In our final look at RAOMs (random acts of marketing), let’s consider this freshly minted bunch of stats from Forrester.

  • 86% of marketers agreed that the link between marketing activities and business goals is well-defined at their organizations
  • 72% said their company’s leadership clearly sees marketing’s impact on the business.
  • 45% of marketers said they feel confident they know which metrics and business outcomes matter most to key stakeholders
  • 60% of marketers agreed that marketing has become more adept at using data and analytics to improve its efforts
  • 51% said business leaders see the financial value of marketing.

After all the noise and databases and analytics and smug consultants, this is where we are? Fewer than three-quarters of our Corporate Overlords can see what we do in relation to the business? Folks, this is not good news. More troubling is that only half of them see the financial value of marketing. Which makes me wonder why the other half bother paying us at all.

On the marketing side, we’re giving ourselves a lukewarm high-five on our ability to peer at numbers and then indulging our crippling self-doubt when considering which of the numbers actually matter.No guts no glory

Holy sh*t.

Which brings me to my point. Even if you know what problem you are solving, and even if you are comfortable with the caloric investment, you are still committing a RAOM if you don’t know whether or not you’ve succeeded.

Time and again, we crash forward through the jungle of pretty design, reader personas and gamified landing pages without considering, ahead of time, how and what we plan to measure. It’s usually someone in the operations department or the media buyer at the agency who enquires. By the time they’re seeing it, things are pretty far along.

This is where math-challenged marketers panic and fling a Facebook icon at the creative, hoping a bunch of Likes will appease the Accountability Gods. Or how about a fun QR code? Both of which, in the B2B world, I consider measures of your call centre agents’ boredom rather than your customers’ active engagement.

It’s little wonder, given the statistics above, that we get stuck here. If we don’t actually know which numbers are important, how can we possibly know which ones we should track? If we don’t track something, then how can we move the dial on the perceived and actual value of what we do?

The thing we know about stakeholders is that some of them are actually holding a sharpened stick. They are the Hand-Wringers who are just waiting to plunge that baby into your precious budget and take away all your fun toys. So here’s a radical idea: instead of whinging about not really knowing which numbers matter, what if we went and found out?

What if we knocked on the little hollow tree and inquired of the Elves within just what kind of numbers we need to be reporting on when we measure our activities? I will bet they’ll know. Remember, they were the ones you begged and begged and begged to get you that shiny marketing automation tool you barely understand and that swell CRM thing your sales squirrels pretend they can’t see. That’s why your Keebler Elves actually have a lot of incentive to help you figure out what matters and how to report on it.

Hint: You might not want to refer to them as Keebler Elves to their faces: turns out they’re meaner than they look.