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group of business leaders sit at conference table to discuss best-in-class marketing organizations and the role of value creators

5 Takeaways for Effective Marketing from Marketing Performance Management Research

November 9, 2023

In today’s competitive landscape, it is up to marketers to consistently prove their worth and deliver tangible results. A staggering 78% of CEOs today anticipate their Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) and their respective teams to be the primary drivers of growth within their organizations. 

With an increasing emphasis on linking performance to tangible outcomes and leveraging data to both showcase value and guide strategic choices, it’s encouraging to see a significant rise in the number of ‘Value Creators’. 

In this post, we explore the factors that give rise to the Value Creator persona, and the connection between organizational culture, leadership styles, and the personas of best-in-class marketing organizations. We also discuss the unique performance management capabilities that set Value Creators apart.

The information in this article is derived from the 2021-22 Marketing Performance Management study conducted by VisionEdge Marketing, Inc. (VEM) and the University of Texas, Dallas, Jindal School of Management. It covers into the first chapter, shedding light on the foundational concepts and insights that drive effective marketing performance.

Quick Takeaways

  • Value Creators have increased in representation from 1 in 5 to 1 in 3 best-in-class marketing organizations, reflecting changing business priorities.
  • Success of Value Creators isn’t determined by budget but by the synergy of organizational culture and leadership style.
  • Value Creators thrive most effectively in a Results-driven culture led by Steward leaders.
  • Distinct capabilities of Value Creators include data utilization, performance management, and a strong focus on customer-centricity.
  • Value Creators excel in delivering tangible results, outperforming other personas by 1.6X in generating new business opportunities.

Understanding Best-in-Class Marketing Organizations

Since 2001, VEM has been at the forefront of understanding the dynamics of Marketing functions. Their core objectives are to determine:

  • Why some Marketing organizations are perceived by leadership as excelling
  • The unique characteristics that set these high-performing Marketing functions apart from their peers

Over 16 years, the Marketing Performance Management (MPM) Benchmark Study has employed a grading system to assess how the C-Suite viewed their Marketing organization’s value and contribution. This led to the categorization of Marketing functions into three personas: 

  1. Value Creators. Value Creators focus on a customer-centric approach, leveraging data-driven insights to achieve sustainable and profitable growth. They prioritize customer success and value, aligning their strategies with customer-centric imperatives.
  2. Sales Enablers. Sales Enablers ensure that sales teams have the necessary resources, knowledge, and training to effectively sell products or services. They play a crucial role in bridging the gap between marketing efforts and sales outcomes.
  3. Campaign Producers. Campaign Producers work to promote a product, service, or brand through various marketing channels. They strategize, design, and oversee campaigns to ensure they reach the target audience effectively.

Among these, Value Creators stood out for their strategic focus on growth and data-driven insights.

However, by 2017, a question arose: What enables the Value Creator persona to emerge and thrive? Subsequent studies revealed that factors like budgets, company size, and industry were not the only differentiators. Instead, organizational culture and leadership style seemed to play a pivotal role. 

In collaboration with The University of Texas at Dallas Naveen Jindal School of Management, this research delves deep into these relationships, presenting key findings in three focused chapters:

  1. The Optimal Environment and Core Capabilities of Marketing Organizations that Excel at Performance Management
  2. How Value Creators Benefit from Key Attributes that Distinguish Them
  3. Where all Marketing Functions Need to Improve

Each chapter aims to shed light on the optimal environments, unique attributes, and areas of improvement in the Marketing landscape. This article explores key findings from Chapter 1, uncovering the essence of top performing Marketing organizations.

1. The Shift in Marketing Personas

The composition of best-in-class marketing organizations is undergoing a transformative shift. Once present in 1 out of every 5 organizations, Value Creators now represent 1 in 3. 

