Broadly, there are two types of marketing measurement strategies: The kind LinkedIn personalities evangelize and that everyone knows they should use, and the kind marketers actually have time for.
Because let’s be real: Reality is messy. Some marketers are stuck with legacy equipment, managing disorderly databases on paltry budgets. And for those whose titles might as well be Director of Extinguishing Other People’s Fires, sometimes tracking performance comes last. Or for five percent of marketers, doesn’t happen at all.
Demand Gen Report conducted a study on the state of marketing measurement. Here is what they found.
1. Over half of marketers struggle with measurement – and growing
Measurement is both a top priority and a top challenge. Eighty-seven percent of marketers say they prioritize measuring their marketing performance, but 58 percent say their efforts “need improvement,” or worse. And their competency is declining.
Fewer marketers reported they had “excellent” measurement skills this year and more marketers reported that their efforts were inadequate.
Why the decline? It may only be relative. There’s greater awareness in the market this year that measurement is a must. Marketers who may have considered themselves average last year have now laid the foundation for analytics and discovered problems they didn’t know existed.
For example, some have realized, for the first time, that pipeline velocity isn’t the same as average deal length. Others have found that multi-touch attribution is harder than it looks. Either way, they’re on the right path, and we can probably expect measurement maturity levels to rise in the near future.
How marketers rate their measurement skills:
2. Marketers lack measurement resources
Of all factors, inertia holds marketers back the most. Their past decisions around budget, headcount, and analytics systems hamper their ability to measure going forward. Their top challenges this year are: having too few resources, messy data, the wrong reporting software, and being unsure of what KPIs to measure, in that order.
A lack of resources creates a negative resource cycle. Marketers can only manage what they measure and when 45 percent don’t track the middle of the funnel and 70 percent don’t conduct any attribution analysis, as is currently the case, the resources they do have don’t always go to the right places.
How can marketers escape the resource tailspin? Lay off of experimenting with new tools and channel your efforts into getting full-funnel tracking set up. It’s only when you can see what’s working that you can maximize what resources you do have.
The top challenges to marketing measurement:
3. Deeper metrics are top of mind
If marketers could wave a magic wand—what some of us call budget—lots would change. They’d track their impact on pipeline and revenue, show an ROI on all their investments, and improve their alignment with the sales team, in that order.
They’d also set up tracking for their pipeline opportunity, deal size, pipeline velocity, and profit margin, and iron out kinks in tracking across channels or funnel stages—something half of marketers still struggle with.
Marketers’ metrics wishlist:
4. 52% of marketers are still stuck in Excel hell
Marketers with money to spend would do well to pour it into buying better analytics. Demand Gen Report found that only 15 percent have a dedicated analytics suite and 52 percent still manually export data to—don’t cringe—Microsoft Excel.
Excel is probably not most marketers’ favorite place to be, but without a proper analytics system to summarize all their data, they’re left cobbling together information from web analytics, marketing automation systems, and their CRM.
Marketers interested in moving from average to excellent should invest in an analytics platform that can consolidate all, or at least most, of their data. The cost may be worth it to short-staffed time-poor marketers who need to make more profitable decisions.
5. ABM is a priority, but the balance is unclear
Account-based marketing (ABM) is an increasing priority for marketers. Twenty percent already have adequate ABM tracking in place and 48 percent plan to have it by next year.
Yet when they do get tracking set up, there’s still the big question of what’s the right balance between tracking ABM versus demand-gen. Most marketers still practice both, but half of marketers tracking ABM aren’t sure if they’re still tracking inbound funnel metrics.
The proliferation of ABM-specific marketing roles over the past two years may only exacerbate this intra-marketing silo. Marketers who want to measure so they can manage would do well to call a meeting of the revenue team and get these metrics sorted out.