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ForresterResearch-B2B-Marketing-Impact-on-Biz-Sept2013a2 in 3 US CMOs are feeling pressure from the board to prove marketing’s value, according to recent research, and it seems that B2B marketing leaders may have some work to do in this regard. According to a Forrester Research survey [download page] of 174 B2B marketing leaders, while 72% agreed that it’s clear to their leadership how marketing impacts the business, just 51% agreed that marketing’s financial value is clear to the business. Respondents themselves may be to blame.

That’s because just 4 in 10 believe that measuring marketing’s value and contribution to the business is either very important or critical, per the researchers. What’s more, only 45% of respondents expressed confidence that they know which metrics or business outcomes their key stakeholders care about. A symptom of a larger problem: while roughly two-thirds publish a marketing dashboard, slightly fewer than half share it with an executive team.

Then again, perhaps providing key stakeholders with the relevant data wouldn’t matter. Separately in the study, when asked to what extent key stakeholders are using the data, metrics and/or analyses developed by marketing, respondents were twice as likely to say that the CEO does not use marketing data at all (16%) than to believe that the CEO relies on marketing data to make decisions (8%). The gap was even more pronounced when it came to their beliefs regarding how the CFO or finance team uses marketing data (25% ignoring; 4% relying). Only the sales team is seen more likely to rely on marketing data (15%) than to not use it at all (10%).

While those results are fairly sobering, there are some more positive developments noted in the study. A healthy 86% of respondents agreed that the link beween marketing activities and business goals is clear, and a majority agreed that marketing is good at using data and analytics to both make strategic recommendations (60%) and to make course adjustments (also 60%). Moreover, 61% believe that the marketing organization’s ability to measure and report the contributions of its programs to the business has improved since last year.

Other Findings:

  • Respondents believe that the most challenging areas to using analytics to improve marketing effectiveness are: having access to data that is accurate and reliable (33% giving this a top-3 box rating on a 10-point scale); and implementing formal ways to collect, manage, analyze and report data (29%).
  • Data analytics are currently most commonly used by B2B marketing leaders to measure and report marketing’s performance (64%), as well as to justify (55%) and allocate (52%) the marketing budget. Analytics are least commonly used to fine-tune the marketing mix (14%) and analyze purchase patterns to prioritize or time an offer (21%).

About the Data: The data is derived from a joint study conducted by Forrester Research, ITSMA, and VisionEdge Marketing among 424 business professionals. For its B2B report, Forrester restricted responses to only those 174 respondents whose firms sell primarily or in part to other businesses, who hold marketing titles or role-level responsibility, and who have budget or management responsibility at their firms.

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