This shift is not just a trend. With Sales Enablers seeing a decline and Campaign Producers maintaining their ground, the rise of Value Creators is a testament to the evolving priorities of businesses.

graph shows that there is a significant rise in the number of Value Creators

PwC’s research, coupled with insights from the IBM Institute on Business Value Study, highlights a renewed emphasis on growth and customer-centricity. A staggering 72% of high-performing organizations are now pivoting towards a customer-centric model, underscoring the strategic alignment of Value Creators with contemporary business imperatives.

2. Budget Isn’t Everything

It’s a common misconception that a hefty budget is the primary driver behind the success of Value Creators. In reality, all marketing personas, irrespective of their efficacy, operate within similar budgetary parameters.

graph shows that marketing budgets are consistent among all three personas

What truly differentiates Value Creators from the rest is not monetary resources but the environmental factors they operate within. Organizational culture and leadership style have emerged as statistically significant contributors to success. 

More than their individual influence, it’s their combination of organizational culture and leadership style (OC + LS) that creates a conducive environment for the Value Creators to thrive.

3. The Winning Combination

In analyzing the many combinations of organizational cultures and leadership styles, we realize that Value Creators perform best within a Results-driven culture that’s steered by Steward leaders.

graph shows that Value Creators perform best within a Results-driven culture that's steered by Steward leaders

This combination not only nurtures the initial emergence of Value Creators, but also ensures their sustained success and growth. It’s a harmonious relationship where the environment and the persona feed off each other’s strengths.

4. Distinguishing Capabilities

Value Creators are not just another marketing persona, but rather defined by their distinct capabilities. There are three specific areas that set them head and shoulders above the rest:

  1. Their adept use of data
  2. Unmatched performance management
  3. An unwavering focus on customer-centricity
chart shows areas in which value creators excel at using data

While they are already leading the pack in customer-centric competencies, there’s an acknowledged potential for further enhancement. The 2021 Enterprise Performance Report sheds light on this, identifying key areas of improvement across campaign execution, digital leadership, and effective data utilization, among others.

5. Delivering Tangible Results

What does the C-Suite expect from their Marketing teams? The answer is straightforward: tangible, impactful results. This includes:

  • Generating fresh opportunities
  • Acquiring new customers
  • Bolstering Marketing’s contribution to the business
  • Driving revenue growth

Value Creators are not just meeting these expectations, but surpassing them. They outshine other personas by a factor of 1.6X in generating new business avenues.

graph shows that value creators outshine other personas by a factor of 1.6X in generating new business avenues

Their significant contribution to growth is not just commendable, but also emphasizes the importance of quantifying and communicating the impact of marketing initiatives

6. Data: The Game Changer

In the digital age, data is the lifeblood of any organization. Value Creators recognize this and have tailored their data proficiency into an art form. Their superior capabilities in managing, analyzing, and deriving insights from data are unparalleled.

graph shows that Value Creators have an unmatched ability to analyze and apply data

This expertise translates into tangible improvements in both business and marketing performance. Their data-driven approach is a beacon for other personas, setting benchmarks and defining best practices.

7. A Continuous Quest For Improvement

While Value Creators operate in an environment that champions continuous improvement, their intrinsic drive pushes them to constantly raise the bar.

graph shows that Value Creators improved performance management capabilities

The combination of a Results-oriented culture and Steward leadership provides the perfect backdrop for Value Creators to shine. Their commitment to excellence is clear in their pursuit of better performance metrics and their unwavering focus on delivering value.

Adapt, Evolve, and Strive for Excellence Today with ISBM

Best-in-class marketing organizations partner with Value Creators to lead standards of excellence. The rise in Value Creators is a clear reflection of the evolving priorities and strategies of modern businesses. 

While budgets remain consistent across personas, it’s the unique blend of organizational culture and leadership style that sets Value Creators apart. Their prowess in data management, commitment to customer-centricity, and relentless pursuit of improvement are commendable.

Ready to adapt, evolve, and strive for excellence? ISBM is a nonprofit, global network of business researchers and practitioners. Ask about how an ISBM Membership can help you now or visit ISBM today to learn more!

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