An Inconvenient Truth for Marketers: Generating Revenue Is up to You
Marketing Content Strategy

Inconvenient Content Marketing Truth: ROI Is Up to You

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In April, I visited Nā Pali Coast State Park in Hawaii. It was a great day with calm seas, rainbows that arched from the peaks of 4,000-foot-tall sea cliffs down to the ocean waves, and clear views into the lush valleys that hang behind the cliffs. I was a long way from the revenue dashboards and marketing management systems displayed at my desk. On the boat, people turned their backs to the ocean and grabbed selfies with the green sea turtles that swam around that day. They were all carefree and confident that their trip home would be a safe one.

But for the rest of the afternoon, my anxious mind kept fidgeting over a prayer that President John F. Kennedy kept on his desk in the Oval Office, “Oh God, thy sea is so great and my boat is so small.” What they don’t tell you until after you reach open water is that the impossibly sheer sea cliffs of Hawaii are formed by pummeling 25-foot waves.

Sheer Sea Cliffs of the Na Pali Coast on Kauai island on HawaiiThere’s an inconvenient truth to being a marketing leader in this time of business transformation: CEOs and shareholders are looking to marketers for revenue guidance, and there is no room for error. In response to this need, marketing management has graduated to a science for predictably navigating the treacherous path to business growth.

Reading the Tea Leaves

As Jason Lemkin—a venture capitalist focused on helping businesses scale—stated when it comes to revenue, “Getting from $0 to $1 million is impossible. Getting from $1 to $10 million is unlikely. And getting from $10 to $100 million is inevitable.”

Today, marketing management systems (Marketing Automation and CRM) can help predict future sales performance and business growth. The systems can be bridged; thus, we are allowed to connect marketing metrics and sales activity. The same systems measure the impact and influence of marketing investments and empower the marketing team to report on the success of core marketing activities. But how is it that these powerful, behemoth systems remain flexible enough to enable teams to test new content, new creative ideas, and new techniques? Here are five ways:

1. Demand waterfall

Sales and marketing are equally responsible for the health of the new business pipeline, and both groups should interact with new business prospects often. The demand waterfall classifies all the people who interact with your business. This classification language helps sales and marketing communicate while they jointly educate new business prospects. At Skyword, we started with a standard version of the demand waterfall and, after much debate, adapted it to fit our process.

2. Track lead source

Want to know if you’re spending money on the right stuff? Knowing which marketing channels and media work best and deliver the most leads requires marketing teams to define another set of labels for lead sources. For example, a lead might be sourced from a form on your main website, a Twitter lead card, or a dedicated landing page for a webinar. Proper attribution requires the ability to capture and retain these details each time a new person becomes known to sales or marketing.

3. Create campaigns and report on interesting moments

There are multiple interesting moments in the history of any lead record. When was that lead created? When was that lead handed off to sales for the first call? There could be any number of interactions with marketing content in between. Campaigns allow marketers to label each person with the content that has interested them and the medium that brought them to the site. Running reports based on campaigns will inform you as to which eBooks and webinars resonated most with the market, as well as which media buys and advertising efforts drove traffic that converted. Combining this with timestamping for each activity provides an even clearer picture of which activities educated and excited prospects most efficiently.

Reaching New Shores, and Living to Tell the Tale

When sailors like Captain James Cook returned to Europe with stories of new lands, they proved that previously unimagined journeys were repeatable. Today, the biggest vote of confidence in revenue marketers comes with the rumor of a $60 billion dollar takeover of Salesforce.com. Even smaller companies have been able to reliably make the journey thanks to increased predictability in annual revenue. It turns out that integration of Marketing Automation and CRM was the breakthrough that allowed high-growth companies to cross over into the mainstream business world.

This innovation in marketing management is one that you can bring to your business. Start with an open mind, read through our collection of articles on content measurement, and check out our eBook on measuring success. Be willing to work hard over the next couple of years as you work on integrating your marketing stack. And keep with you the knowledge that today’s ships can cross oceans not because of great geniuses like Sir Issac Newton, but because sailors were only able to move beyond dead reckoning through hands-on tinkering and technical innovation.

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