May 4, 2010
The strongest part of this session was John Mueting’s very detailed and insightful tale of what they did at Allstate to improve marketing effectiveness.
Big Idea: Marketing and sales need to work closely together. Metrics can play an important, even critical role, in cementing that relationship.
Dennis Chapman comes to the field of marketing measurement from sales where he learned how to work according to a very simple dashboard: Revenue. If he brought in enough, he was rewarded; if he didn’t, he lost his job.
“You can measure anything,” Dennis says. The problem is that it can be very difficult to measure some things like marketing, in part due to lack of data. That problem is compounded by the increased pressure on marketers to produce facts to defend their actions and decisions.
The solution, according to Chapman, is predictive analytics. “Analytics that tell us the future,” as he put it.
The big questions being asked of marketers today are:
- How much revenue and profits are coming from our marketing efforts?
- How can we optimize results from our marketing investment?
- How can you prove your positive financial impact to the organization?
And Chapman insists that you have to be able to answer those questions. “We can’t measure that,” just won’t cut it. Even if you think that, you need to be willing to begin the journey to figure out how to make this measurement possible.
From an executive perspective, an effective marketing program is one that impacts financial results and can prove it.
Companies want to sell more with less, so the measurable (read: provable) results that Chapman recommends tracking are:
- Quality Suspects
- Quality Leads
Once you’ve decided what you are going to measure, you must have a dashboard that tells you how you are doing against the measurable results you’ve chosen.
After talking about dashboards, Chapman handed the reins over to Allstate Financial’s John Mueting. He’s a vice president in a sales organization who developed a full appreciation of marketing based on how the marketing organization responded when the chips were down.
Traditionally, every year the marketing would present their marketing plan and it always included a bunch of new stuff. The financial crisis that hit in November 2008 changed the game and marketing had to do things better, not do new things.
To get better, they realized they needed a knowledge-based approach to producer marketing, which meant they had to find out what the sales force actually values in marketing. They started by listening to the retail sales force, asking them via a loyalty survey what they thought of marketing. They found out that what these people valued, was not what marketing had been focusing on.
He went on to say, “These people don’t eat if they don’t sell. They want help, they need help, and their willing to share what they’ve learned through experience.” In other words, they wanted to work closely with marketing, but marketing wasn’t always giving them what they actually needed.
One result of these efforts was that the marketing group began to stage high-value programs and using metrics to tweak when things weren’t working as planned.
Other key learnings:
- Marketing pieces they were in love with didn’t work.
- They needed field sales coaching to focus on high impact marketing.
- They needed to improve relationship between sales and marketing.
- Using measurement, the company now knows where to effectively invest in order to increase revenue.
Mueting added that, while listening to sales folks was important, they weren’t always right. “You’ve got to listen to the producers, but always do what’s right for the business,” he said.