Incorporating technology into benchmarking activities delivers better, unbiased comparisons of marketing performance relative to peers and those considered to be best-in-class. With more accurate, real-time data, leaders can quickly and objectively evaluate the success of their operations and determine whether and where they are underperforming.

“Technology maintains 26% of the marketing budget despite, or because of, uncertain times.”

Source: 2020-21 Gartner Annual CMO Spend Survey Research – Part 2

Leading technology solutions maximize integrated workflows – pivotal to today’s distributed workforce – providing organizations an independent perspective on performance and an identification of performance gaps. Standardized processes and metrics enable marketing leaders to effectively monitor and manage quality, productivity, and costs to optimize their people, processes, and technology.

Technology-based benchmarking centralizes data and provides a single source of truth for marketing and procurement activities and performance. This enhanced visibility assists executives in the development of short and long-term strategies, resource alignment, and more effective management of actual costs against budgeted expenses.

68% of CMOs expect a technology budget increase in the next fiscal year – 43% anticipate a slight increase, 25% a significant increase.

Source: 2020-21 Gartner Annual CMO Spend Survey Research – Part 2

Organizations that are prepared to pivot and adopt process improvement-based benchmarking are better equipped to withstand business disruptions. Incorporating technology into benchmark practices ensures that tactical and strategic activities do not function independently of each other, but rather build on and reinforce operational agility to help guide organizations into the future.

Executing Agile Performance Management

With global organizations compelled to react to fluctuations resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, marketing organizations face constant pressure to reevaluate their cost base, re-establish budget baselines, and proactively identify opportunities for improved performance and optimization.

While CMOs assess their methodology for evaluating operational excellence, leaders should ask themselves some important questions. Is the department operating with disparate technologies and fragmented processes? Does the team currently struggle to track and manage productivity, performance, and costs? Are there robust measurement and documentation processes to allow for continuous improvement?

43% of marketers surveyed still do not use any kind of modern MarTech to manage key marketing activities.

Source: Gartner, 2020 Marketing Operations Survey

Integrating market-leading technology with strategic benchmarking practices creates a powerful toolset to efficiently and effectively, measure, track, and report productivity and performance across marketing operations. The captured data empowers marketing executives to implement actions that optimize processes, quality, and costs, and accelerate strategic planning.

Persistent measurement of KPIs and metrics concentrated on continuous improvement assists marketing teams in gaining a competitive advantage. Top areas for benchmarking focus on: Productivity – order process time, change order volume, and resource utilization; Financials – total project cost, cost by campaign type, and invoice to payment accuracy; Compliance – process controls, diversity spend, and supplier optimization; and Supplier Performance – pricing, project deliverables, and contract compliance.

Benchmarking can be extremely valuable in strengthening marketing’s overall spend management – the rigorous tracking and active management of the way marketing dollars are spent. And, while it is hardly the most glamorous component of marketing, its impact can be game-changing.

Effective spend management can free up as much as 20 percent of a marketing budget and serve both as a foundation to weather business challenges and a catalyst for future growth.

Benchmarking should not be considered a one-off, side-of-the-desk activity. To be most effective, it must be an integral part of an organization’s performance improvement strategy. Companies that implement agile benchmarking practices become better positioned to successfully navigate the ever-changing global environment.

 

You can read Part One of this series here and Part Two can be read here

 

Ken McDonald is the founder of SourceSCM Consulting LLC, dedicated to partnering with businesses to drive cost optimization, accelerate organizational transformation, and execute innovative, customer-focused solutions. A trusted sourcing and supply chain expert with 30 years of Fortune 6 leadership experience, Ken focuses on sourcing, negotiations, contracting, supplier relationship management, risk, compliance, supplier diversity, distribution, and logistics operations in highly regulated industries. He began his career in retail and moved from there into lead roles in manufacturing and distribution. Ken volunteers as a sports coach and with various groups benefiting children’s charities, food banks, and struggling families.