Your marketing metrics, or your scoreboard, should measure both activity and results. Unfortunately it is the hidden insights into the relationship between the two that creates actionable intelligence. Cause and effect relationships in a complex B2B environment characterized by multiple buyer touch points across a buyer driven buying cycle are as clear as mud. It is fair to say that the easiest things to measure are the least meaningful. Knowing what questions to ask of your metrics differentiates successful marketing programs from the money pits.
In a recent CRMSoftware.TV video, Jon Miller, Vice President of Marketing for Marketo, speaks to the importance of marketing quantifying its value to the rest of the organization. Jon provides his point of view about going beyond activity metrics to linking them with results by asking the right questions. Jon’s insights touch upon lead generation, sales productivity, and marketing portfolio productivity. The credibility provided also establishes a platform for asking the right questions about how to improve marketing operations.
Marketing operations consists of marketing processes fueled by content. One of the great benefits of marketing automation solutions is that marketers can gather lots of data to better understand the impact of processes and content. To Jon’s point, marketers have to ask the right questions. While it may be tempting to see which content was associated with the most deals the answer probably will not be statistically meaningful or provide any insight into what to do next. It is usually more important to track which content triggered demand for more content, or not, and track the impact of alternative next steps. When the objective is to keep buyers engaged until they are ready for sales then a critical question is, “What content and approaches do I need to keep buyers interested?”
Our customers tell us that one of the lessons learned from asking that question is the amount of content required is greater than they expected. As their buyers move through buying process steps they have questions to be answered at each step. Unfortunately providing buyers an answer to a question through a single piece of content is usually not sufficient. Buyers often need to be touched several times related to a specific question to move the conversation forward. For any specific question buyers first have to be paying attention to identify an available answer. Finding an answer does not mean that they understand the answer. Understanding the answer does not mean that they believe the answer. Believing the answer does not mean that they will take action. Buyers need time to think, apply an answer to their context, perhaps do additional analysis, and then make a decision to move to another question. They need to be touched multiple times with similar but different content.
Planning to touch buyers several times drives up the volume of content required. Conventional point production content development processes don’t scale well in speed, cost, or quality to meet this need. This is particularly important to one of the fastest growing B2B media formats, video. To learn more about scaling up to meet the new content requirement for volume see: Video – The Second Best Way to Create for Content Marketing.
There are a lot of lessons yet to be learned by asking the right questions from marketing data. The need for multiple content touches is an important one. Continuing to query the linkage between activity and results will drive new insights into customers’ buying processes, content requirements, and the effectiveness of alternative marketing operations tactics.