Focus on Marketing Metrics: should we be doing more?

I was inspired by a great Blog from Mashable to look at some of the current thinking on Marketing measurement. Prashant Suryakumar, who wrote this article makes the point that:

There are no “best practices” for measuring a successful social media campaign. Crowd behavior is dynamic and context-specific, and it is difficult, if not impossible, to build a “one size fits all” solution.

He goes on to make the point that there is a lot of data points that can be captured in social media, but not all of them are relevant and that metrics need to be divided into those that identify influencers in your community, those that help businesses understand engagement and the conversations that are being had (reputation) and finally those that show how social media is impacting the business holistically. As he says:

Measuring the impact of increased chatter for your brand might not always translate to more revenue for the business. Measuring cause and effect between buzz, branding and sales might show different dynamics for different product groups.

For me, this is the crux of the issue – how does social media activity impact the bottom line? Understanding this better will be the challenge for 2011. For an indication that certain social networking tools, specifically Blogs, can drive identifiable inbound leads, check out this ,Blog from Tiecas, which quotes Hubspot data – and which chimes with my own experience.

Funnel Management and ROI

However, while social networking measurement may be the subject de jour we should not forget that measuring any returns from Marketing is still a minority sport. According to a report quoted on ,DemandGen that I tweeted a couple of weeks ago (@cerijones216), the ,,Sales Lead Management Association (SLMA) found that:

64.9% of B to B marketers cannot track ROI, while 58% do not qualify inquiries prior to lead distribution. When respondents were asked if they track marketing ROI, only 14.6% said they do it within the SFA/CRM system.

Marketing still has a long way to go to transition to a more accountable function that can demonstrate its impact on the business in financial terms. The focus on marketing metrics, process, data and analytics has to increase in 2011 – if only to enable a successful introduction of marketing automation (for more details on the current state of play check out this report).

There is now no end of content from vendors on why marketing measurement makes sense, how to do it, how to automate it and so on. Technology marketers should check out the content from Bulldog, Hubspot and Eloqua in particular.

Let’s get in the driving seat of identifying the revenue we drive in 2011 before the CFO forces change on us. You may be surprised at the good news contained in the data and how it can be used to defend against Sales’ claims of ‘not enough leads’!