of the elephant. The dashboard reports on budget, progress according to plan, activities planned and status, and much more. You can slice it the way you want. The application is called Marketing Performance Management (MPM) and is developed by one of Sweden’s exciting startups, Musqot Marketing Technology.

The benefit of an overview like this is that it takes only 8 seconds to process during a meeting where the CMO holds the last spot and only has 12 minutes left from the 20 minutes she was allocated on the agenda.

Another clever aspect is the fact that it provides a holistic view of marketing execution, CMO Dashboard 1based on real time data. For example, the planning section is built upon the familiar concept of Gantt charts while in the same view you have the updated results from the various activities displayed at the bottom – taking Gantt to the next level so to speak.

Musqot’s current tagline is “Control Will Unleash Creativity” and speaks to exactly what marketing is all about in the enterprise: being able to creatively support the strategic objectives of a company while maintaining control over planning, budgeting and execution. So, basically you are combining the parts of the elephant into … a whole elephant … rather than a snake (the trunk), a spear (the tusks), a piece of rope (the tail) and a leathery sheet (the ears).

There is a catch

If you want to visualize data driven planning, progress and results, you need to have the data available in a consolidated environment where the various sources are seamlessly integrated. Despite being the ultimate tool for marketing finance and performance management for the enterprise, you will unfortunately need to reside and consolidate everything on the Salesforce platform. It’s not an easy nut to crack, but to work with data means that the data needs to be compatible regardless of its source. Especially if you – as in this case – have real time visualization and insights to gain.

So, to reap the benefits of the ultimate CMO dashboard, you would need your data to be sourced from and consolidated on the Salesforce platform. Which is why Musqot is a featured application available on the Salesforce AppExchange.

But if you measure – and show – marketing success in a format that ties it all together like this, where activities are directly associated with sales success, the sales manager may just stop asking you to organize huge events and request more long time planning and engaging campaigns that are timely based upon the actual needs of the future customer. So now both Sales and Finance recognize your marketing success.

By consolidating your data, your activities and your results on one platform that is integrated well into the company’s IT backend, the CIO will recognize the success of your marketing activities.

And if everyone else is pleased, so is your CEO. Especially since you did not bore her to death, and succeeded in presenting your update within the eight seconds you had to make an impact.

Success is about balancing data, art and poetry

Some people – including many marketers – think data is dull and boring. I don’t. Data has poetry when you know how to look. To let it speak to you is  pure art; it will help you develop a successful datadriven strategy.

Nonsense

 

For a while now I have been struggling with definitions and perspectives on the enigma of datadriven marketing. There are so many different skills involved – and so many departmental functions that hold a stake. To understand the confusion, you might like to read my previous post What is Datadriven Marketing Even the dictionaries, let alone the stakeholdes themselves, are struggling with the term. From a marketing perspective, however, there is a clear purpose:

Datadriven marketing means capturing and analyzing data from the abundance of available transactions and interactions between you, your company and your market – and turning them into meaningful conversations that engage your audience.

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Click here for more of these excellent cartoons.

 

Datadriven marketing is pretty straightforward

“This is what works: being clear about a Call to Action, knowing your audience, crafting content that’s got a story to it, measuring and analysing results and adjusting based on the data.” (Jim Rosenberg, Chief Communications Officer at Accion)

There are some key words in this statement which have evolved into separate – and rather hyped – marketing disciplines:

  • Know your audience – the hype word here is personalisation
  • Content with storytelling – the hype word is Content is King
  • Measuring and analysing results – the hype word is Business Intelligence

What perplexes me is that each of these components seem to be addressed separately depending on what is the hottest trend on the various expert forums and conferences aimed at marketers. Add the #InternetOfThings to the mix and it gets even more disassociated from the real business purpose of marketing.

Getting personal

What if marketers listened to their data before they applied it to a mailing list with names, company size and job title? Personal contact information provided over completed online forms tends to be incorrect, flimsy and incomplete. Often it is  contaminated in the mailing application by duplicates and record matching, and the risk of antagonizing the recipient is real.

Personalisation should not be about getting the name and job title right, it should be about getting personal to the extent that the timing, the message and the format is relevant to the person receiving the communication.

Get aligned – or perish

What if marketers worked their way backwards from the business objectives to the content that was needed and embraced by the sales organisation to achieve them?

Studies show that despite “Content is King”, many sales teams do not fully utilize these carefully drafted assets:

Only 9 percent of content created in enterprise marketing departments is viewed more than five times by the sales department, according to Docurated’s latest State of Sales Enablement report.

Apart from an apparent lack of strategy around content creation, marketing and sales teams are not communicating and appear to be creating content in silos. Read more here.

