Execs Say The Most Critical Success Factors For Effective Marketing Are…

August 24, 2016

HBRPardot-Critical-Success-Factors-Effective-Marketing-Aug2016The presence of analytics skills on the marketing team is viewed as the most critical success factor for effective marketing over the next 2 years, according to a study [download page] from Harvard Business Review (HBR) Analytic Services sponsored by Salesforce Pardot. The study adds to a body of recent research emphasizing the importance of analytics skills in the marketing organization.

For example, a recent CMO survey found that data analytics skills are among the most highly desirable, though they’re the most challenging to find when hiring.

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A sample of recent analytics-related articles follow:

Returning to the HBR study, the integration of marketing and sales teams ranks as the second-most critical success factors of those identified, ahead of better content for engagement. These two success factors are actually linked for B2B marketers, who are being tasked with creating better content for sales teams.

Beyond the top-3 factors, some executives also are looking for increased engagement over social media channels, more effective use of marketing automation software, and smarter software (such as predictive intelligence). A study last year also indicated that marketers could improve their use of marketing automation technology, as it was one of the technologies that a sizable proportion classified as migraine-inducing

Somewhat surprisingly, the least important factor for near-term marketing success is mobile device marketing, per the HBR study respondents. That’s despite separate research suggesting that CMOs believe that mobile is the most important future technology and that real-time mobile personalized transactions are one of the most impactful future trends in marketing. At the same time, other survey data indicates that connected devices aren’t viewed as the most exciting opportunity over the next 5 years, falling behind others such as data-driven marketing and customer experience optimization.

Back on the top of analytics, just 15% of respondents to the HBR survey rate themselves as advanced marketers when it comes to their use of information technology, analytics and automation for marketing and sales efforts. These marketers report using advanced tools, data and practices that are well integrated and widely used.

Almost an equal proportion (13%) of respondents classify themselves as “manual marketers,” who use only basic tools and practices and have only limited use of information technology, analytics and automation.

There are an array of differences between “advanced marketers” and “manual marketers” detailed in the study, some of which are highlighted below:

  • Leads that aren’t closed are forgotten: 7% of advanced; 46% of manual;
  • Take a strategic approach to marketing: 88% of advanced; 56% of manual;
  • Marketing goals are weighted more toward immediate sales than long-term relationships: 25% of advanced; 50% of manual;
  • Our marketing technology is easy to use: 55% of advanced; 27% of manual;
  • Able to access required analytics from within the marketing department: 59% of advanced; 16% of manual;
  • Our marketing professionals have the training they need in order to be effective in the new environment: 60% of advanced; 39% of manual; and
  • Marketing metrics are consistent across various parts of the organization: 58% of advanced; 27% of manual.

Sticking with marketing metrics, the survey notes that while many marketers recognize the need to track key metrics to determine overall marketing performance, only few are able to track them today. The differences are most acute for marketing spend ROI (56% need to track; 38% can track), lead-to-opportunity conversion rate (50% need to track; 40% can track), and customer lifetime value (49% need to track; 32% can track).

About the Data: The study describes its methodology as follows:

“A total of 556 respondents completed the survey, including 264 who are members of the Harvard Business Review Advisory Council and 292 members of the broader HBR audience.

Twenty-three percent were executive management or board members, 32 percent were senior management, 29 percent came from middle management, and 16 percent came from other levels.

Technology, financial services, and manufacturing topped the list, at 15 percent, 13 percent, and 13 percent, respectively. Consulting services provided 8 percent of respondents, with the remaining industries contributing 7 percent or less.

Sixteen percent of respondents worked in sales or business development, with another 16 percent in marketing/communications. Both operations/product management and general management were represented by 10 percent. Other functions were represented by 8 percent or less of the respondent base.

Thirty-three percent of respondents were from North America, 32 percent were from Europe/MEA, 27 percent from Asia/Pacific, and 8 percent were from South/Central America.”

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