BearingPoint, the global consultancy, has unveiled its Integrated Marketing Scorecard which helps the company measure the overall effectiveness of its marketing efforts and, as a result, helps it target its resources accordingly.
"We used to try to allocate money based on percentage of revenue coming into the business," said BearingPoint chief marketing officer Linda Rebrovick. "Now we can allocate based on revenue and performance."
BearingPoint's integrated scorecard idea dates back to summer 2002, when pockets of marketing groups were using their own scorecards to measure various elements, independent of one another. Important customer data was scattered in isolated programs and dispersed databases across the company.
No surprise, then, that marketing had a tough time trying to find firm ground on which to justify its budgets and resource allocation. An integrated scorecard, Rebrovick said at the time, would make it much easier for marketing to understand its specific mission - and communicate that mission to top management.
"We needed everyone rowing in the same boat," says Rebrovick. "We needed to be able to talk in business terms that the executive committee would understand. And we needed to be clear about what our objectives were."
Rebrovick's team looked for best practices at other companies - and did not find much. The team brought in some outside experts to help work through the issues, and they also tapped into the CRM expertise of BearingPoint's own consultants.
The team realised that before deciding on how to measure the effectiveness of the marketing function, they first had to define effectiveness more clearly. The definition they came up with encompassed three categories: business impact, building the brand and strengthening the culture.
Rebrovick's team then set about building the scorecard. They received important input from senior executives on what the primary metrics should be, which also helped assure the executives' buy-in and support for the process. Their main advice: Keep it simple.
The team ended up with eight primary metrics, comprising a mix of hard and soft measurements across the three areas that collectively provide a more comprehensive view of marketing's effectiveness.
"We have a balance of outside, objective measurements and very objective internal analysis," says Rebrovick. "But we also have subjective measurements - asking executives whether goals were achieved, how well plans were executed and so on."
Each metric is organised by category, weighted and rolled up into a single total score for the entire marketing function. Executives can drill down into any metric for more detail and to analyse trends.
Senior management receives monthly reports to keep informed on how marketing is performing against corporate goals. Within the marketing organisation, scorecard goals are built into individual performance goals to ensure that incentives are aligned properly with marketing objectives.
The results, Rebrovick claims, have been impressive.
"Clearly, we've made ROI improvements in our campaigns; we're looking at which ones are generating leads, and which ones are helping us to advance our key client base," she said. "We can also see overall how many leads we're bringing into the business."
A steady stream of feedback from both top management and frontline marketing personnel has enabled Rebrovick's team to fine-tune the metrics as needed.
"Hearing their concerns is an ongoing area of importance so we can adjust the metrics to make sure we're motivating the right behaviour," she said.
Where once BearingPoint was looking for external best practices, it has now created its own: The Integrated Marketing Scorecard was chosen earlier this year as a best practice in marketing measurement and metrics by IDC's CMO Advisory Service.
The scorecard is an important element in Rebrovick's marketing strategy - but not the only one.
"You don't want to manage just by the numbers day to day," she said. "You have to take the long-term view. But it's a good rudder to keep you on the right track."