customer experience, Forrester Report: Marketing Analytics, Dashboards Key For B2B MarketingRemember the days of dumping those business cards from trade shows on the conference-room table and calling your trip a success? Those cards sure looked good, and your team of B2B marketers hit the ground hard making contacts on each and every one of them.

Adding Value To Marketing

Today, though, it takes a little more than trade-show glad-handing and networking to illustrate the value of marketing on a business’s ROI. For starters, there’s social media, and chasing the best leads today means deep analysis of how businesses are using social media. B2B marketers are realizing this and are also implementing new ways like marketing analytics and dashboards to show their value to the company, according to a new report from Forrester.

The report -- “B2B Marketing Measurement Needs An MBA,” a playoff of a survey of 174 marketing executives and leaders conducted by IT Services Marketing Association, VisionEdge Marketing and Forrester -- presents the challenges in front of Chief Marketing Officers and marketing execs over demonstrating marketing’s impact on business.

And in a world of digitally-savvy buyers and channels, the game’s changing fast.

Good News - B2B Marketers Are Listening

According to the survey, 86% of respondents said there is a well-defined connection between marketing activities and business goals. That’s a good thing because marketing, at least, has a seat at the table when it comes to top company decisions.

But is it all rosy for B2B marketing and leaders? Not quite, according to the survey.

While 72% of respondents said that its leadership team realizes the business impact marketing has, only 45% feel strongly that they know which business metrics and business outcomes matter most to stakeholders.

Survey respondents, however, agreed that marketing is having a positive impact in other arenas for the company:

  • Marketing is good at improving business performance measures: 67% agree
  • Marketing is good at using data and analytics to make strategic recommendations: 60% agree
  • Marketing is good at using data and analytics to make course adjustments: 60% agree
  • Marketing’s financial value is clear to the business: 51% agree

Marketing Initiatives

Based on its survey results, Forrester ultimately recommends that B2B marketing leaders must clearly demonstrate a link between marketing activities and business results.

How? You can start with these action items:

  • Clarify which outcomes the business wants. CMOs must answer these three questions about reporting marketing activities to senior management: Which business outcomes will it affect? How exactly will it affect the business? How will we know we have achieved the objectives?
  • Go beyond ROMI to expose full scope of marketing’s influence. Account for revenue impact of programs, campaigns and events, but also include factors like preference, loyalty, market share and brand sentiment. Data software now includes visual query, exploration and storyboarding.
  • Improve ability to model and monitor customer lifetime value. Forrester suggests teaming with sales and service leaders to analyze the processes and tools to help learn what makes customers valuable in the long run.