There are those who would have you believe that marketing is like an art, rather than a science.  These are the people who won’t blink an eye at spending a considerable chunk of the company’s marketing budget in the hopes that the ROI will favor these risks.  While a few marketers may strike nuggets of gold in their advertising campaigns, there are many more marketers who cannot make concrete connections between the company’s sales to its marketing efforts, or worse: the company loses money to these campaigns.

As a business leader, you may already know it’s time to face a critical truth: if you want to improve the success of your company, you have to hold marketing accountable to revenue.  It’s vital for you to understand how marketing campaigns can influence ROI (or cause it to stagnate), and why not all metrics are created equal.

Fortunately, the introduction of a number of metrics and tools have made it possible for business leaders to not only hold marketing accountable to revenue, but to also emphasize the inherent connection between marketing and the company’s strategic and operational goals.    To start holding your marketing efforts accountable to your business revenues, consider implementing the following ten steps within your organization:

1. Understand the difference between “vanity metrics” and “growth metrics.” 

According to Eric Ries, author of “The Lean Startup,” vanity metrics can inhibit your understanding of how marketing contributes to revenue:  “Vanity metrics refer to those very visible numbers that you…try to play off as success.  Metrics such as page views and numbers of users for a fledgling company are often not representative of the true business model.”
Rather than focusing on page views and site visitors, Ries suggests focusing on actual growth metrics, such as how much a customer has spent or how often a client purchases from your company.

2. Understand the current state of your organization’s marketing efforts. 

If you don’t hold your marketing accountable, it’s time to start re-assessing why this has happened.  For example, if you don’t involve your marketing team in outlining organizational goals and strategies, they may not know what your ideal ROI looks like.

3. Hold yourself accountable. 

If you didn’t define the business objectives to your sales team or you don’t understand the metrics your marketers are presenting to you, it’s possible you have played a role in failing to keep your marketing accountable to revenue.

4. Analyze the tools and resources your marketers need to achieve ideal ROI growth. 

If your organization isn’t providing your marketers with necessary resources, they may be hindered from growing considerable profits.  Assess your marketing team to see if they’re happy with the tools and resources they’re currently operating with.  If not, consider asking your company’s stakeholders for approval to acquire these critical resources

5. Understand the barriers that may be impacting your marketing team’s ability to grow revenue.  

Your marketing team may not have the necessary access to data or fail to understand the meaning behind certain metrics.  Identify these obstacles and create action plans for surmounting them.

6. Focus on growing conversion rates by using analytics. 

This is an important metric that helps your marketing team transform pre-qualified leads into customers.  If your marketers use analytics to increase conversion rates, skyrocketing revenues may quickly follow.

7. Place an emphasis on acquiring customer feedback. 

Marketers who assess past customers for their satisfaction are often much more successful at identifying product improvements that can lead to increased revenue.  Have your marketers solicit feedback from forms, surveys, and social media websites.

8.Ensure that your marketers are connecting your customers with highly targeted offers. 

For example, if you run a furniture store and a customer has recently purchased a nursery set, your marketers could provide offers that focus on children’s bedroom sets.  This can enhance your company’s conversion rates while keeping your marketers accountable to revenue.

9. Establish organizational processes that allow marketers to analyze customer insights before making marketing decisions. 

Incorporating market research and customer segmentation in an output’s process can help ensure that it achieves required functionality and minimal quality thresholds.

10. Provide your marketers with support from senior management and organizational stakeholders. 

Your marketing team may be much more successful at increasing company revenue if they have total support and commitment from upper-level managers and stakeholders.

It’s important to realize that your marketing team doesn’t exist in a vacuum.  If you make concrete efforts to improve access to data and resources – as well as identify your company’s most useful metrics – you’ll be successful at holding your company’s marketing accountable to revenue.