5 Ways Marketers Can Up Their Game in 2018

In November, Xaxis and The Economist Intelligence Unit launched the “Accountability in Marketing” report, which asked 250 CMOs and senior marketers how they were dealing with the increased pressure for accountability, their role in driving growth, and the main challenges in achieving results.
Sabrina Bailey-Navalon
Sabrina Bailey-Navalon, Marketing Director

The report uncovered some key insights including:

  • 80% of marketers were wholly or partly judged by their contribution to strategic business goals.
  • 70% said that their performance targets were not defined with reference to those strategic business goals.
  • 51% say that their ability to be fully accountable was held back by a lack of data and analytical skills in the marketing department.

In the wake of this report, we hosted a roundtable with key media and advertising leaders to discuss the findings and this is what we found out.

1. If you’re not accountable, then you’re a cost

It sounds brutal but it’s a reality. According to our report, 60% of marketers feel that marketing needs to make a better contribution to the organisation’s strategic goals. Our roundtable participants agreed that it was often difficult to show a concrete link between marketing activities and the company’s strategic goals. Incorporating the company strategy into your plans is key in establishing marketing’s value to a business.

2. Let the data speak

One marketer at the roundtable gave the example of a product that wasn’t selling as well as senior management expected. They were convinced that it was related to media spend. But when they did the analysis, they learned it was actually product price that was inhibiting sales. Leverage your data to determine the right strategy.

3. Package your marketing plan

“Most other departments have a much more limited audience than we do in marketing,” explained one of our participants. “We have to have a broad insight into the whole of the rest of the business — sales, engineering, finance, you name it — and that gives us a very complex structure. That puts a big responsibility on us to understand and internalise the practices and priorities of all those other teams and then package that all together in the marketing plan. Again, everyone in the company will have their opinion. In the end, the data is the best guide.”

4. Push back

Reporting return on investment is never straightforward especially in marketing and 55% of the marketers surveyed say that their marketing platforms are fragmented and do not offer a comprehensive overview of tactical marketing investments. “One of our markets has a well-developed attribution model,” explained a retail expert. “Our board wants it rolled out to all other territories, right now. But we have had to push back, explaining that we need to customise the model for each market we bring it to, or it won’t work.”

5. Have a voice at the table

“There is an increasing demand for marketing people who not only have all the soft skills,” explained one of the participants, “but who also understand the data, the analytics, and the technology that underpins it all. Everyone is searching for that person who can do it all.  They’re like some sort of marketing unicorn. But we really need them. We need people in marketing, and in senior leadership who can drive change.”

Get the Xaxis-EIU report

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