Over the last decade, the playbook for marketing has been upended. CMOs are now accountable for revenue impact and for orchestrating the many elements of marketing needed to get there. Some marketing leaders, however, still struggle to prove their team’s contribution to growth.

In the first article in this series, I empowered marketers to consider their role as change agents in their organizations. Today, I’ll share how marketers can use three foundational components — revenue growth, digital transformation and data models — to move the revenue dial for their companies.

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A New Framework for Change

A marketing-led digital transformation is possible. Using this new framework for change, connecting your organization’s greatest resources — people, processes, technology and data — you can elevate the role of marketing from a cost center to a revenue generator while also championing the customer and realigning your entire company to support revenue acceleration and customer engagement.

Related Article: Why the 'C' in CMO Stands for Change

Revenue Growth

Businesses exist to offer a unique value to the marketplace and to generate revenue in exchange for that value. Marketing exists to further that aim. Having the right mix of technology is key to executing these marketing activities and attaining revenue targets.

While traditional marketing skills (e.g., creativity, persuasiveness, communication) are essential to meeting goals, they must be integrated with newer skills — data analytics, numeracy skills and familiarity with the latest technology — to succeed in this area.

Newer skills go hand in hand with newer technology. You may have to invest in this area if you need to see a fuller picture. Start by identifying areas that automation could improve and then determine whether your existing technologies enable you to measure the impact of marketing on revenue.

Digital Transformation

A marketing-led customer experience is just that: centered around the customer and led by the marketing team. To digitally transform marketing means to develop a system of engagement that realigns your organization around its most valuable asset — your customers — using new digital skills and processes.

To do that, you’ll need to see your customers clearly at every step. That’s where digital transformation comes in.

Sparking a digital change across your organization will require you to:

  • Position customers centrally in strategic planning
  • Collect and monitor data at every touchpoint: marketing, sales enablement and support
  • Stay educated on today’s marketing technology, methods and digital trends
  • Sharpen your change management skills

Once you establish your system of engagement, you’ll be able to trace a line from marketing effort to revenue and identify the touchpoints where sales and marketing contributed. Be sure to deploy a system of action and a system of record to deliver on the promise of customer engagement and revenue.

system of engagement
A system of record and a system of action deliver on the promise of customer engagement and revenue.

Data Model

Most businesses recognize data as the fuel that drives their growth engine. Keeping a quality engine humming requires premium fuel, but it won’t hum if your data isn’t clean or high quality.

To realize the value of your organization’s data, you must think strategically and holistically about the way your entire organization collects, distributes, governs and acts on data.

Your new data model will incorporate three elements:

Learning Opportunities

1. Architecture: The buckets of information your systems need to capture, including prospect, customer, product and financial data.

2. Governance: The rules for filling those information buckets, such as data origination, format storage. 

3. Analytics: The value we need to see from the data, such as deriving meaningful insights through effective reporting.

To build this data model successfully, you’ll require input from all business lines. Keep it simple and begin with the minimum number of data points for your needs. Over time you can build on this foundation, adding richer and more complex data as your model evolves.

An effective data model helps you:

  • Make improvements to enable segmentation of existing data.
  • Decide what customer data to collect and how to collect it as the systems mature.
  • Demonstrate data hygiene processes and security compliance.
  • Create a line of sight from activity to revenue.
  • Determine which reports and dashboards will best tell your story.
  • Design a measurement system for marketing effectiveness and influence.
  • Assess future trends and insights.
  • Unite your organization’s greatest assets for growth.

Related Article: What's Keeping B2B CMOs Up at Night?

Conclusion: Good Data Fuels Great Marketing, Customer Experiences

By implementing this framework, marketers can leverage people, processes and technology to deliver engaging customer experiences and generate revenue across an organization. This new framework is key to meeting the demands of a digitally transformed world.

Although the data generated by these plans contributes value, what you learn from the data is what generates true insight and enables exceptional customer experiences.

Follow along next month as we discuss how to build a marketing transformation blueprint. Get ready — your organization’s leadership will like what you do.

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