As a follow-up to an interview conducted with Mark Stouse, CEO of Proof Analytics, about the “Marketing Proof Gap,” the below interview dives deeper into what causes a lot of waste in marketing spend and how the best marketers are finding ways to better measure marketing impact. For insight on what the marketing proof gap is, its causes and consequences, see here.
Whitler: In this earlier article, you talked about the Marketing Proof Gap and the consequences. What causes a lot of the waste in marketing spend?
Stouse: Most of marketing’s waste is actually created by the business. One big example of this occurs when there are funding cuts. There is tremendous waste as assets, programs and momentum are lost. Several quarters later, the business often realizes their error, and they move to increase marketing spend again. But rebuilding the programs is very expensive – like a rocket, it takes a lot of money, time and talented people to escape the “gravitational pull” of the downward momentum caused by the budget cuts and “regain orbit”. In a nutshell, you lose talent, efficacy, efficiency, and continuity.
Whitler: Why is it hard to accurately measure marketing’s impact?
Stouse: In B2C, the feedback loop is qualitative and relatively short. The Nike campaign with Colin Kaepernick is an excellent example. You can observe impact very quickly, and if that’s negative you can change it quickly. In long cycle, high cost, high risk B2B buying decisions, the risks attached to marketing efficacy are back end loaded because the feedback loop is often much longer. The analytics show that money spent on B2B marketing has 20-30x the risk of spending it on sales comp.
The other factor that makes it harder to assess marketing impact in some companies is that their marketing teams have not invest in the regular measurement of audience sentiment – awareness, confidence, and trust scores, among others. The annual or biannual “voice of the customer” doesn’t cut it. You miss too much.
Whitler: What is it that the best marketers are doing to narrow the gap?
Stouse: They are actively engaged with their C-suite to define their expectations of impact and value. They are building their tech stacks to meet those C-suite expectations first because they realize that marketing doesn’t get to decide what success looks like. The business gets to decide that. The CMOs and CCOs who are having that conversation are starting to really do well.
Whitler: What advice would you give CMOs who want to narrow the gap?
Stouse: Get real about the business value conversation. Fair or not, let your business leaders tell you what success is and how they define it. Then get serious about the data you have and run the proper analytics. If the business wants to enrich the insights, they will have to provide access to more data. This is why the CFO-CMO axis is so important, and why the right analytics act as a bridge between the two.
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