How to turn metrics and analyses into actionable insights

The good news is that organizations are collecting and creating more data, but they also have better analytics tools and techniques available. The bad news is that there can be too much of a good thing. Paul Blasé from PriceWaterhouseCoopers explains it like this:

“For example, they (…the senior management…) can debate, ‘well why did the market grow at this rate when I assumed [it would grow] at this rate; or why did this competitor gain share versus me, when I assumed the opposite would happen because I dropped my price? It’s about combining the intuition and the experience with the science of data analytics together to help an executive team make better decisions, and that’s where we’re seeing traction.”

The challenge is to allow the poetry to enter the discussion – expressed by Blasé as combining intuition with experience. Because what characterises these questions is that executives tend to address historical data with lagging indicators and based on KPIs and other metrics they defined not from insights they need, but from data that is available to them within the scope of the reporting and analytics tools that they currently use.

The Harvard Business Review conducted an interesting study among graduates who were in positions where the focus was on researching competitive intelligence. And concluded that only half of the companies actually use the competitive intelligence that they collect.

Why? Because when decisions are made, he or she who shouts the loudest, normally defines the game. So if data is collected and interpreted only to reconfirm an assumption or justify a strategy already defined, or if the actual data provides insights that are countering the loudest shouter, management may end up making some very bad decisions. But you can turn it around – if you listen and understand what the data tells you, successful decisions will help your business and your career. One of the examples from the Harvard Business Review study is from a pharmaceutical company that used the data to make business related decisions:

A common theme across industries was the smart reallocation of resources. One analyst told us that their company had stopped development on a project that was consuming lots of local resources after the analysis indicated it wouldn’t be effective. They then re-applied those resources to an area with true growth potential — that area is now starting to take off. In a different company, an analysis led to the cancellation of an extremely high-risk R&D program. (Benjamin Gilad, Leonard M. Fuld, Harvard Business Review Jan 28, 2016)

Read more about why organizations struggle to get data cultures right in this article by David Weldon from Information Management.

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From chaos to order

In the second half of this video  the SBI (Sales Benchmark Index) Revenue Growth Maturity Model defines the evolutionary flow from data strategy chaos to order:

  1. Chaos – the organisation has a corporate data strategy but it is not translated into a functional direction.
  2. Defined – there is both a corporate and functional strategy, but they are not implemented.
  3. Implemented – now, the strategies for both corporate and functions are implemented but remain separate entities and not aligned.
  4. Managed – now we have aligned the strategies to run the organisation with a defined goal and actionable insights
  5. Predictable – aligned both internally within the organisation and including and integrating external data sources from the market.

According to SBI, 51% of US companies are still at level 1 – in a chaotic environment where strategy is neither communicated nor aligned with the business.

That is the pitfall that digital marketers must avoid – the disalignment of business objectives and marketing strategy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where is everybody – where’s my ROI? Tips and Tricks to attract the right audience at your event

If you read my previous blog entry, you may still be looking for the best way to find the golden audience that makes you best friends with the sales teams. Here are some suggestions I have collected over the years:

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Plan with the end in mind

  • Don’t just set a date, build a 3-touch-strategy together with your stakeholders (the sales teams in most cases).
  • The theme and message has to promote and strengthen the conversations that your sales teams are having with their target prospects. Don’t push some new message or vision down their throats if this is not what their targets are interested in.
  • Be flexible – if the conversation has moved over the 8-10 weeks of planning before the event, make sure to have alternatives ready to add to the speaker list.

Email marketing – and other channels

  • Don’t publish it all at once, when you start the invite process – build an engagement staircase with at least 3 touches.
  • Expand your email campaign with social media engagement through dedicated, branded Linkedin groups, with a short, recognizable and easy to remember hashtag to use across channels before, during and after the event.
  • Another great tip is to prepare your tweets and posts so that your colleagues across the company can share without sounding like a marketing machine.
  • Make it personal, local, fun – whatever their preference is.

For your email campaign – here are the three touches I would recommend:

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Launch the idea of an event and pre-announce the date. Get the theme out there to gauge interest from your target audience. If you have a star speaker name, don’t let the cat out of the sack just yet. Have a call-to-action button for “sign me up” or “tell me more” – and make sure there is a response on the second one.

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First real invite – allowing people to sign up based on an agenda with topics and speakers that are “glocal” – have a global vision but either are local or have local recognition. Always have a button “sign me up” and “tell me more” to encourage a dialogue.

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Now let the cat out of the sack. Make a big boom invite only promoting date, theme, agenda and your star.

Less is more – let people click through if they want to deep dive into agenda or speaker profiles etc. That way you can capture who is interested so that your sales teams can follow up with personal emails or telephone calls.

Still not there? Time to call the cavallery

And if all fails – if you have not met your quality registration target – go the extra mile – engage with your sales teams, show them the gap between their expectation on the attending audience and their sales target accounts.

Give them a cheat sheet with talking points about the event.  Remember, you know everything about how great it will be – but they probably don’t event know the speakers or content in detail yet. Get them excited, build a dashboard or some other gamification element to let them compete with each other (and make sure there is a decent prize for the winner, so get that on the budget from the very beginning).

Help them help you succeed.