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What C-Suite Executives Want


Let’s face it, being a senior marketing executive and reporting results to a C-suite executive board is as fun as a root canal. Almost every Vice President of Marketing enters quarterly and annual reviews with a sense of unease. This discomfort lies in the limited ability to provide the kind of metrics most C-suite executives want to see…. the bottom line of sales revenue against the marketing spend.

Reporting on marketing’s key performance indicators, or KPI’s, is critical within the domain of marketing operations. However, most of the time KPIs fail to make a true impact on the C-suite executives who generally think in two ways: revenue vs costs. They know what the VP of Marketing was given for budget and the revenue goals that were set. So, reporting on the number of impressions, click-throughs, attendees, responders, and ultimately leads in the pipeline are just noise to these folks. They know there is some value to it all, but it is limited in most of their minds. In order for marketing to earn the respect of these key stakeholders the key focus must be on business metrics that speak to the bottom-line revenue generated.


C-Suite executives think in two ways: revenue vs costs. All else is mostly noise to them


The KPI That C-Suite Want


The challenge is that most marketing investments in social media, automated marketing, events, and collateral don’t have a direct line to revenue. Certainly sales opportunities can be tracked within CRM to provide some level of visibility as to the pipeline revenue they represent. Unfortunately, the visibility tend to be very limited and are often questioned as to the portion of credit to give to marketing.

To gain a solid footing in these quarterly and annual reviews, senior marketing executives must ensure their marketing activities are tracked and channeled in a revenue-focused process that converts these impressions, click-throughs, attendees, responders, and ultimately leads into bottom-line revenue.


Estimated Total Customer Acquisition Costs


Customer acquisition costs are best described as an estimate because there are ultimately some cost components that go beyond the scope of marketing departments to calculate even with the assistance of operations and finance. Marketing executives need to factor not just their overall marketing budget but also the labor costs of their teams and the sales teams supporting the efforts and engagements.

This requires marketing departments to act tactically by defining which marketing activities are geared towards an installed base of accounts and which are geared towards Target Account Penetration or TAP accounts, and which activities are across both. If programs are geared for customer retention and expansion, then they should be defined as such and revenue should be calculated based on figures being reported within your CRM.

New business usually involves TAP accounts, and marketing activities geared to TAP accounts should be identified as such. Marketing must assess the current volume of business that exists within each TAP account and define a revenue threshold as to when a TAP account can be categorized as acquired. The revenue threshold can apply just as well to TAP accounts that have little or no business traction existent.

Armed with the total marketing costs including budget expenditure and labor costs, a marketing executive can provide an estimate of how many new accounts marketing has help attain given a revenue volume that exceeds the pre-determined threshold.

A simple division of total costs divided by the number of new TAP accounts acquired will show the estimated average customer acquisition cost metric.

Senior executives may choose to further break up the costs in terms of how much of the total acquisition cost is owned by marketing and how much is owned by sales and operations. Collectively the three units provide the total estimated cost of acquisition of new customers.

Marketing executives need to factor not just their overall marketing budget but also the labor costs of their teams and the sales teams supporting the efforts and engagements.


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