The most important thing at the end of the day is always did this generate pipeline &/or revenue. Knowing whether your open & click through rates are doing well, how deliverability is going, etc - these are all really important factors for users, but at the exec level, I always bring it back to these three key things:
- How many new leads were generated by the program?
- How many opportunities were generated by the program?
- How many sales were generated by the program?
There's sub questions to each of those around cost per lead/opportunity/sale, plus average and total value. Then there's questions around your attribution model - reporting to these based on first-/multi-/last-touch. Plus higher level questions of how these apply by channel rather than by program.
Reporting on these out of Marketo easily (i.e. without a bunch of manual analysis) requires a few things - consistent marking of acquisition, a clear attribution model which is well managed (these usually require custom fields etc), consistent and best practice use of channels, period cost on programs, CRM sync and use of opportunities with won/lost statuses assigned, and ideally a revenue cycle model and revenue cycle explorer.
But yeah, overall, at leadership/exec levels, they want to know ROI - what went in, what came out, did it work. The above usually gets you the answers they're looking for, in my experience.
Thanks for the quick reply. I think you make a lot of great, sound points. One of the things that I run into is that we do not expressly generate leads, opportunities or sales through our marketing efforts. I should have clarified that. We are a manufacturer and we primarily deal with distributors who re-sell our products. With that, a lot of our content is engagement driven or nurture driven.
In a situation where leads, opportunities and sales can't be drawn back to any email marketing program, what would be a good way to showcase influence?
Interesting. Is your content targeting consumers who will purchase through your distributors, or is its objective to nurture your distributors, or both? Overall, what is the intention of your content - what's the end action you're trying to get out of your target audience? Do you have a means of tracking whether this action is completed?
These are the things I would be looking to measure on. Even if you're not following the "traditional" lead > opportunity > sale model, you probably need a means of demonstrating hard value and avoiding the trap of focusing your reporting only on "vanity" metrics - the ones that make us feel good, but don't inherently prove value.
Engagement is a valuable metric for the marketing teams because it helps us understand whether the content on the page is getting a good response - the intended cause and effect being that a more highly engaged audience is a) more likely to "convert" (whatever your definition of that is) and b) more likely to maintain a longer relationship with you - i.e. their lifetime value will be higher.
This is not to say that there's no place for reporting on engagement - but rather that exec suite tend to care more about the consequences of engagement than engagement itself, and you'll benefit from a means of proving the correlation between the two in a way that's relevant to key success metrics for your business.