For decades, marketing professionals have focused exclusive attention on the creative aspects of their craft and blissfully flown under the accountability radar in their organizations. Many marketing people traditionally have relied on flashy presentations, long lunches, and loud neckties to get the job done, happily buying expensive advertising, creating extensive branding campaigns, and executing ambitious public relations programs without regard to measurement. The cost/benefit analysis? Heck, marketers would say we're investing in the future.
But CEOs and investors have become increasingly skeptical. The quote, "I know that half of my advertising budget is wasted. The problem is that I don't know which half" (attributed to John Wanamaker, Frank W. Woolworth, and Lord Leverhulme, among others), isn't cute anymore. Not knowing where half of your millions of dollars in marketing are spent just doesn't fly. Other departments defend every last dollar spent and have invested in the content management tools to help them. Salespeople rely on sales force automation (SFA) tools. Customer support departments have automated customer relationship management (CRM) software with other departments, such as manufacturing and finance, standardizing on their specialist applications.
"Marketing wants to become more strategic, but most marketing professionals don't know about everything going on in the enterprise," says Elana Anderson, principal analyst at Forrester Research, an independent technology research company. "These people want a technology that takes all incoming data and links it to the marketing process with analytics for measurement. It is critical to tie marketing automation to measurement so marketing understands what's effective. Then they can change the mix to be more efficient."
While many resist the shift to managing by the numbers, forward-thinking marketers realize their very professional survival might be at stake. "Marketing people are finally getting into metrics," says Dee Rambeau, managing partner at DVCO Technology, a company that creates online communications tools for professional business communicators in marketing, advertising, and public relations. "It came out of the downturn of 2001 and 2002. Marketing budgets were some of the first to go, requiring people in marketing departments to show value for everything they spend money on. The CEO wants to know the ROI of every department, but marketing has been traditionally less visible."