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Only 1 in 4 Marketers Can Prove Their Impact on the Business.
By MarketingCharts staff
Monday, 14th July 2014

The pressure on marketing to measure its value and contribution to the business is increasing, according to 85% of respondents to a recent survey from ITSMA and Vision Edge Marketing (VEM), but few report being able to demonstrate their value and contribution to the business, per the report: just 26% of respondents indicated that marketing was able to measure and report the contribution of its programs to the business last year.

While respondents seemed generally confident that marketing programs made an impact, most said their contributions were not measured.

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For example, a plurality 40% of the respondents indicated that marketing programs made a difference, but the contribution to the business goals were not measured and reported. Another 28% agreed that marketing appears to have made some impact on the business, but it is not clear if the impact was material, nor is it measured.

The results bring to mind several similar studies released of late which also found marketers struggling to determine ROI and prove their value:

  • Only 35.7% of US CMOs feel that they can prove the short-term impact of marketing spend quantitatively, and even fewer (28.6%) can prove the long-term impact on a quantitative basis, per the latest CMO study from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business;
  • About two-thirds of marketers responding to an Adobe survey agreed that there is now more pressure to show return on investment on marketing spend, and 8 in 10 felt that it will be much (29%) or somewhat (50%) more important for their marketing function to prove business impact and/or ROI in the next 12 months;
  • Just 51% of B2B marketing leaders surveyed by Forrester Research agreed that marketing’s financial value is clear to the business.

There are several distinguishing factors separating the “A” marketers (those who can measure and report the contribution of marketing) and the rest, according to the ITSAM/VEM study. As the authors note, the “A” marketers are more likely to be operating out of “the right mindset.”

Just 16% believe that it is difficult, and perhaps impossible, to measure marketing’s contribution to business outcomes. By comparison, 37% of those in the “Middle of the Pack” (those who reported that marketing makes a difference, but the contribution is not measured) agreed, as did 59% of “Laggards” (those who reported that marketing may have an impact, but don’t know if that impact is material).

Meanwhile, 65% of the “A” marketers said their marketing organization has a revenue goal, compared to 41% of those in the “Middle of the Pack” and 38% of “Laggards.”

Compared to the rest of the respondents, “A” marketers were also:

  • more likely to agree that the majority of the marketing staff has business acumen;
  • more likely to track a variety of metrics, in particular (and not surprisingly), impact;
  • more likely to set documented performance targets and measure their performance against those targets; and
  • more likely to produce a marketing dashboard.

About the Data: The results are based on a survey of 380 respondents. Survey invitations were emailed during April 2014 to the ITSMA and VEM communities. In addition, survey invitations were extended via social media channels such as Twitter and LinkedIn. Some 18% of respondents primarily sell products; 40% primarily sell services; and 42% sell both products and services. Respondents are from a variety of industries, but software solutions (15%), IT professional services/consulting (13%), and marketing services/advertising agencies (12%) were most heavily represented. Respondents come from companies ranging in size from less than $50 million (32%) to $5 billion and more (30%).

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