A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, Chief Executive Officers hired Chief Marketing Officers to make sure all their ads looked pretty and their television commercials were shot by really cool Hollywood directors. And maybe they hoped for a few sales leads as well, but that was asking a lot.
Flash forward to today, and CEOs are demanding much more from their CMOs. Both because they need to, and because the tools and services available to a CMO make it possible.
In an article on CMO.com, Stephanie Overby outlined the ten things CEOs want from their CMOs. They range from being a focused financial steward, to being the voice of the customer, to being data analysts, among other things.
In another article written by Laura Patterson for The CEO Refresher, she posited that every CMO should be able to answer ten questions asked by their CMO. Among the questions: How are customer needs evolving? What business outcomes will marketing directly impact? And what investments need to be made to improve Marketing’s ability to measure its contribution?
The gist here is that CMOs are being required to think more like a CEO. To be successful and to properly contribute to the success of a brand, a CMO must not only ensure that the brand’s marketing programs are performing well on their own, but they must also be able to indicate how those marketing KPIs contribute to the KPIs that matter to the boardroom — namely revenue, growth, and profit.
In a Kuno Creative post, John McTigue shared a list of top marketing KPIs that matter to C-level management. HubSpot CMO, Mike Volpe, wrote a post entitled “The 6 Marketing Metrics Your CEO Actually Cares About.” Clearly, there is a groundswell of acknowledgment around the need for CMOs to supply CEOs with numbers that support their KPIs, and to do it on a regular basis. But how can CMOs put systems in place to gather and quantify the information needed to support these KPIs?
How Inbound Marketing Can Feed Boardroom KPIs
Chief among Overby’s list of the ten things CEOs want from a CMO is that they act like a data analyst. They must have an in-depth understanding of the KPIs that are of importance to the CEO, and how maketing can serve those KPIs. It just so happens inbound marketing can form the basis of information that feeds boardroom KPIs by focusing on Return on Marketing Investment versus Return on Campaign Investment. Take sales revenues. The entire inbound marketing chain from content creation to lead management to marketing automation all serve to deliver specific, measurable data that can be linked to sales.
More specifically, with an inbound marketing solution that has sources reports, you can determine exactly which channels (organic search, referrals, social media, email marketing, paid search, etc.) brought in traffic, leads, and customers. And when connected to a corporate CRM, you can map this information directly to new customers and sales. This speaks to Patterson’s point that CMOs must be able to clearly point to the factors that have the greatest effect on revenue targets and be able to prove which metrics and KPIs can define the degree to which those factors affect outcome.
With conversion analysis, you can map the path your customers took from first contact through final sale and determine which content was most effective in keeping the pipeline filled. Most importantly, this type of reporting allows one to look backwards through the funnel to see how and when inbound marketing touch points affected buyer outcome.
In addition, if you have access to an inbound marketing system that allows for the aggregate analysis of its customer base, you can set goals for visits, leads and customers to help determine which elements of inbound marketing will help you hit those goals. In this way, you can also determine the necessary resources you will need to implement the tactics to meet those goals thereby arriving at an overhead figure that can be factored into your customer acquisition costs. And you will be able to address Patterson’s suggestion that CMOs need to be able to inform their CEOs which marketing resources and content customers use to make buying decisions.
If your inbound marketing solution offers social media analytics tools, you can easily determine the business value of your social media activities by tying the time it takes to manage those social media programs along with which leads are responding to your social content to sales through the above mentioned conversion analysis. This data can then feed into the marketing metric’s our CMO, Mike Volpe, put forth to arrive at something a bit more relevant to the CEO than, “Hey, we just topped 100,000 Likes on Facebook.”
Campaign metrics are, of course, very important. After all, as a CMO you need to know which marketing tactics are working and which are not. But when it comes time to speak with your CEO about how marketing is effecting the bottom line of the company, inbound marketing practices can provide you the necessary information you need to wow your CEO and the boardroom.