Implementing marketing dashboards and marketing operation functions are giving best-in-class marketers an advantage over other marketers, according to a study by VisionEdge Marketing and ITSMA. This article is copyright 2012 The Best Customer Guide.

The annual study, entitled '2012 Marketing Performance Management (MPM) Survey', captured input from more than four hundred respondents in order to gain insights into how marketers are currently approaching marketing data, analytics, and metrics.

The number of marketers continuing to earn an A grade from the C-Suite for their ability to impact the business and measure their value remains unchanged at 25%, while the number of marketers earning a B declined (from 53% in 2011 to 33% in 2012).

"This significant change can be attributed to a number of factors, such as the increased expectations for improvements as a result of all the recent marketing investments in systems and tools, C-Suite mandates for marketing to better leverage data not just report on activity, and the challenging business climate forcing marketers to be more tactical and less strategic, especially in regards to generating demand," said Laura Patterson, president for VisionEdge Marketing Inc.

The survey has been conducted for more than a decade and those marketers receiving an A are continuing to add capabilities to their skill set. Last year, marketers earning an A were stronger at alignment, accountability, analytics, automation, and assessment than their counterparts.

The results of the 2012 survey suggest that top performers realise they cannot crack the code alone and are therefore forging more formal direct alliances with key stakeholders in sales, finance and IT departments.

"Marketers are caught in a downward spiral of reporting past performance to continually prove the value of marketing," concluded Julie Schwartz, senior vice president for ITSMA. "The results of this survey make it clear that they must take their ability to use marketing data to influence decisions and improve marketing to the next level."