By Joshua Baez, Marketing Coordinator for Heinz Marketing

When you look up at the night sky, what do you see?

Stars, right?  Well, yes and no.

When you look at the stars, you don’t see them as they presently are – you see them as they were thousands (and in some cases, millions) of years ago.  That’s the speed of light, for you.  A star one thousand light years away would take one thousand years for its light to reach earth – and in those thousand years, the star could be long gone.  But though the star itself may have died, the information of the star, carried in the form of light, has long survived its source, and it’s that information of the past that helps scientists better understand our universe today, and more thoughtfully predict its future.

This idea got me thinking about time – about the past, the present, and the future – and, being the marketing man I am, got me thinking of the parallels between B2B marketing and the speed of light.  (That’s a normal thought, right?)

Knowing the past, understanding our present, and using this knowledge to direct the future of your marketing campaigns – these are principles of a practice we call Marketing Performance Management.  And with these principles in mind, we can strengthen our abilities to make more informed, data-driven decisions.

But first, what is Marketing Performance Management?

To put it simply, you can think of Marketing Performance Management (MPM) as a way to identify your efforts that have worked in previous sales and marketing campaigns to direct your strategies moving forward.  More than just marketing attribution, an MPM practice can help you optimize your strategies and lead you towards real, measurable revenue.

The Power of the Past

As marketers, it’s crucial that we understand the impact of past campaigns – the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Doing so allows us to identify our campaign’s strengths as well as its weaknesses, and gives us the opportunity to leverage this information to continually improve.

But don’t mistake your vanity metrics with revenue metrics, because while vanity metrics can indicate initial performance, their ties to revenue are nearly impossible to make.  This is where MPM comes in – by placing an emphasis on this practice, you can start to shift your focus to the question that really matters – how do these efforts tie to revenue?

Think of vanity metrics as the starlight you see with your naked eye – it’s beautiful, it’s all-encompassing, but it doesn’t tell you any meaningful information about the star.  MPM is like looking at starlight through the Hubble Telescope – it looks deeper, past the clutter and noise of vanity metrics, and allows you to more accurately make connections to revenue, enabling you for more meaningful reporting and, hopefully, more thoughtful strategy for the long-haul.

Engaging the Present

How can MPM impact your business now?  Though it’s not a practice that can be implemented in a three-step how-to guide, it is something your business can work towards to start seeing real, trackable results.  Start by asking yourself a few questions to assess where you are today.

As you evaluate your present marketing performance, start taking into consideration the costs as well as the dollar-figures associated with new leads within your past campaigns.  How much money was spent?  How many new leads entered your pipeline?  How many of those leads made it to sales?  How many closed?

Budget approval is always a tough conversation, especially when you can’t prove if your efforts actually impacted business revenue.  But, if you can start attributing your efforts in a clear, discernable way now, you’ll have a much easier time justifying your marketing budget for future campaigns.

Looking to the Future

Let’s look ahead – where do you see your marketing efforts fitting into your organization in the next 6 months? Year? Five Years?  What campaigns do you want to re-introduce?  What strategies and tactics could use some improvement?

MPM, when implemented correctly, delivers deeper insights on customer acquisition costs, new sales opportunities, and closed-sales than vanity metrics give alone. Without it, you’re left with assumptions on what’s driving revenue, which, if incorrect, only cost you more time and money while widening your ROI gap.  It takes time and commitment, but like the stars, the effects of a thoughtful MPM practice will echo throughout your organization for the years to come.

Want to learn how to tie marketing efforts to attribution? Brian Hansford and Matt Heinz are going to dig deep into how to set up MPM for your organization in our next online Modern Marketer’s Workshop.  Learn how to properly plan, set-up and implement a Marketing Performance Management practice that ties back to company revenue goals. Register now!