Lack of data is not an issue in most marketing teams. Not at all. The struggle is about finding the right data to present to the C-level. Marketers who understand this also excel in showing the value of their work to the business overall. In most cases, they look at conversion points rather than volume-based metrics.
I talked to Joakim Ditlev, co-founder of Danish agency Messbar, about those missing links in modern marketing and how marketers can work more proactively with metrics, data, and points of conversation for more sales and a stronger partnership between marketing, sales and the C-level.
Most marketers are still mainly creative
We have talked about being data-driven for years now, but for most of us, there is still a long way to go. Especially social media have given us easy access to a lot of different metrics. The issue is that almost all of these are volume-based:
Social media, search and website analytics have provided us with a lot of easily accessible metrics. But to be fair, most of these numbers have very little to do with the business, and very often they aren’t analyzed into insights that will actually help reach business objectives.
To Joakim, it’s important that marketers don’t lose sight of the end goal. Getting clicks and creating awareness is great, but when an organization is spending considerable money and resources on marketing, it’s because they expect a turnover:
At the end of the day Marketing must lead to more business. That is more complicated than simply counting website visitors or number of leads. And it requires more careful work analyzing the data than many marketers are geared towards today.
The missing link between awareness and a sale
In Joakim’s experience working with marketers across industries, we tend to focus too much on attention and action - neglecting all that analytic work in between, in which leads are qualified and primed towards a sale:
It’s the sales funnel that is still being overlooked. The process in which data actually becomes leads. Very often I see marketers collecting emails, putting those emails into the subscription list, and then saying job done.
Getting someones email might in itself be completely worthless from a business perspective, as we see when open rates go down as lists grow. This also explains the disconnect between marketing and sales that Joakim sees so often. Marketing will deliver unqualified leads to sale, and no one follows up:
Clicks to website or signups to a newsletter doesn’t really in itself qualify as leads, since sales have very little information about the buyer’s need to go on. The back and forth between marketing and sales is what can really ensure the relevance of both departments, but it is very often neglected.
Qualifying the leads and focusing on valuable actions
Qualifying the leads is about actual sorting, giving the business some sense of where the different potential customers are in the sales process, and discovering is there is actually a potential customer behind that email.
Without this, sales are often pushed to early, at a time where the customer is nowhere near ready to buy. Joakim sees that data is often misinterpreted:
Just because someone opened a newsletter, doesn’t mean they are ready to buy. Instead marketers should focus more on valuable actions in the middle stage of the sales funnel to actually turn that almost entirely anonymous person into an actual lead.
This requires marketing to have a strong business understanding, since they have to be able to pinpoint those valuable actions towards the sale. It requires not just looking at the metrics, but taking the time to analyze and work with them; integrating marketing business critical knowledge into your marketing efforts in order to structure different valuable actions. Then using those actions to collect further information that can qualify the lead, such as name, product interests or company:
It’s about using what you already know proactively to acquire valuable information.
Joakim knows that almost all marketers acknowledges the importance of working more closely with metrics, but the focus on attention tends to overshadow this work, because it quickly provides some sort of metric - which might not be valuable, but can however still be presented to the C-level:
In the end it comes down to working with all those data points in between attention and sales. It’s really the bread and butter of marketing, but to many it becomes kind of like our pension savings; something we will look at a bit later when we are done trying to conjure up all that attention which we just know will eventually lead to more sales.
Of course, some may already be where they need to be in terms of metrics and points of conversions.
After my talk with Joakim, I can say that I am definitely not.
You can meet Joakim in November at the Boye 19 Aarhus conference.