Can You Prove the Value of Marketing to the C-suite?
"How is 'The Gap' filled," asks McDade. "Despite all of the hype around inbound (what I call 'inbounditis'), there is going to be a requirement for a certain amount of proactive outbound marketing."
Marketers have a bigger picture on their minds, says Lois Brayfield, president and chief creative officer at direct marketing agency J. Schmid & Assoc., based in Kansas City.
"The most important question is not a new one, but one that continues to plague marketers: 'Where should I spend my marketing dollars,'" asks Brayfield. "But the question they should be asking is, 'What key metric is really driving growth for my brand?' Rather than chasing best practices, marketers should clearly understand what is driving the sales funnel. If your brand is driven by a sales force, then what metrics demonstrate efficient and effective leads? Rather than looking at a multitude of analysis that sometimes takes one down a rabbit hole, focus on the No. 1 metric that will drive the most growth."
Amanda G. Watlington, founder of SEM consultancy Searching for Profit and CEO of management consulting firm City Square Consulting (both based in Charleston, Mass.) suggests a way to do that.
"In the past, many companies poorly understood the need to develop robust marketing attribution models," says Watlington. "Now, they are scrambling to develop an understanding of a complex set of variables, yet are working with only minimal experience. … Nuanced attribution models are essential for optimizing budget spend and the ultimate success of the marketing program. It is hard but essential work."