Tag Archives: marketing metrics


Competing Without Instruments – It’s Possible, But Not Recommended

As I’ve written before, one of the ways that B2B marketing is similar to endurance sports is that both are relentlessly focused on metrics. We track every aspect of on-line marketing efforts in order to prove marketing contribution and ROI. Data such as total visits, new sessions, channel specific metrics, bounce rate, total conversions, and lead-to-close ratio give us B2B marketers an accurate view of our efforts and success. Triathletes have the same instincts. We track our heart rate, power output, and cadence as the key inputs, and speed (of course) as the key output. Well, what would happen in  a world in which we were competing without instruments?

Competing Without Instruments at the Patriot 70.3

Yesterday was my annual race at the Patriot Half triathlon. Since its inception in 2007, I’ve missed the race only once, and it always proves to be a lot of fun. Yesterday’s weather was ideal, so I felt confident even though my spring preparation was not up to standard because of the record snowfall and late New England winter.

Through a combination of oversight on my part, equipment failure, and just plain curiosity, I ended up competing without instruments. First, I found myself engaged in a chatty conversation as the 1.2 mile swim started, so I failed to start my watch. Next, my bicycle computer shut down for good about 1 mile into the 56 mile ride, so I had no idea of my speed. As I got comfortable with the idea of having no data, I simply decided not to start my watch as I began the 13.1 mile run.

What I Learned: It’s Possible, But Not Recommended

Competing without instruments is anathema to triathletes like me. The biggest factor in my overall time is my run. And to have a successful run, I really need to make sure I don’t work too hard on the bike. That was a bit of a challenge yesterday, when I had no indication of my speed. So I rode by feel, using my instinct to determine when I was putting in too much effort.

Truth be told, I actually prefer NOT to know my speed on the run. Having my per-mile pace is great when the run is going well. But when things aren’t, watching my pace get slower and slower only leads to disappointment and a further deceleration. So not starting my watch was no big deal.

race_1323_photo_20778244It turns out that I had a great race. I finished 75 seconds faster than my 2014 results.  My swim was 2 and half minutes faster. My bike was 1 minute faster. I averaged 20.9 miles per hour instead of 20.7 last year. But my run was 80 seconds slower (8:17 minute mile pace instead of 8:11 last year).  I finished 8th of 52 competitors in my age group this year, vs 3rd of 40 last year.  Which leads to another parallel between marketing and triathlon – it’s all about who shows up!

I wouldn’t recommend racing a triathlon without instrumentation, and I certainly wouldn’t recommend marketers to compete without instrumentation. Data is key to results in both areas. What do you think? Have you competed without instrumentation before? What were YOUR results?

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biathlon ski-79564_640

The Biathlon CMO: Creative and Analytical

I have to admit it.  I just cannot get enough of biathlon!   How can you NOT love a mash-up of endurance sport and shooting?  As I watched Slovakia’s Anastasiya Kuzmina repeat as Olympic gold medal winner in the 7.5km sprint last weekend, I was amazed at the combination of skills the sport requires.    The competitors are absolutely full throttle anaerobic while skiing the course.  Then they glide into the shooting station, and must immediately calm their heart rate in order to hit the targets at 50m and avoid a time penalty.    Two completely opposite disciplines are necessary for success.    Just like today’s CMO, who must be a master of both creative and analytical skills.   The biathlon CMO.

Content -the Engine of the Biathlon CMO’s Creative Side

In today’s inbound marketing world, content is the key to a compelling, creative demand generation program.   An effective program requires knowing the buyer persona, identifying the latent pain, and building content to address those pains with your unique approach.

Effective B2B marketers then use a variety of avenues to distribute that content to their target audience.   A well crafted program can re-purpose the same basic information through a variety of channels, including social media, ebooks, case studies, blogs, white papers, surveys, webcasts, videos, as well as in-person events.

Content creation is a big job, but it can be made easier by getting a broader team involved.  Functional groups outside of marketing have great insight that can be built into compelling content.

Metrics Show Whether the Biathlon CMO Hits Her Targets

Big data and analytics have made their way into the B2B marketer’s world.  As a result of this, CMOs now have the data they need to communicate results and show value to the rest of the business.  As has been written in StoryMETRIX and Branding Strategy Insider, this allows the CMO to better align with their CFO colleagues.

The metrics exist.  The business can be instrumented to show value.  A key question is which metrics to use for which audience.  That is a subject for another post.

Are you a biathlon CMO?  Or, are you strong in one area but not the other?  Do you take too many penalty laps because you’re not hitting your targets?  Or, are you running out of gas in the last part of the race because you’re short on content?  Let me know what you think!



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