What Marketing Leaders Should be Investing In (and How to Measure Success)

What Marketing Leaders Should be Investing In (and How to Measure Success)

New marketing tactics and technologies continually emerge from the digital woodwork. Marketers must constantly balance the adoption of industry innovations with their ability to accurately gauge and value their effectiveness.  

The following post is a Q&A with analyst and subject-matter expert, Jennifer Polk, conducted by Gartner to promote their 2018 Digital Marketing Conference.

Polk explores the role of emerging marketing trends and technologies and the value of data in an era which now demands a customer-centric approach.

How have marketing leaders’ roles and responsibilities changed since last year’s conference?

Marketing leaders are accustomed to change, but during this past year they’ve seen unprecedented expansion of their responsibilities, combined with declining budgets. The Gartner CMO Spend Survey shows many marketing leaders are seeing budget cuts this year, after three years of growth.

These factors make it more important than ever for marketers to have a well-defined strategy that ties investments, programs and execution to business results. Marketers must adapt to their expanding responsibilities by leveraging technology to achieve scale, like using artificial intelligence to enable real-time marketing.

Gartner has emphasized the importance of adopting a customer-first mindset. How can marketers become more customer-centric?

Marketers have to rely on customer insight. They need a renewed focus on gathering first-party data, blending it with second- and third-party data, and realizing the value of that data as a way to connect with customers.

They must turn customer insight into segments, personas and customer journey maps and use those tools — rather than opinions, assumptions or past decisions — to shape marketing programs and design customer experiences, personalize content and engagement, and inform measurement and execution.

How can marketing leaders pressure-test emerging trends and technologies to decide what makes sense for them?

Marketing leaders who successfully incorporate emerging trends and technologies in their organizations excel at sourcing, vetting and testing innovation ideas — whether trend or tool — against their business goals and objectives.

Marketers need to fight “bright shiny object” syndrome by focusing on those trends and technologies that deliver competitive advantage — if not immediate financial gain — and look for ways to scale and commercialize innovation in a fast-moving marketplace.

What are some of the ways marketing leaders can measure their success?

Marketers must improve their mastery of measurement basics, such as choosing the right metrics and aligning strategic and operational KPIs. At the same time, marketing teams should embrace advanced measurement techniques like attribution modeling.

Marketers need to shift focus from brand health metrics to customer experience (CX) metrics as a better gauge of long-term success. Many marketers struggle to measure the ROI of marketing spend and programs, signaling the importance of analytics talent, skill building and technology. Unless marketing leaders get measurement right, their budgets will be at risk.

What other types of technology should marketing leaders invest in to maximize program impact?

Technology is only as good as marketers’ ability to get value from it, and marketing leaders are challenged in this area. The Gartner Marketing Technology Survey found that only half of marketers think their organizations are effective at acquiring and using martech.

Marketers face siloed, redundant software and complex ecosystems, leading to inflated costs and unrealized ROI. They must focus on building and managing the martech stack and roadmap to achieve mission-critical priorities, like a single view of the customer through a customer data platform or a blend of marketing and advertising through a multichannel marketing hub. Otherwise, they will face increasing pressure to defend their current and future technology investments.

If you'd like to talk about developing an effective aligned strategy and what metrics you should measure, we’re happy to have a short informal consultation about some steps you could take.

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Topics: inbound marketing seo strategy