Move over, sales. Companies are now looking to marketing—once seen as merely a cost center—as a powerful new revenue driver.
Four out of five companies say they will classify marketing as a revenue driver in the next three to five years, according to a survey from the Economist Intelligence Unit, sponsored by Marketo. That’s a 10 percent increase compared to the number of companies that currently view marketing effectiveness as a revenue driver.
So why is marketing gaining traction as a source of revenue versus mere cost? According to the report, part of the shift has to do with the changing nature of the sales funnel. Marketing used to be associated with bringing the consumer to the brand; from there, a sales team converted the customer to purchase. But in the digital era, marketers can influence the customer experience along any point in the sales funnel. Mayur Gupta, global head of marketing technology and innovation at Kimberly-Clark, attributes this to the fact that “there really is no funnel anymore.” He adds, “Marketing has to be able to inspire the consumer’s behavior everywhere in the consumer’s world.”
But this shift also means new responsibilities for marketers. To be recognized as a revenue driver, the marketing department needs to accept accountability for ROI marketing and welcome measurement by contributions and outputs. “If you aggressively pursue an agenda of accountability and transparency, then you’ll be viewed as a trusted partner and adviser,” says John Dragoon, CMO of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
According to Seeking Alpha, cardiology med-tech company AtriCure leveraged marketing effectiveness to successfully drive revenue. Famous Footwear also experienced a leap in revenue following a social media campaign with Insightpool. The company’s coupon-based, social media campaign delivered $93,000 in revenue and a 102 percent increase in engagement rate.
Marketers looking to prove their worth as revenue drivers need to start with a strategy to track their efforts and measure their success. Surprisingly, many marketers are committed to content as a strategy, but they fail to track how that content engages consumers and ultimately drives revenue.
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