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As a disclaimer, I’m a “sales guy,” and may misunderstand marketing. But I often see discussions about marketing needs to be measured on revenue. I think revenue might be a component of a marketing metric, but I wonder as we aren’t focusing too narrowly on a metric. losing sight of the bigger picture. (Much of what I talk about in this post can equally be applied to sales focusing purely on revenue.)

Every function in the organization is accountable for developing and executing strategies and plans that are consistent with the overall corporation’s strategies, plans, and priorities. Clearly, revenue and earnings are top priorities for organizations, but they aren’t the only priorities.

If our primary in sales and marketing, our primary metric of success were revenue, then we would only invest in those big revenue generating opportunities. We would remain focused on those markets, products, customers that generated the biggest revenue. We would under invest in developing new markets or in supporting new products–which may become the future platforms for growth.

The business world is littered with carcasses of companies that invested on the “big revenue” generators and under invested in those areas that would have enabled them to grow/survive. Logos like Kodak, DEC, Wang, Blackberry, and dozens of others are testament to this. These organizations actually saw the shifts in business and markets. Kodak, as an example, had some of the leading patents in digital photography, but focused it’s investments in film, riding that to their “grave.” IBM risked extinction several times (first with mainframes), but shifted it’s investments to developing market opportunities in services, augmented intelligence, and other areas.

While those examples are dramatic examples of misplaced or bad corporate strategies and priorities, we see the same thing in marketing, sales, and other investments.

If we are driven purely by short term revenue, we will always be investing in our current big product, big markets, big customers. Yet our future, or even our growth opportunity may exist in other areas–new industries, new products, new customers.

Marketing and sales are accountable for executing the corporate strategy in the face of customers. As a result, they must be measured by their contribution/execution of that corporate strategy. They have to balance investments and focus across all areas (not necessarily equally) They assure they have metrics and goals in place that reflect that balanced performance and the support of the corporate priorities and strategies.