The CMO Survey Blog

Measuring Social Media ROI: Companies Emphasize Voice Metrics

The influential economist Albert O. Hirschman argues that customers can have a disciplining effect on companies and markets through their exit and voice behaviors. Instead of simply “quitting” a product, Hirschman urged customers to voice their complaints so companies could improve and learn. Hirschman would be a happy camper these days because social media puts a megaphone on the voice of the customer. Results from The CMO Survey® show that companies, in turn, are also starting to see the value of emphasizing voice-based metrics.

The CMO Survey investigated which metrics companies are using to measure the impact of social media investments. In August 2010 and then again in February 2013, top marketers were asked to share which metrics they use to evaluate social media. Looking across the results, we can see which metrics companies most often use. The survey did not, however, ask respondents to rank or rate each metric in terms of importance. (more…)

Holding on to Marketing Leaders

When times get tough, do marketing leaders get fired? Three years of results from The CMO Survey indicate the answer is “No.” Looking at Figure 1, we can see that the number of years a top marketer is in his or her current role in a company averages 4.4 years and that this number has not changed dramatically over the last three years: 2009 (4.3 years), 2010 (4.6 years), and 2011 (4.3 years). (more…)

The Marketing Goals-Marketing Performance Gap

The CMO Survey asks marketers to share their actual performance and future goals for each administration of the survey across a range of metrics: market share, sales revenue, profits, marketing ROI, customer acquisition, customer retention, and brand value. I took a look at what is happening with these metrics during this rough economic period. (more…)

Economic Downturn and Company Truths

I wrote a book last year entitled Strategy from the Outside In: Profiting from Customer Value. The central premise of the book is that companies are often managed with a focus on priorities other than customers. A range of reasons rooted in “insight-out thinking” include satisfying the stock market, lowering costs, or extracting all the value from existing capabilities. Companies that approach strategy from the outside in begin and end with the customer. In the words of Stephen Haeckel, these companies manage using “sense and respond,” not “make and sell.” (more…)

How to Invent a Marketing Function

Studying organizations over the years, I have found that new marketing leaders often join companies that have only the beginnings of a marketing function. Facing such a situation, how do you invent a marketing function? What are the key steps? What capabilities help marketing deliver what it can offer companies? (more…)

Marketing Metrics: What CMOs Report

The August 2010 CMO Survey included a special section on marketing metrics. Seven important facts stood out when I analyzed the responses from the 574 marketing executives who participated in the survey.

1. Revenue metrics dominate: Revenue metrics (sales, market share) are the primary means they use to evaluate marketing activities. Unfortunately, few link marketing actions to critically important firm outcomes, such as customer retention (15%), profits (14%), brand value (11%), net promoter score (7.5%) and stock market performance (2 percent).

2. The quality and use of market insights not evaluated: While market insights are very important drivers of innovation and growth, only 25% of the firms surveyed use metrics to evaluate the quality of these insights, and only about one-third evaluate how market insights influence managerial decision making.

3. Marketing metrics examine the long-term impact of marketing: 72% of marketers report that metrics focus on the long-term impact of marketing. This number is much higher than I expected. Although I don’t have information about this metric over time, I asked this question because I thought it would be lower and a big press splash. Bravo marketers!

4. Marketers fail to account for revenue and cost information across channels: 53% report below average integration of cost information about customers across channels and 33.4% report below average integration of revenue information about customers across channels. It is no wonder marketers also report elsewhere in The CMO Survey that the highest level of marketing spending is going towards integrating what they know about customers.

5. Metrics fail to assess competitor reactions to firm marketing actions: Only 24% of firms use metrics that assess competitor reaction to their marketing programs. The focus is on customer reaction, which I agree is central. However, firms appear to be largely ignoring how competitors’ actions might interfere with customer reaction.

6. Social media metrics focus on hits, page views, and repeat visits: Instead, firms are measuring the number of followers or friends (25.4%), sales levels (17.9%), revenues per customer (17.2%), buzz indicators (15.7%), customer acquisition (11.8%), profits per customer (9.4%), customer retention costs (7.7%), and net promoter score (7.5%). Firms use an average of 2.4 social media metrics.

7. C-suites use an average of five marketing metrics to guide decision making (95% confidence interval around the mean—3.6 to 6.7): This number is higher than I expected and it shows increasing influence of marketing in the firm. The average number of marketing metrics used by the C-suite was highest among companies in the B2C services (10.4) and B2C product (7.4) sector and lower among B2B product (3.9) and B2B services (3.2) companies. C-suites of companies that sell products on the Internet use more marketing metrics (7.4) compared to companies that do not (3.2).