From one CMO to another, we are constantly figuring out how best to optimize marketing’s contribution to revenue. After all, regardless of which tactic is getting the most buzz, a CMO is measured on our ability to drive growth.

This is the crux of Marketing Performance Management – what Forrester Research calls:

“a discipline that governs goal setting, monitoring, and continuous optimization of marketing’s contribution to revenue and other priority business goals.”

Here are four key things CMOs should focus on related to Marketing Performance Management.

1. Answer tough questions

Gartner found that marketing budgets are on the rise heading into 2017, up to 12% of revenue as marketers manage more demand.

Marketers must be prepared for greater scrutiny over their budgets, ready and able to answer questions related to planning and returns.

Allocadia’s recent research on Marketing Performance Management found that companies expecting more than 25% revenue growth are 2X as likely to have CMO-level reports showing marketing contribution to the business.

Can you answer questions like:

  • How are you planning to deploy available budget?
  • On what, where and when?
  • How does what’s actually occurring compare to that plan?
  • In what ways are you underfunded, and how does that compare to external benchmarks?
  • How many inquiries/leads/opportunities did your campaign tactic generate?
  • What tactics and combinations are working best?

2. Put data in context

As CMOs, we often struggle to understand exactly where we should allocate more marketing dollars. And though we’re inundated with data, this massive amount of information collected has created a larger challenge: context.

Organizations often keep the world of investment data and results data separate, as they live in disparate systems or spreadsheets.

In fact, 80% of organizations report using Excel in some way to track their impact on the business.

This leads to confusion, misinformation, and guesswork as to where we need to spend more money, and where we need to preserve resources.

Only 50% of organizations report having full visibility, or better, into their baseline marketing metrics, according to our report.

In contrast, high-growth organizations leverage marketing performance management software 3.5X more often than static or negative-growth organizations.

Today’s marketing organizations must take steps to clarify what investments lead to results, demystifying which activities are working, and helping to make better planning decisions within the customer journey.

3. Run marketing like a business

At least 30% of CEOs will can their CMOs in 2017, so says Forrester.

The expectation today is for a CMO to prove business impact with confidence, and demonstrate stewardship over their marketing investments. They must run marketing like a business.

83% of companies in the study expecting over 25% revenue growth “often or always” align marketing performance goals to their company’s objectives, as compared to only 50% of those with flat, or negative growth.

Those who are unable to do so will be out of a job, and those that do will become business leaders in their organization, taking a more strategic role (not simply tactical) at the executive table.

4. Align with finance

Marketing is no longer operating on an island.

That’s been the case with the rise of marketing technology drawing the CMO/CIO relationship to light. But in 2017, the relationship between the CFO and CMO will be interesting to watch.

Only 14% of Marketing organizations see Finance as a trusted strategic partner, and 28% either have no relationship with finance or speak only when forced to.

Marketers who are able to speak the language of finance, demonstrate impact of their spend, and prioritize investments using real data will not only be able to defend their budget to the CFO, but secure more of it.

High-growth organizations in the study were 3X more likely to align Marketing with Finance. That means they work together to track investments and measurement of their budget and returns.

We’re entering an interesting new charter in B2B marketing as the profession continues to change with each new tech innovation and emerging buyer behaviors.

In light of these trends, today a CMO should be ready to run marketing like a business, making investment decisions with confidence and earning a more strategic role with an ability to demonstrate impact.