Marketing executive panel reviews return on marketing investment strategies

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Orlando, Fla.—Three b-to-b senior marketing executives took the stage at the American Marketing Association’s inaugural mPlanet conference Thursday, exploring the ways their companies have embraced marketing measurement.

“[Return on Investment] is more than the financial calculation,” said session leader Jim Lenskold, president of Lenskold Group. He insisted marketers think of measurement not in terms of metrics or tools, such as dashboards, but as a process tied to larger goals. It was a theme the panel returned to again and again.

“It’s all about operational discipline—in IT systems, data quality, metrics,” said Eric Kintz, VP-global marketing strategy at Hewlett-Packard Co., who took on his role 18 months ago when HP launched a major ROI initiative. There are four components of the marketing measurement effort, Kintz said: tying customer loyalty to gross margins; tying brand to shareholder value; tying campaigns to their contribution to the sales pipeline; and bringing measurement concepts from HP’s b-to-c business to its b-to-b business.

Jim Pedrick, CMO of the U.S. Financial Division of ING, a Netherlands-based global financial services company, likewise had a goal of linking marketing metrics to shareholder value. For instance, based on a review of the performance of various marketing investments, ING reduced the number of countries it operates in from two years ago.

Coordinating sales and marketing at Dow Corning has been helped by grafting a variety of marketing metrics on top of a sales-cycle dashboard, said Chip Reeves, director-marketing and sales process at the company.

All the panelists stressed the importance of senior management buy-in, consensus on which things to measure and common, companywide definitions of these metrics. A corporate culture that “facilitates and encourages” experimentation is also key, Reeves said.

Part of that experimentation will involve exploring new media, said HP’s Kintz, who maintains a public blog. Asked during the audience Q&A whether he was able to tie his blogging to increased shareholder value, Kintz admitted he could not, although he said HP has started monitoring the impact of its blogs on public relations and media coverage.

—Ellis Booker

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