Measuring Success in B2B Marketing

Join #B2BChat on Twitter every Thursday at 8:00 PM EasternIn B2B marketing, collecting numbers is easy. Picking the right measurements and consistently using them to improve your marketing is the real challenge. Here are just a few of the questions you will need to address:

  • Should you be focused on revenue that is directly attributed to your marketing activities?
  • Is the data you have reliable?
  • How do you measure and manage newer segments of marketing, including social media?
  • How do you judge the impact your content is having?

For a recent #B2Bchat discussion on Twitter, we looked at some of these issues. The range of perspectives on each of these points highlights just how challenging these topics still are. Below are a few of the highlights from each of the issues addressed during the chat.

Revenue Measurement

Should B2B marketers focus on directly attributed revenue or do they need to look beyond this and include potentially softer or unmeasured benefits of marketing?

B2B Marketing Measurement Question 1: #B2Bchat 7/19/2012

Should B2B marketing always be managed based on measured sales and revenue?

Storified by Eric Wittlake · Sun, Jul 22 2012 22:34:39

S1. B2B marketing should always be managed based on measured sales and revenue. Agree/Disagree/Why? #b2bchat#B2Bchat
A1 Disagree (by finance side is kicking me) Some is foundational and could have long maturation time before benefit is realized #b2bchatSteve Cassady
A1 absolutely agree – otherwise how do you know if you are getting the value for the spend? #b2bchatBrian Rensing
S1. Disagree. B2B Marketing impacts more than sales and revenue…like retention. You could argue that’s revenue tho. 🙂 #b2bchatKimbra Fox
S1. Disagree. I’ve been tweeting for a year and haven’t closed one sale b/c of it, yet I persist. #insane ? #b2bchatGerald Moczynski
S1: I think the overall marketing plan should be matched to revenue goals but not every tactic will #B2bchatAmy Clausen
A1: I think in the end if marketing can’t show contribution to revenues – someone’s job might be in the line #B2bchatAmy Clausen
@b2b_chat S1. Disagree. Marketing needs to be nimble. You can’t be nimble in marketing and ONLY measure your 12 month sales cycle. #b2bchatEric Wittlake
S1: In B2B, if Sales fails, Marketing has failed….branding, messaging, PR, etc. are fine, but without revenues there’s no point #B2BchatDan Hanssel
S1 Yes/no. Yes – leads are a top goal. No – Goal of some B2B mktg to build awareness/sentiment/loyalty. Should balance. #b2bchatsusan borst
S1. Big Agree with @ClausenAmy #b2bchat Revenue always needs to be a component, the art is picking the other measure to manage to as well.Ross Graber

Data and Other B2B Marketing Challenges

Is data the biggest challenge in measuring B2B marketing? Or is it selecting the right metrics or acting on outcomes? Data quality and metric selection are some of the top responses, but the discussion highlighted a number of other challenges as well.

B2B Marketing Measurement Question 2: #B2Bchat 7/19/2012

Is the biggest challenge in measuring B2B marketing getting consistent quality data?

Storified by Eric Wittlake · Sun, Jul 22 2012 22:37:25

S2. The biggest challenge is measuring marketing is getting consistent quality data. Agree/Disagree/Why? #b2bchat#B2Bchat
Data is always the challenge – & careful not to scrub in a way that supports what you want to hear. #b2bchatBrian Rensing
@b2b_chat A2 I agree. There is really no way to get *consistent* quality’s only as good as the day it’s received. #b2bchatJennifer G. Hanford
S2 Biggest challenge is that we’re not starting out w/the right RevGen strategic map. Our foundation is too messy. #b2bchatMaureen Blandford
A2. 2nd issue is that we’re following false assumptions too much of the time. #b2bchatMaureen Blandford
S2. Disagree. Data’s important, but bigger challenges around selecting measures that adequately show contribution toward biz goals #b2bchatRoss Graber
S2. Disagree. Biggest challenge (in my exp) is gaining consensus on what are the most meaningful and measurable metrics. #b2bchatTerence Coughlin
you can get marketing data till it comes out the wazoo-the real indicator is did it gain market share over the next guy-did it work #b2bchatTimm McVaigh
Q2 Consistent methodology, tools, and analysis = quality data #b2bchatMary Klest
A2. Big challenge in marketing measurement is Marketing channel attribution – when multiple channels are used. #b2bchatKimbra Fox

Measuring Social Media

The value of B2B in social media is often debated. Can you measure the full impact of social media? If so, you can turn to measurement to address its value. If not, you cannot reliably point to measurement to show it is not valuable.

