Marketers are the brand builders, the storytellers, and the voice that creates a company’s identity. We know how to transform prospects into paying customers, and loyal customers into product champions.
The marketing department plays a vital role to business success.
Yet, more often than not, marketing teams struggle to translate their efforts into a quantifiable business impact. Despite the dozens of campaigns, blogs, ads, events, and partnerships that boost business, the rest of the organization tends to see marketing teams as a drain on company resources and budget instead of an asset.
More than half (53%) of all marketers believe their departments are perceived as a cost center in the organization, not a revenue center.
Today, one of marketing teams’ most important challenges is proving their impact on the bottom line. Here’s how they can do it.
What’s preventing marketing teams from clarifying their impact?
Why, after all of the hard work, creativity, planning, revising, testing, and analyzing, is it still so hard for marketing teams to quantify their business impact?
According to our recent survey, there are three main reasons:
- Siloed teams (53%)
- Incomplete performance tracking and reporting on KPIs (50%)
- Lack of transparency into work process efficiency (47%)
Here’s why each one is problematic.
1. Siloed teams
Within most marketing departments, there are teams dedicated to product marketing, paid social media, organic social, content, creative, events, partnerships, customer retention, and more, depending on the organization. Each of these teams usually has their own leadership, KPIs, methods of communicating, and culture. Given all of these differences, silos naturally occur, making it difficult to maintain alignment and collaboration across them.
Imagine your company is preparing to release a new product feature. Your product marketing team has been working at full speed with their heads down for months developing new collateral, briefing the sales team, and writing copy to update the website.
All of that is great — but your paid social media team hasn’t been in the loop. Now, just a couple of weeks before the launch, they don’t have any of the ads or copy required to promote the new feature across their channels. Not only that, but your content writer still hasn’t been briefed on the language they should use or the use cases to discuss when drafting blogs and email marketing.
Although one marketing team might own an initiative, in almost every case, multiple teams need to work together in order to achieve its full potential. That’s why silos automatically limit success.
2. Incomplete performance tracking and reporting on KPIs
Without the ability to clearly and accurately measure success, demonstrating an initiative’s (or a department’s) overall impact is impossible.
One of the main reasons marketing teams struggle with performance tracking and reporting is because deciding what to measure and to whom to attribute success can be difficult.
As we mentioned in the point above, there are many different “sub-teams” within marketing, whose efforts and resource allocation often overlap. This leads to inconsistent, redundant, or incomplete KPIs, which makes accurate reporting impossible.
Another main issue is siloed data and disparate reporting tools. Marketing sub-teams frequently adopt their own platforms and methods of reporting. Although many marketing initiatives span various teams, each one isn’t “sharing” performance data adequately. Without a way to centralize all relevant performance data, it’s difficult to get a holistic, aggregate view.
3. Lack of transparency into work process efficiency
Planning campaigns, managing requests and approvals, monitoring budgets, and endless other needs require clear processes that enable speed and synchronization. However, most marketing teams’ processes are riddled with inefficiencies.
The main reason for this is lack of transparency. Teams rely on fragmented and unstandardized processes without even realizing there is a better way.
Unless everyone involved in a project or process has total visibility into its scope, the timeline, their individual responsibilities, and team goals, it’s difficult to achieve optimal speed and efficiency.
3 ways to overcome these challenges and put your stamp on the bottom line
Here’s how marketing teams can remedy these issues and clarify their impact to the rest of the organization.
1. Tear down silos by establishing new methods for communication and collaboration
Silos may emerge naturally over time, but they usually require a concerted effort to dismantle. To really get rid of the silos that stifle collaboration, you’ll want to establish new methods of working together across teams.
For example, centralizing communication on one platform is far more effective than email chains and messenger apps. Solutions like a Work OS enable teams of any size to centralize communication related to projects, progress, and KPIs, so any team member has immediate access to the information they need.
A Work OS organically improves collaboration by helping team members visualize their work step-by-step. For example, the feature launch mentioned above could have gone much more smoothly if the product marketing team created a customized workflow that was designed to address the needs and goals of the launch.
2. Make KPI building a collaborative process
When developing KPIs, it’s critical that they measure the right things and give “credit” to the right stakeholders. This is one of the most important elements of clarifying your department’s impact.
With a Work OS, KPI building and monitoring is centralized and collaborative. Instead of individual managers or team members managing their KPIs on their own spreadsheets, all of the relevant project information and performance data is stored in one place. This lends managers the holistic view necessary to design KPIs that truly reflect the department’s work, progress, and contributions.
3. Increase performance data transparency and centralize all information on one platform
Making performance data transparent and easily accessible is crucial for a marketing team’s success.
- It helps you track how well initiatives are working, and makes it easier to course correct in real time
- It informs more accurate and relevant KPIs for the future
- It makes success (and failure) visible to those within and outside of the department
The key is making sure every team member has the ability to access KPI data at any time.
Centralized access to performance data allows everyone on the marketing team to stay up-to-date on their progress and impact. And, by using visual and easily digestible graphs and charts to display performance data, those outside the department — like executives and other department leaders — can instantly gain an understanding of marketing’s impact.
Become a marketing powerhouse
Clarifying your department’s impact on the bottom line is essential for making sure it gets the budget, credit, and influence it deserves. With the right tools, you can overcome all of the obstacles that prevent you from doing this — from siloed teams, to fragmented KPIs and decentralized data.
For a deeper dive into the top challenges facing marketing teams and how to overcome them, check out our eBook, Finishing 2021 on top: What leading marketers say they’re focusing on.