Marketing Executives Are Seeking Greater Accountability

A new survey from the CMO Council, a nonprofit association of senior marketing executives, reveals that although nearly 90 percent of top-ranking high-tech marketers consider marketing performance management (MPM) a significant priority, nearly 40 percent of respondents say they are dissatisfied with their ability to take accurate measurements. "We're finding out there's a vast amount of money spent on marketing, and with the significant outlay comes compliance and accountability [issues], and a lot more pressure on companies to justify those expenditures," says Donovan Neale-May, executive director of CMO Council. In aggregate marketers are confident in their ability to measure the performance of direct and email marketing, as well as online campaigns and telemarketing. But they rated themselves poorly on their ability to benchmark marketing performance against competitors, to provide analysis of individual programs, and even to perform detailed marketing analysis on a per-country basis. Just over two thirds of the 319 respondents said that their organization uses some form of MPM, but only 21 percent of all respondents rated themselves "satisfied" or "very satisfied" with the available capabilities. MPM represents a small component of marketing spending, with half of the companies saying MPM represents less than one percent of their overall marketing budget. Fifty-eight percent, however, foresee allocating more resources to the task over the next two years. There is a great deal of room to grow. Nearly half of those surveyed say that MPM is a collection of informal tasks rather than a comprehensive system driven by process and technology--just 17 percent use a formal MPM suite. "It's tough--there is a lack of agreement on how things should be measured," says Carol Meyers, vice president of marketing for MPM vendor Unica. "Marketers have one viewpoint; the CFO might have a different viewpoint of what should be included in the cost of programs and what revenues should be [attributed] to the program." More than half the companies surveyed do not measure performance for marketing activities surrounding branding or sales and marketing collateral, and nearly half do not measure the performance of channel marketing and market research programs. This leaves marketing organizations with a great deal of room to grow their understanding of the inner working and impact of their campaigns. "This isn't going to be a technology fix. It's a cultural, organizational, and technological challenge," Neale-May says. Neale-May hopes adoption of more sophisticated MPM tools will extend the professional lifespan of the senior marketing executive. "The turnover at the CMO level in companies is quite high. Many of these guys get shot before they really have a chance to do anything."
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