B2B Marketing Measurement Question 3: #B2Bchat 7/19/2012

Can you measure the full value of social media in B2B marketing?

Storified by Eric Wittlake · Sun, Jul 22 2012 22:41:36

S3. You cannot measure the full ROI of social media in #B2B marketing. Agree/Disagree/Why? #b2bchat#B2Bchat
S3. I think tmany B2B firms are wrongly focused on sales thru SMM rather than creating a new referral funnel. #b2bchatGerald Moczynski
S3. No fair, trick question. "Full ROI" is unfair. U can measure contribution toward defined goals, but full invites fishing expd #b2bchatRoss Graber
A3) Agree Social Media is just part of the overall marketing approach. Tough to quantify cumulative and multiple channels #b2bchatSteve Cassady
A3. Needs stratification. In few sectors today, you CAN measure. In most B2Bs, you cannot measure SoMe value #b2bchatMaureen Blandford
S3. Agree and disagree. It depends. Can be done, but precision drops rapidly with # of other channels and length of sales cycle. #b2bchatTerence Coughlin
A3: Big marketing mistake: miss out on opportunities for postsale client feedback…just ask! #B2BchatDan Hanssel
A3 Social Media is more than sales…client service, value-add to clients, retention, referrals – so full ROI is tough to capture #b2bchatKimbra Fox
A3 Agreeing with all the agrees – you can’t measure engagement and shares in terms of ROI, imho. It can contribute though. #b2bchatJennifer G. Hanford

Judging Content Effectiveness

How do you measure your content? Is it possible to have a standard approach since it serves in so many different roles across your marketing programs?

B2B Marketing Measurement Question 3: #B2Bchat 7/19/2012

Is the best metric for measuring content the number of views/downloads?

Storified by Eric Wittlake · Sun, Jul 22 2012 22:44:16

S4. The best metric for measuring content is the number of views/downloads. Agree/Disagree/Why? #b2bchat#B2Bchat
S4 Disagree. We need to measure content’s association with outcomes. What if everyone who views is dissuaded from buying? #b2bchatRoss Graber
A4: Disagree – it’s comments and discussion posts with qualified prospects – engagement, not consumption is key #B2BchatDan Hanssel
A4: A view/download is like a "Like"…pretty flimsy endorsement #B2BchatDan Hanssel
A4 It depends what your goal is! I like qualified leads more than downloads. Quantity doesn’t cut it on measuring content. #b2bchatKimbra Fox
A4: view/download only shows it was interesting at face value – does it pull further into sales process or increase sales convo #B2bchatAmy Clausen
S4. Disagree. My big challenge is quantity is too easy to game. Volume of leads is also tough, also needs to show good % rates #b2bchatEric Wittlake
A4 – Yep – too hard to discern what the eyes/hearts/minds of the viewer/downloader are doing w/the info #b2bchatMaureen Blandford
A4 I disagree…I might just be interested in reading a blog or whitepaper..doesn’t mean I’m going to do business with them. #b2bchatJennifer G. Hanford
@b2b_chat response to call for action, inquiry, sharing are important metrics. #b2bchatMary Klest

Your Turn

Do you have your own answers to add to any of the discussion points? Share them in the comments below or with me on Twitter (@wittlake).

Interested in #B2Bchat? Join the discussion on Twitter every Thursday at 8:00 PM New York time using the #b2Bchat hashtag and follow @b2b_chat for an announcement of each week’s topic.

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