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When Marketers Hide Behind Vanity Metrics

Last week I visited with a Hubspot Users Group in Denver for the first time and was looking forward to the presentation on the topic of marketing analytics and campaign performance.

It was my first time visiting with the group, and I was looking forward to meeting everyone. There was a decent turnout of about 30 very friendly people, and free food and drinks were being served, so I really had no excuses to complain about anything. But after the presentation was over, I was stunned. The word “revenue” or any references to real business outcomes were never mentioned. Not even once!

Now I understand that there are KPIs related to different types of marketing campaigns, like if you’re doing an email campaign then you want to know about % of people who open your email, % of people of click, etc – and similarly if you’re doing a landing page optimization campaign then there are KPIs related to optimizing that.

But when all is said and done, and the campaigns are optimized are we not looking for real business outcomes?

When I asked the group how they report on business outcomes, the consensus from the group that I got was that Hubspot doesn’t provide reporting to that level, and instead to rely on the CRM like Salesforce.com to derive those metrics. Essentially they throw their hands up and say “it’s not my problem”: I got you the leads, now it’s up to Sales to deliver. Then someone who actually does have Salesforce.com said that they track which leads came from Hubspot by Lead Source and then report on Closed Won opps by Lead Source to get to the “marketing contribution” and overall ROI.

All of this was very depressing to hear because it felt like a giant missed opportunity.

As someone who spends a lot of time thinking about “Marketing ROI” and consumes a lot literature on the topic from other marketing automation providers like Marketo and Eloqua, I couldn’t believe that here was a massive marketing ecosystem and it’s not concerned with business, and instead it’s stuck on vanity metrics like # of Views, Opens and Clicks.

Is there really no easy way to do true revenue attribution by source, campaign, and content in Hubspot? Maybe my user group was simply unaware of existing capabilities?

A simple Google search revealed that there is in fact a way to do this in Hubspot: How to Use Hubspot to Report on Revenue.

So if there is at least one way to do it, why was my group so clueless, and even disinterested in the topic?

It’s worth mentioning that a lot of the people in the room were from agencies, which I think made it even more disappointing because I would expect consultants to be generally more knowledgeable about both the product and more sophisticated in it’s application.

That means that their clients are not asking them for it.

But how long before they do?

The whole evening felt like a giant missed opportunity because Hubspot, unlike a lot of other marketing automation vendors, truly serves as the marketing nerve center for marketing campaigns and content. Being able to create campaigns and evaluate combinations of audience, content and channel through the lead’s lifecycle journey to revenue can provide very valuable insight into positioning, customer development, and channel effectiveness, not to mention true campaign ROI. That’s the stuff of business glory!

Can someone point me to people who are leveraging Hubspot to it’s full potential?

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