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Getting Your KPI Ducks in a Row

You’ll often hear that Marketing and Sales teams need to work more closely together to reach a common business goal. But what if the Marketing teams themselves aren’t aligned within each division or segment?

A common cause of this misalignment stems from marketing teams’ structure and how business objectives are communicated down the chain of command. The make-up of a marketing team irrespective of centricity, typically consists of three layers delivering to a common business goal.

Sitting at the helm, spearheading the marketing team’s direction is the CMO. Managers, Heads of… or Leads provide the strategic direction to ensure customers’ needs and desires are catered for at each stage of their marketing funnel and his/her direct reports are tasked with delivering activities or campaigns to this strategic vision.

Each layer, in most cases, has their own marketing KPIs and, more often than not, the further removed the team is from the executive level, the less aligned their KPIs become to delivering towards the business goal.

Here are some tips to reduce the fragmentation in business goal alignment in your marketing team that you could apply today:

  • Understand or set the business objective
    Have a clear view of your businesses objective and the timeframe to achieve this. Whether it’s increased sales, lifting acquisition or generating more leads, this KPI should be the guiding light to every marketing program, activity or tactic throughout the strategic planning phases.

Action: Map the goals and KPIs on each organisational level and identify how they relate towards driving the overarching business objective.

  • Benchmark the business objective

New businesses will require time to establish a benchmark based on their new marketing activities. For existing businesses, the previous year’s performance is a good starting point to review whether the business objective is still relevant and then forecast to determine the target and stretch targets for the upcoming year. Lastly, this exercise will surface insights into what worked, what didn’t and why, as inputs to set the marketing strategy and KPIs.

Action: Baseline and measure, measure, measure. This will eventually provide you with tangible results and potential business cases for future opportunities.

  • Set Marketing KPIs

Setting measurable marketing KPIs with direct relation to the business objective ‘first’ will inadvertently link the marketing strategy plan to the overall business objective.

Action: Setting a KPI that doesn’t lead towards a type of conversion could be a waste of effort. Not having a KPI at all also means you’re executing campaigns for the sake of execution. Ensure KPIs are meaningful and have an impact on your business.

  • Establish a Marketing Strategy delivering to Marketing KPIs

Having established delivery team KPIs that are aligned with the overall business objective, each initiative or campaign should be geared towards the business objective with forecasted return on investment to help prioritisation. Any activity or campaign that doesn’t contribute towards the business objective should be a lower priority to the team. A mentor of mine always asked, “How does this contribute to the business?” and this line of questioning we should always be pursuing.

Action: When building out a marketing strategy, always ask yourself “How does this contribute to the business?”. If it doesn’t, then “is it worth doing at all?”

  • Measure and Optimise

Now with a marketing strategy in market, it’s time to keep tabs on the teams agreed KPIs. Constantly monitoring, testing, learning and tweaking will incrementally improve KPIs and allow for the creation of a library/playbook of learnings for future application.

Action: Test and learn spans across every aspect of setting up a marketing campaign. The campaign, creative and external touch points all deserve their own structured testing framework. Start simple, create the habit of testing and ramp up the complexity over time.

Keep in mind, these are the first steps towards establishing business objectives and marketing teams operate with a united front. Determining the right measures and KPIs is unique to your business but ultimately, it’s important to know what a win looks like for your team and organisation.