Allocadia Enables Excellence in Managing and Operating Marketing

The relevance of marketing to an organization depends on planning and performance measured against it. In writing about marketing management I have observed the marketing mayhem that can occur but also have noted that organizations that take marketing performance management seriously are in better position to assess their efforts in relation to goals and outcomes. VR2014_TechInnovation_AwardWinnerI have a little experience in having been a CMO and VP Marketing in my career and know how frantic it can be to managing marketing. Taking it seriously requires more effective technology than spreadsheets and presentations; we recommend using a dedicated application that supports management of both marketing operations and processes that contribute to optimal performance.

Allocadia is a vendor of such software. Its core principles can help every marketing executive, CMO or not, engage with and lead marketing effectively. Its founders brought passion to the pursuit of marketing excellence that inspired the organization to advance performance management in this discipline. In 2014 our firm recognized its purpose and approach with a Ventana Research Technology Innovation Award. Its software enables marketing departments to take a more methodical approach that manages operations in line with the budget and plan and measures progress toward goals.

Allocadia’s products help organizations define the marketing budget and plan how to use it, and then track actuals to the budget and link it to strategy and goals. In recent releases Allocadia has advanced its applications in planning and analytics to derive further insights from marketing operations and performance. Its impact modeler helps users see how plans will contribute to revenue goals. In the past year the company has increased flexibility in modeling input and currencies and enables more granular time intervals for months and quarters. For example, marketing professionals can model complexities in accounting of the budget through purchase orders that might be split across time periods and projects. Allocadia also has made the applications easy to integrate with project management tools such as that from Workfront in which projects created within Allocadia are linked to the budget and plan.

Allocadia has an aggressive product schedule that releases new advances almost monthly; this helps marketers incrementally improve their flexibility. It is continuing to advance its visualization capabilities while simplifying presentation of data so marketers can understand and act on insights. Under the covers Allocadia ensures that analytics applied to the model can be linked to ongoing activities and projects. This approach to analytics empowers marketing organizations to directly link strategy, goals, budgets and plans to resources. I know from engagements with marketing leaders that many are unable to unify their operations in such a manner and still use ad hoc approaches. Allocadia is continuing to improve its modeling so it can fully allocate spend and results from top to bottom and also from the bottom up to represent marketing activities and their attributed results.

Marketing organizations can get started with Allocadia by focusing on the marketing planning process. I recently articulated the relevance of marketing planning in a perspective that outlines best practices and steps forward. By aligning the budget to goals and projects, marketing teams can work collaboratively to optimize the actual spend. This is something that many need to do: Our benchmark research into marketing planning finds that only 10 percent of organizations are able to accurately measure the plan’s impact. I would like to see Allocadia add more workflow, approval and collaboration in the context of budgeting and planning to eliminate the painful inefficiencies of management by email, spreadsheets and presentations. Allocadia must also further deepen its unique support for marketing and approach to projects and spend so that it is not easily compared to planning and budgeting tools that are deployed by finance. This will not be easy as many of them can provide fairly sophisticated modeling, analytics and presentation for use across business today. Ensuring Allocadia can further its methodical approach to marketing performance management should be music to the ears of finance departments and corporate executives looking for visibility to ensure that the organization derives full value from the overall marketing spend but also the investment into people and projects. In terms of Allocadia products it offers simple pricing and easy, cost-effective deployment of its applications through subscription and software as a service approach to cloud computing.

After assessing how organizations use Allocadia’s products, in 2015 we awarded Juniper VR2015_LeadershipAwardWinnerNetworks the Ventana Research Leadership Award in marketing excellence for its work in utilizing Allocadia to develop and apply metrics to manage its spend in the budget to goals. Marketing organizations that do not use a dedicated application risk both their success and the careers of those who work there; everyone should be able to see the results of their efforts and work as a team to achieve their goals. Used properly Allocadia helps enable a sense of accomplishment and pride in both management and operations. There are many in the industry who like to talk about what marketing needs to do, but that have not experienced it or have advice marketing executives like I have in the last 15 years to understand what specifically needs to be done to reduce the mayhem and master marketing successfully. If you have not seen marketing performance management at work, I recommend evaluating Allocadia in the context of establishing inspiration and teamwork in your marketing efforts to achieve the outcomes you and your organization deserve.


Mark Smith

CEO and Chief Research Officer

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The Mastery of Marketing Performance Management

Managing marketing performance is anything but simple. It requires establishing a unified approach to assess the outcomes of initiatives and projects and compare results with investments in marketing people and campaigns. In general, while performance management has been conducted effectively at the corporate levels, it has been a challenge for most lines of business, marketing departments included.

Almost 15 years ago, our firm introduced PerformanceCycle, a framework that enables businesses not only to measure performance but to manage it across the organization and within departments. This approach continues to help organizations think through what it means to manage performance and how to do it. PerformanceCycle is a three-step process of understanding, optimizing and aligning performance to specific goals and objectives. We find that many organizations do well at understanding performance, usually through use of analytics represented in dashboards and reports, but struggle with the two steps that follow. It is possible to utilize planning processes to optimize performance to specific goals and objectives, but doing it effectively requires capable software rather than desktop spreadsheets and presentations that are not integrated into the enterprise.

