For decades, marketers have measured success differently than the rest of the organization. We raise awareness, increase share of voice, generate impressions, deliver MQLs to sales.
Meanwhile, the success of the business itself is measured in….well, money. Revenue. Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT).
But this disparity is changing as marketers are becoming more data-driven — and being increasingly accountable for their direct contribution to revenue. It’s not enough to show a return on investment; it’s not enough for marketing to not be a cost center. The marketing department needs to be a powerful engine for generating revenue.
Our latest episode of Break Free features a marketer who is exceptional at generating value for her company, and proving that value to the bottom line. Julie Brown, Institutional Market Leader at Johnson Controls, is using data to flip marketing upside down. Instead of creating demand for the company’s products, she’s measuring the existing demand in her target audiences. Then she uses that data to advise the company on how to develop products that best suit their audiences’ needs.
With the right reporting in place, Julie’s team is able to show exactly how much its efforts are contributing to Johnson Controls’ EBIT.
This was a fascinating interview about a side of marketing you don’t hear much about, and I’m grateful that Julie shared her expertise with me. And with all of you, of course.
You can watch the video and check out the podcast version below, or scroll down for some highlights.
B2B Marketing Interview with Julie Brown
:58 Institutional marketing defined
1:57 Upstream marketing — where to play and how to win
5:08 Three big challenges in institutional marketing
7:18 Marketing as a revenue center
8:39 How do we get to the ‘why?’
10:40 Staying centered on the customer
13:12 The next evolution of marketing
17:21 Can marketers predict revenue with certainty?
20:03 How leaders can reorganize teams around revenue
20:45 The revenue-focused marketing tech stack
22:04 Forming a “Voltron of Meeting Customer Needs”
24:00 Meeting the needs of the new B2B buying committee
So we were talking about upstream marketing. Can you explain that term for our listeners and what exactly that entails for your day-to-day?
When we think of marketing at Johnson Controls, there’s the old — I believe it goes back to Procter & Gamble — the concept of where to play and how to win.
So upstream marketing is the “where to play.” Understanding customer needs, segmentation, targeting, product innovation. Once you’ve defined a new offering, then the “how to win” is how you connect with sales, whether you do account-based marketing, or you do content, lead generation.
All of that is: Now I’ve got something, how do I get so the market is aware and purchases it or goes through their buying process?
So this is research to drive the right audience for our product or the right product for an audience, or a little bit of both?
A little bit of both. It really starts with understanding what customer needs are, where are their pain points, and looking at what we do. And are there new and creative ways that we can help address those needs and pain points?
It feels like in those verticals, you’re in education and health care. You’re going to have some pretty unique challenges to doing that research and to even executing on the marketing. What are you encountering?
I’d say there’s three big challenges that we’re facing. One, the markets themselves are really in a state of flux. Healthcare continues to evolve and adjust, based on the outcomes for the Affordable Care Act, ObamaCare.
We’re watching demographic changes, so the youngest millennials might be a senior in college. So that’s changing the demographics of who’s in college, they’re establishing families and so that’s creating growth in K through 12.
And you’ve got really persistent hard problems 工作职能邮件数据库around security and active shooter that everyone’s trying to figure out around a very, very hard problem. So that would be the first one.
Probably not surprising to a lot of companies is how we use data and what the data is and how you align that around customer needs. There are lots of great opportunities, but some days, you work hard on what you’ve got and see how you can get it to come farther.
And then the last one is this evolution of marketing from being something that participates as a function in a business to actually being a measured driver of growth that the business can count on.
So, we look at our programs very much from a financial standpoint. So it’s not good enough to just have ROI. I’ve got a couple of programs where we’re looking for the EBIT, the actual earnings before interest and taxes that the program is going to contribute.
It’s not just how much revenue we track within marketing, things like clicks and opens and stuff like that, but the respect that comes