Survey: Company goals not aligned with metrics

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Measuring marketing performance is a top priority for b-to-b companies this year, yet there is a gap between what companies identify as critical activities and what they are actually measuring, according to a report by VisionEdge Marketing.

The report, released last month, was based on an online survey of more than 100 executives at b-to-b companies. About half the respondents held marketing titles, 16% held C-level titles and the rest were in sales and other functions.

The survey asked respondents to identify the activities that will be critical to their companies' success in 2005. The top-ranking response was acquiring new customers in existing markets (79%), followed by bringing new products to market (50%).

Measuring marketing performance was cited by 59% of respondents as a top priority this year. Other activities that did not rank as high on the list were entering new markets (33%), improving customer profitability (26%) and increasing company valuation (17%).

When asked which metrics are reported to the board, 55% of respondents said rate of customer acquisition, 35% said value of overall customer base, and 27% said customer loyalty. Share of preference was reported by 11% and share of voice by 9%.

"There is a very big disconnect between the success factors and what they actually report on," said Laura Patterson, president of VisionEdge, a marketing measurement consultancy. "If you're going after new customers in existing markets, share of voice and share of preference are pretty important, and companies are not reporting on them regularly."

Respondents were also asked to identify the marketing organization's primary responsibilities. Increasing share in existing markets was cited by 68%, and growing a company's brand value was cited by 47%.

"Growing a company's brand value is marketing's No. 2 initiative, but only 17% said increasing a company's value is a critical factor for success," Patterson said.

"Marketing recognizes they need to [increase the company's brand value], but it is not well connected to the success factors."

The survey also found that 65% of respondents plan to conduct or want to conduct an audit of their marketing metrics this year. However, only 27% of respondents said their company has a budget for improving the ability to set, track and report on performance indicators for marketing.

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