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'Putting the screws' to marketing to be more accountable

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Dave Fitzgerald is exec VP-sales, marketing and services at Brainshark, which allows business pros to create and share multimedia presentations online. Before moving to Brainshark, Dave was senior VP-sales and services at ClearStory Systems, a digital asset management software company. BtoB recently spoke with Fitzgerald about where the pendulum is swinging on measurement. BtoB: What are some of the biggest challenges b-to-b marketers face right now in measuring more integrated-type campaigns? Fitzgerald: The challenge faced by the marketers is the fact that often they have many different systems supporting these initiatives—a website, WebEx, a CRM system. So the challenge is to aggregate and integrate the data. BtoB: With a growing number of channels for b-to-b marketers to get their messages out, what should be the top priorities for targeting prospects? Fitzgerald: The top priority should be return on investment. [If] you make an investment in a particular channel, you have to be able to measure the results and then make your budget allocation accordingly. Over the years, we've slowly tried to put the screws to the marketing teams to be more accountable for their spending. You need to figure out what you're getting on the return and make sure that marketing can support the overall business plan without any soft math. BtoB: How are the metrics emerging for social media channels? Fitzgerald: I think back 10 years ago to what kind of metrics emerged from the Internet: visitors, page views, click-through rates and basic raw information. That's advanced to where we are today, with ratings, rankings, search words, Adwords, ROI for Adwords, click-paths, lots of data. ... It's going to be the same thing with social media metrics, and I still think we're in the early stages. My gut tells me it will accelerate faster than the Internet, and we'll get on top of this stuff in the next two years. —M.S.
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