Are you on top of your marketing game?

Knowing what a seasoned marketing professional looks like helps you analyze you and your team’s expertise and, for managers, hire the right individuals. By understanding your team’s marketing maturity, you can assess where you are now and where you want to go.

As an Enterprise Business Consultant, I work directly with many of our customers—some who are just getting the ball rolling and others who are marketing veterans. By understanding their techniques and practices, I’m able to get a good feel for their level of expertise and where there may be room for improvement.

In this blog, I’ll share three signs I’ve seen that indicate whether marketers are on the path to success or may need to take a detour:

1. The Blacklist Whiteboard is Front and Center

If you find yourself in an office that has a “blacklist whiteboard,” listing the number of the days you’ve stayed off a blacklist, then you most likely have a battle-tested marketing team. Some teams might not have a physical whiteboard, but are nonetheless tracking this data in some way or form. At Marketo, we use a partner solution to check the health of IP addresses and blacklist status. If your team would rather do this in-house, you can consider sending weekly internal marketing emails that highlights the specific strategies you’ve used to stay off of a blacklist with the total number of days your team has been successful to keep the momentum going.

Marketers who keep track of this data are fluent in email deliverability, which is key to your email marketing success, especially when you consider that one in every five emails is blocked from ever reaching your subscribers’ inboxes, according to Return Path. The two leading spam houses are SpamHaus and SpamCop, and if either of these flags you, it could put your sender reputation in jeopardy. Inherent features of most marketing automation platforms block communications from going to invalid emails, although sometimes massive email blasts can skirt the edges of built-in logic to stop a send, causing the ‘spam police’ to raise a red flag: a blacklist.

Now, if you’ve ever been blacklisted, you know the heart-pounding sensation it can cause. Too many blacklist warnings and your email service provider (ESP) or marketing automation platform may be restricted or even terminated. Accordingly, email marketers who are using an ESP or marketing automation platform should devise a plan to keep everyone in the team up-to-date on best practices to stay off a blacklist.

A targeted marketing strategy not only keeps you off the dread blacklist, but also helps create lasting relationships with your buyers. By taking steps towards keeping your database clean and email sends targeted, you can ensure that every send is something that your subscribers want to hear about and not just waiting to hit the unsubscribe or spam button for. Placing higher importance on a targeted audience changes the way marketers can look at marketable verse unmarketable records in their database. Suddenly, verifying a prospect’s email and other qualifying criteria becomes more important than blasting to an enormous, unidentified audience.

2. Have a Handle on the Right Metrics

As a marketer, you have to know how to wear an analyst hat to review and analyze data that will help you enrich the buyer’s journey. At first, tracking the right data might be difficult because not everyone defines key metrics in the same way. B2B marketers might focus more on moving leads through the funnel, while consumer marketers might be more concerned with increasing customer lifetime value. Or an email marketer might be tracking click-to-open rates and bounce rates, while a digital marketer might care more about cost-per-click, and both might be interested in click-through rates.

The key is to understand your team’s business objectives and what results will drive those outcomes. Then, pinpoint the right set of metrics to track and agree on the definitions of them. Seasoned marketing teams set definitions early and review them often to ensure consistency across teams, both within marketing and with other key stakeholders. Marketers should speak the same language, per say, and understand what is being asked of them through shared definitions.

These kinds of conversations around the right metrics might not happen overnight, but you should keep adding to the overall business discussion by communicating beyond soft metrics and digging deeper to prove how you’re bringing money to the tables. It’s up to you and your team to lead the pack towards real and influential discussions within marketing, and you can start by getting a handle on the right metrics.

3. Data Never Looked So Good

Often, reports on key performance indicators (KPIs) are the driving force behind many seasoned marketing teams. It’s how they can share measurable results from all of their hard work. By tracking and sharing metrics with the right stakeholders, marketing teams and executives can get a visual pulse check of how each campaign is doing and stay aligned with other cross-functional teams (e.g. customer support, sales, service).

At Marketo, we have a dedicated monitor in the middle of the marketing floor that shows a dashboard of our marketing campaign performance. But even if you don’t have access to television monitors, you can still share reports in effective ways. For example, you can email reports to key stakeholders on a consistent cadence (though if you do this, we recommend that you’re able to answer questions and verify numbers). Whether you send reports, create metric summaries, or display them for all to see, all options keep everyone on task, and that’s a good thing.

We encourage marketers to understand which reports matter the most to specific teams. Each team will want to see different reports so they can make decisions that are unique to their needs, so it comes down to asking “What are the most important metrics you base your decisions on?” Then, you can build a ‘menu’ of reports that teams can choose from and review.

Knowing the telltale signs of an experienced marketing team is more than a way to impress your colleagues, it can be used as a benchmarking tool to measure how far you’ve come as a marketing team and how far you want to go. It can help you understand the steps you should take, or have taken, to run your marketing initiatives successfully and hire stellar marketing professionals that understand these signs of excellence.

What other factors indicate a successful marketing team? Share your thoughts below!