How to Link Performance to Your Marketing Spend

January 3, 2019

Do you feel like your budget planning processes get more painful and complex each year?

A main reason for this is likely because your role as CMO is expanding and evolving. You’re no longer simply the brand steward of the company. Your organization now expects increased value from all marketing activities, requiring you to build market share and margins by personalizing customer experiences, creating a customer-centric corporate culture, and driving your organization’s tech strategy.

To continue to be successful, you need the right resources, the best technology, and optimized processes -- all of which require significant funding. But, as Gartner’s recent annual CMO Spending Survey found, securing that funding is likely difficult.

“… CMOs must appease the often-skeptical chief financial officer’s (CFO’s) expectations for return on investment (ROI) to justify future budgetary commitments,” according to the survey.

So, how can you convince your CFO and rest of the c-suite that your proposed marketing spend will deliver the bottom-line results they want?

Get access to all your data

First, you need access and visibility into all historic and current spending, as well as performance data. That will likely require integration across numerous systems of record, including sales, finance, support, ERP, and more.

But your CFO isn’t going to be impressed by -- or likely trust -- static data in a spreadsheet. So, once you have access to this data, you must organize and help others make sense of it.

You need an automated system that enables you to easily collect, dissect, organize, and visualize the data. You also need business intelligence to generate customized reports.  

Measure your current performance

Next, you need to measure how marketing performed this year against your current budget. By tying input costs with in-market metrics you can more accurately measure your ROI. Share this information with your function/budget owners to verify that your numbers align with theirs.

Then collaborate as a team to identify where you met performance expectations and what changes could be made to improve results. When you take this information to your CFO, you can confidently demonstrate your ROI with concrete data.

Show possible outcomes

You may know what you need to be successful, but inevitably your budget will be challenged. It’s important that you’re able to demonstrate to the c-suite and other departments how your budget will deliver the performance they’re expecting.

The ability to run “what if” scenarios” is a powerful, fact-based way to link your proposed budget with ROI and gain your CFO’s confidence. Likewise, it gives you the ability to show how others’ recommended changes to your budget could jeopardize marketing success.

Demonstrate agility to make adjustments

No amount of planning and analysis can predict with total certainly how a campaign will perform. But continually demonstrating your agility to the c-suite by measuring ongoing performance and making quick adjustments to help maximize ROI can help.

For example, if a campaign is outperforming expectations, your team can choose to extend it, roll it out to other markets, or duplicate aspects to maximize the success of other programs. If a campaign is underperforming, your team can make adjustments to improve performance or end the campaign altogether and reallocate funds to other higher-performing initiatives.

Having this level of visibility and control over your team’s performance will go a long way to building credibility with your CFO.   

Aprimo enables organizations to align marketing strategies and budgets to optimize ROI. With the Aprimo Budget Allocation capability, part of the Aprimo Plan & Spend solution, your team will gain control over budgets and become more transparent and accountable. Aprimo Budget Allocation makes it easy for marketers to create marketing plans complete with budgets, expected outcomes, and tactics identified.

Further, it seamlessly integrates with entire Aprimo platform, so you have complete end-to-end capabilities from ideation to measurement of all your marketing initiatives.   

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