I was cleaning up an over-stuffed bookmarks folder in my Internet browser and came across a prescient blog post from 2014 that featured a bunch of marketing automation stats from diverse sources. The stats themselves, taken individually, aren’t particularly eye opening, but taken collectively, they provide a relatively balanced set of insights that marketers must consider if they want to successfully drive marketing ROI. Remember, these stats are at least two and a half years old, if not older.
I’ll save you the suspense and tell you that the stats haven’t changed much directionally since 2014—I spot checked about half of them. As I reflected on these “aged” insights and stats, I started to consider why B2B companies continue to find it so challenging to drive marketing ROI, particularly after investing in marketing automation. In my view, the fundamental issue is the focus on vanity metrics instead of metrics that matter. For transactional and complex B2B sales organizations, we see an intense focus on measuring campaign activity (sent, responded, leads generated, leads converted, etc.) but, for example, limited focus on the effectiveness of lead qualification, shortening lead cycle time, and the quality of lead hand-off to sales. In my experience, focusing on the latter set of metrics drives marketing ROI improvements of 50–150%. So take a step back in time with the blog post, and then consider if your marketing team is focused on the right metrics that can drive marketing ROI.