For marketing organizations, the focus has been on managing budgets and people through projects and in many cases campaigns to achieve specific goals that are aligned to basic expectations of particular groups, such as demand generation based on the number of leads or in social media based on the number of impressions. These steps are necessary but not sufficient. Managing marketing resources is only part of what is needed for effective performance management. As well as tracking people and tasks, managers should monitor activities, their results and the progress they represent toward goals, not the least of which is revenue augmentation. Viewed this way, marketing performance management is both a commitment and a process that goes well beyond reaching goals that are not intrinsically linked to the outcomes expected of marketing by management. It also supports an initiative for continuous process improvement by using software that facilitates managing goals, plans and metrics.

In beginning a marketing performance management initiative that should inevitably be a continuous process, we recommend setting goals that clearly identify in functional terms what marketing must achieve, establishing context by comparing the goals to the existing situation. As part of this planning process, take time to understand the roles and activities that will be involved, establish for each of them ways to measure their efforts, and provide flexible software that is accessible to everyone in marketing. Educate yourself about executives’ view of marketing performance, which typically is framed in terms of its cost and thus its cost effectiveness as applied to achieving targeted outcomes.

Be sure to examine whether to include aspects such as the relation of marketing performance to corporate objectives, sales efforts and new product introductions. Also be aware of the impacts of marketing activities and outcomes on other departments. Ensure that the process being developed to manage marketing performance is visible to all stakeholders in marketing and in upper management. With their buy-in, develop a centralized common budget and plan for the entire marketing organization. Before launching the program, develop or acquire a methodology to manage spend vs. results and adjust iteratively.

Also plan to standardize and integrate activities and results data supplied by marketing systems and team members. Identify relevant data from sales systems to integrate with marketing data; for example, use data on closed deals to track results of lead-generation efforts. Understand that you will need to have analytics software to analyze and interpret data for decision-makers. Our benchmark research finds that up to 10 information sources can be important for building marketing analytics. These begin with data from internal marketing operations such as budgets, goals and objectives and external online marketing activities, but they also include enterprise sources such as finance, sales, HR, ERP and billing and perhaps data from partners who might be involved in marketing activities.

The next step is to select software designed to manage marketing performance. It should be able to automate and centralize management of initiatives, goals, projects, budgets, resources, plans and analytics. Be sure that it provides analytics that will yield performance management metrics and enable you to derive key performance indicators. Both historical and current plan metrics are critical for comparing actuals to budget. Key process and people-related indicators are essential to determine if marketing activities are on track to achieve performance goals.

The software also should have a common dashboard for marketing operations and management. Use it to devise a consistent approach for presenting metrics that represent spend used and value generated. Analytics also can generate metrics and indicators to help determine the value of investments and the contribution of marketing to enterprise revenue. Such a data-driven approach can improve decisions by providing facts and removing biases from the process. Note, however, that analytics must be useful to nonspecialists. In our marketing analytics research more than two-thirds (68%) of Untitledorganizations said it is very important to simplify marketing analytics and metrics. But for more advanced marketing departments applying predictive analytics has helped provide insight to potential future outcomes.

As I’ve said, measuring performance alone will not enable you to manage marketing performance. Having defined goals that cascade across marketing and metrics linked to them is critical to determine whether the organization is on path to reach the goals and whether resources and budgets are allocated effectively. Visualization capabilities in the software enable planners to see the allocation over future time periods and to compare actuals vs. budget in the marketing plan. This can’t be done using spreadsheets and presentations, which are not centralized or readily available and are not designed to manage marketing performance.

A managed approach to marketing performance management can save time and resources, both of which may be in short supply, according to our research. Lack of resources is both the most common process barrier (for 44%) and the most common technology barrier (for 55%) to making changes in marketing analytics. This approach also can provide the ongoing visibility into marketing performance that the organization needs. Almost one-fourth (23%) of organizations want to compare actuals vs. budget during meetings, and nearly as many (18%) want to do so within an hour or two after meetings, according to our research on next-generation business planning. However, organizations that rely on spreadsheets often find themselves stuck in a perpetual cycle of chasing data and performing mashups to develop the metrics required to manage marketing performance.

The ability to quantify results using ROI and vr_marketing_analytics_03_assessing_impacts_of_marketing_spendbenefits metrics enables marketing leaders to demonstrate the department’s value to the business. It is very important to more than half (54%) of organizations to assess impacts of marketing spend on their goals and objectives, and important to an additional two in five (39%). Almost two-thirds (64%) of research participants said that marketing’s contribution to the sales pipeline is a very important way to determine that impact.

Our research delineates the challenges for marketing departments in justifying their expenditures and demonstrating the business value of their activities. Adopting software that analyzes and tracks the relations between spending and revenue can help them make processes more transparent and prove their worth to executives. It also can help marketing teams focus on revenue generation as the goal of all their projects. Thus, in assessing applications with which to manage marketing performance, don’t settle for those that only help you execute demand and lead generation or track social media; search for dedicated software that can help you understand, optimize and align expenditures and activities to desired outcomes.

In all, marketing performance management enables organizations to make better-informed decisions on plans for future initiatives and campaigns. It can enable marketing to increase productivity, improve performance and take a more central role in the enterprise. It establishes a foundation to understand and plan for a positive impact from marketing and quantify the value it delivers to an organization. Excellence in marketing requires managing to expected outcomes. Proper use of data and analytics can enable you to reach the goals outlined in plans and provide visibility into the use of budgets and resources. Analytics can provide metrics and key indicators that help you manage performance daily, weekly and monthly. If you take these steps, your marketing department will be more agile and adaptive in achieving the outcomes expected from its efforts.


Mark Smith

CEO and Chief Research Officer

Follow Me on Twitter and Connect with me on LinkedIn