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Measurement Still the Missing Ingredient in Marketing

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Today’s business-to-business (B2B) marketing departments understand the need to move from guesswork analytics to a more data-driven approach. In a recent survey, 80 percent of marketers said they expect to spend more time focusing on marketing metrics in 2012 than they did previously.

Yet many of them still aren’t measuring the results of their efforts. Almost 37 percent of them don’t track revenue generated by their campaigns, which prevents marketing from truly showing its value to the organization.

Why? Nearly 40 percent of survey respondents said they lack the time or resources to create and analyze reports. The survey by Pardot, which provides cloud-based marketing automation software, asked dozens of B2B marketers about their programs, including what they measure, how they do it and standards for qualifying leads.

One in five of the marketers (20 percent) polled said they don't measure marketing-sourced leads at all, while 30 percent are not tracking advanced metrics such as marketing-sourced leads. More than a third (35 percent) of the marketers said they are not using lead nurturing for less-qualified leads and nearly 30 percent are lacking the tools needed to track leads throughout the sales cycle.

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On the positive side, though, lead qualification itself has become more rigorous. Nearly 85 percent of marketers are requiring that leads meet a given set of criteria such as job title or industry before they can be passed to sales, and more than half reported using a complex set of qualifiers that incorporated both demographic factors and lead activity.

As marketing campaign reporting tools have become more sophisticated, the type of metrics perceived as valuable seem to the changing, the survey found. About 33 percent of marketers agreed that marketing qualified leads (MQLs) are the most important metric to measure, with marketing-contributed opportunities ranked second; less revenue-focused metrics, including website traffic and page views, were seen as least important.

"Some survey results were surprising, but others are quite encouraging," said Adam Blitzer, Pardot co-founder and COO. " In today's lean-and-mean small business environment, it's crucial that marketers understand what's working and what's not, so programs can be improved and forecasts refined. I’m excited to see that more B2B marketers are moving in this direction."

Reach BusinessNewsDaily senior writer Ned Smith at nsmith@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @nedbsmith.

Ned Smith

Ned was senior writer at Sweeney Vesty, an international consulting firm, and was Vice President of communications for iQuest Analytics. Before that, he has been a web editor and managed the Internet and intranet sites for Citizens Communications. He began his journalism career as a police reporter with the Roanoke (Va.) Times, and was managing editor of American Way magazine and senior editor of Us. He was a Captain in the U.S. Air Force and held a masters in journalism from the University of Arizona.