4 reasons why it’s hard to prove impact in marketing ops

Measuring impact is a common challenge in marketing operations. Here's how to overcome this hurdle, according to marketing ops experts. 

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Earlier this year, a study on advanced Marketo users revealed a common theme: Measuring impact is a challenge among marketing operations teams.

More than half of respondents reported that measuring impact is a top operational weakness, followed by resourcing talent and alignment to goals and strategies. That’s why Perkuto + MERGE called some of the brightest minds in marketing operations to get their perspective on this issue. 

Perkuto + MERGE hosted a webinar with panelists Amy Goldfine, Darrell Alfonso, Brooke Bartos, Jessica Meyers and Paul Ferrer to dissect why measuring impact is a common challenge in marketing operations and how organizations can overcome this hurdle. 

1. Dirty data is a culprit 

Brooke Bartos, director of marketing operations and analytics at Invoice Cloud Inc., kicked off the conversation by explaining a common offender: dirty data.

Without data, you’ll have a hard time proving impact in marketing operations. But when your data is incomplete or outdated, it often does more harm than good. This is why data cleaning is a crucial task for all marketing operations teams. Not to mention, poor data quality costs organizations an average of $12.9 million every year, so you’ll want to make this a top priority.  

Once you’ve cleaned up your data, another area of consideration is data literacy. 

Jessica Meyers, director of marketing operations and technology at Tebra, weighed in by introducing another commonly overlooked area: data literacy. Once you’ve got the numbers to prove impact, you have to consider data literacy. Not everyone will know what your metrics mean, so being able to tell the story of data is what will really prove impact. 

Dig deeper: Data-first marketing: A strategy to stop wasting 30% of your budget

2. Lack of alignment between sales and marketing

What is your marketing operations team trying to achieve? What about impact — what do you define as impact? Take it one step further and make sure your definitions also align. For example, what defines an MQL? What about an SQL?

To address this issue, Bartos recommends aligning your sales and marketing teams. A biweekly, top-of-funnel meeting that discusses what’s moving the pipeline and what’s sitting on the shelf will help grow alignment between the two teams. When everyone is on the same page, it’s easier to define business impact and align with it. 

Darrell Alfonso, director of marketing strategy and operations at Indeed, echoed the importance of gaining alignment on terminology. There can be a lot of ambiguity on what these terms mean:

  • What does a marketing-generated pipeline mean?
  • What about marketing influenced pipeline?
  • Is an MQL really qualified?

Make sure your team has this conversation and comes to a conclusion on what these terms mean.

“Marketing operations is like a pit crew in a race track — it’s a team effort and you can’t win without alignment of sales and marketing.”

Darrell Alfonso


3. Resourcing is a reoccurring challenge

Most of us in the marketing operations space are all too familiar with resourcing — or a lack of it. 

Amy Goldfine explained that most marketing operations teams are under-resourced and just trying to keep the lights on. 

Digging deep into your ROI, implementing a new tool, and capturing detailed data analysis all require time and money. Consequently, these are the two things that marketing operations teams don’t have. 

Goldfine suggests considering the opportunity cost — if you’re a small team, you might not have the bandwidth for this, and that’s okay. 

She continued by echoing the importance of alignment by defining how you are going to measure impact. It’s one thing to agree on what you are going to measure, but it’s a whole different story on how you are going to find that data. 

In other words, don’t underestimate how difficult it may be to collect this data. 

Dig deeper: How marketers can measure success

4. Lack of benchmark data 

Paul Ferrer, senior technical consultant at Perkuto + MERGE, emphasized the importance of benchmark data. 

Once you’ve secured alignment on how to measure impact, you may run into even more issues. This is because once you begin to analyze data, you need a benchmark to compare it to (such as past performance and industry benchmarks). 

It’s crucial to incorporate seasons into your performance — if you’re a clothing brand, your numbers may be skewed in November and December due to holiday shopping, so comparing July and December wouldn’t make the most sense. 

If your numbers are growing, it’s crucial that you ask yourself if those are meaningful numbers. Will those people engage with your content? 

Between cleaning up your data, conveying a story with your data, and gaining alignment on how you measure success, you’re one step closer to proving impact in marketing operations. 

Listen to the full webinar here

To read the full study on advanced Marketo users, download the report here. (Free to download. No personal information is required.)

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

About the author

Lindsay Fay
Lindsay Fay is a Content Manager at MERGE. Detail-oriented wordsmith with a passion for creating memorable content that tells a story. Over 4 years of experience in the digital marketing space, focused on SEO-driven content, social media strategy, and boosting brand awareness. Loves hot yoga, traveling, and spending time with my partner and two French bulldogs.

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