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Marketers Drive Impact by Answering Two Simple Questions

There are many questions marketers field in the course of their day.

Where’s that new list of leads? Do we have any good content on strategic planning? How do I reset my Slack password again? 

But when it comes to results and driving impact, there are only two questions that really matter:

  1. Where are we spending our marketing dollars?
  2. Are we investing those dollars efficiently?

Unfortunately, many teams struggle to accurately generate a response without having to painstakingly sift through loads of data and reports. While 89% of marketers believe data quality drives the right B2B sales and marketing campaigns, 50% are not confident in their company’s data.

Let’s look at these two critical questions in more detail.

1. Where are we spending our marketing dollars?

Marketing Ops is often asked to provide quick responses on where budget is currently being spent. But at many organizations this information is decentralized, living in various spreadsheets and finance systems, making it nearly impossible to track investments properly. 

It’s common place for the budget reconciliation process to span multiple days each month. This severely limits the strategies and insights marketing needs to be more effective with their spend. And in the event of a crisis – economic crash, global pandemic, or a disastrous product launch – when time is of the essence, this usually difficult task becomes herculean. 

“We can land our budget within .05% of plan every quarter. We know exactly what we are spending, where and when needed we can reallocate spend to ensure we meet our plan.”

David Cohen, Head of Business Planning at Palo Alto Networks

This crucial responsibility rests with the Marketing Ops role – to report on what the team has spent, and what’s left to spend as swiftly as possible to maximize marketing’s impact. But Marketing Ops can’t deliver successfully, unless they have the right tools. They need budget visibility at their fingertips and a collaborative platform that holds the many budgets marketing owns for a holistic view.  

2. Are we investing those dollars efficiently?

Any marketing organization worth its salt is at least trying to understand which campaigns and activities are most successful. Without it, marketers can’t be confident they are investing in the right programs and how they should prioritize their resources.

“I don’t want to get stuck in the game of marketing needing to do more with less. I want to evolve the game so that marketing gets more because of how much we return on our investments and deliver on business objectives.”

Neenu Sharma, VP of Marketing Operations and Analytics at GE Digital

Answering this question is a matter of measuring ROI. That can be a true return-on-investment metric, or some marketing teams look more closely at measuring the return they’re getting on intent or impact. It differs for every organization, but the ultimate goal is the same – understand which programs are driving value for the company. The first steps toward measuring impact are having a clean, single-source of data truth and identifying the metrics that matter to your marketing organization. 

The impact of knowing the answers

Creating the right data foundation of seeing instantly where dollars are being spent, leads to better questions around why marketers are investing in those programs and if they are the most effective. 

Together, teams that are able to quickly respond to these two questions will deliver valuable insights to their organizations that drive real business benefits:

  • More agility – Provide timely insights that are more accurate, identifying the most efficient campaigns enables teams to re-allocate and re-investing faster.
  • More visibility – Provide budget updates in a second, understanding sunk costs, where you have wiggle room, and what’s still on the table.
  • More knowledge – Provide reporting on marketing ROI at multiple levels and types to enable decisions across the organization.
  • More confidence – With a grasp on spend and impact, marketing operations enables the entire organization to be more confident in their campaigns and where to focus their time and dollars.

When marketers have real-time insights into their budgets, and can see which programs are most effective, they can focus on what’s working and drop what doesn’t. It’s an opportunity for Marketing Ops to increase the impact of their investments and establish marketing as an efficient revenue engine.