What We Learned From Our Customers Over The Last 12 months

December 20, 2017 Matt Davis

Here at Allocadia, we’re constantly learning from our incredible customer base. They’re some of the most forward-thinking and cutting-edge marketing organizations out there, which is why we try to chronicle and share the stories of what they’ve accomplished. 

Here’s a roundup of some of the most valuable common threads we heard from our customers over the last twelve months.

There’s no substitute for data quality.

It came up over and over again this year: data quality is the key to any kind of meaningful performance measurement for marketing teams. 

With data quality, there can be no shortcuts, workarounds, or substitutes. More than any technology or process, the quality, accuracy and completeness of your marketing data is the single biggest determining factor in whether a marketing team is able to get real knowledge into which marketing efforts are working, and which aren’t.

Throughout the year, we saw customers achieve great things by improving their data quality in two specific ways:

Better data quality through software integrations

Learning House overcame their data quality hurdle by getting their marketing tech stack to work in tighter harmony. 

With dozens of media and educational partners, Learning House had a plethora of investment and results data flying around. Making sense of it required a lot of manual work. And as we know, where there’s manual work, data quality can’t be trusted. 

Integrations to the rescue! The marketers got their advertising tech and CRM systems feeding data directly into Allocadia — thus sidestepping all that human effort. 

Armed with a new confidence in their ability to evaluate marketing ROI, the team at Learning House reduced their cost per acquisition by 25%

The larger the marketing organization, the more likely you are find different ways of naming, categorizing and organizing things — all under the same company’s roof. 

This can be a knotty problem for Marketing Ops pros like Helena Lewis, Chief of Marketing Operations and Technology, at National Instruments.

With the goal of getting her global marketing organization’s plans and investments under control and aligned to company priorities, Helena started by defining some very specific, very thoughtfully-crafted standards for the way her company’s marketing data should be structured.

“We created a common set of words and descriptors spanned plans, investments and activities across all our marketing systems, which gave our team the opportunity to describe and measure all marketing-related activities in a similar way,” Helena said.

This article on SiriusDecisions’ blog gives all the juicy details, so let’s skip to the end result. In Helena’s words:

“Our consistency gave us an end-to-end view of how our campaigns tie to investments and returns, and how these are aligned with our plan and strategy.”

In other words: she had laid the groundwork for marketing ROI. 

Who else did that this year? Microsoft, for one! Read about their journey to ROI here

Marketing teams that spend accurately earn the trust and confidence of Finance.

This year, we also saw a few great examples of companies who strengthened the relationship between the Finance and Marketing organizations. 

How? By spending with accuracy. The most common point of friction between Marketing and Finance organizations is when marketers spend in ways that surprise or confuse Finance teams. When marketers bring in processes and tools that give them the visibility they need to manage their marketing spend in predictable, accurate ways, it results in a win-win situation, like it did for Palo Alto Networks.

The partnership can go deeper than that, too. At Hortonworks, for example, Director of FP&A Carey Rutigliano uses the ROI data he gets from Allocadia to fuel executive conversations. He can show the CMO, COO and CFO what Marketing is doing, and the impact they’re having.

Another marketer who has earned the complete trust of the Finance team is Ryan Danner, whose leadership and process change have made it so that the global marketing organization spends within 0.02% of its budget. 

When quoting this figure on stage at an event this year, a member of the audience asked Ryan whether that was 0.02% above target, or 0.02% below. “Honestly, I don’t care,” he joked.

We outlined five must-have discussions between Marketing and Finance in a blog post earlier this year. Also see our infographic: Three Essential Conversations Between the CMO & CFO.

Steering a marketing organization towards better Marketing Planning is a huge challenge — but it’s completely worthwhile. 

This summer, we created an educational video and blog series all about marketing planning in the enterprise, featuring some of our customers who are doing it best. We ourselves learned a tremendous amount in the process.

Our Marketing Planning Master Class featured leaders from GE Digital, Fuze, and National Instruments. Even though the nitty-gritty of marketing planning varied quite a bit between these enterprises, one common thread stuck out to us: more than anything else, getting better at marketing planning is mostly an exercise in change management.

For example:

GE Digital’s Neenu Sharma set in place a major evolution in the way that huge, yet nascent “startup” organization does its marketing planning. Sales, Finance, and IT are now all partners in the process, each with a shared sense of responsibility.

Ken Evans of Fuze took advantage of a major marketing department re-org to guide his team from a siloed, “rinse-and-repeat” marketing planning process to one that’s fully aligned to corporate objectives.

At National Instruments, Helena Lewis is steering Marketing from a product-centric planning approach to a customer-centric one — a long-term project that’s already seeing company-wide benefits.

 

Without a doubt, hearing customer stories and learning from them is one of the best things about working at Allocadia. We’re looking forward to whatever it is they’ll teach us next.

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