RPM, Revenue Performance Management: Will the Term Stick? By Lauren Carlson

Earlier on this blog I referenced an article by Steve Woods  from Eloqua on RPM, Revenue Performance Management. RPM is a relatively new term in the area of demand marketing optimization. Will it stick? As I was writing earlier, there seem to be so many terms already that describe B2B marketing automation. Why another one?

Lauren Carlson wrote a post on that topic is a good read.

So will it stick?

I like of course the idea of scientific, analytics driven, revenue optimization.

But I fear that the term is at risk because it is so broad.

Not marketing optimization

not customer optimization

but total revenue optimization.

So everybody is responsible for RPM, and if everybody is responsible the danger is that nobody takes responsibility.


Scoring the customer experience: By Bob Thompson, CustomerThink

Following the recent series on articles for ROI measurement and optimization, I was struck by Bob Thompson’s advice on measuring the customer experience.

To quote from Bob’s writing:

With the classic “funnel” thinking, only a small fraction of those entering the top of the funnel are likely to become customers. But ALL prospects will form an impression! Why not take the opportunity to turn everyone into an advocate for your business, even if they are not the right fit at this point in time?

Strictly speaking, this isn’t counter to traditional ROI measurement and optimization. After all,ROI does in theory include all future long term effects that an initiative should be credited with.

But in practice, probably few ROI analysis projects ever get as far as to correctly assess the value of non-buyers who however influence future buyers.

So, therefore I find Bob’s recommendation thought provoking to take the perspective of the prospect for a change and score and optimize their experience.


By the way, Bob Thompson, is CEO of CustomerThink, a research and publishing firm focused on customer-centric business management. He is also Founder/Editor-in-Chief of CustomerThink.com, the community dedicated to customer-centric business. Recently CustomerThink.com has had many offshoots such as DigitalMarketingOne.com and SocialBusinessOne.com

Guiding Digital Marketing Spend: by Tom Manning, Ninah Consulting

Our mini series at Digital Marketing One on marketing performance measurement and accountability continues with a contribution by Tom Manning on management techniques.

Very noteworthy is the following take on measuring returns with new media:

“progressive marketers rely on ROI directed funding for traditional channels and media, and they rely on return on objectives (ROO) for non-traditional, “new territory” funding (ex. parity in search ad exposure)”, from Tom Manning’s article

I think what we have here is another reminder that returns in the short term aren’t always financial but can be strategic. Eventually, though the financial returns have to start shaping up (assuming a for-profit business) so that the initiative can be called successful.


Tom is a partner with Ninah Consulting, who specialize in quantifying and helping increase marketing effectiveness and profitable business growth. They do this with analytical rigor and by producing models that lead to actionable recommendations.

This concludes our mini series on accountability and performance measurement from following authors:


What’s the ROI on ROI Measurement? – by Jim Lenskold

Something rarely seen appears in Jim’s article on five key principles for improving marketing ROI within the Digital Marketing One series for CMOs.

Namely, an ROI calculator for ROI measurement. Click the image and see the “Measurement ROI” tab on this calculator by the Lenskold Group.

ROI calculator for ROI measurement

I have been loving how the authors in our Digital Marketing One series have packed pearls of wisdom from long years of front lines experience into tight paragraphs. Almost taking for granted the hard work that has to happen in order to follow the best practice recommendation.

Nothing comes easy.

Two gems in Jim’s article I’d like to quote. Here comes the first:

“measurements must be prioritized based on the expected improvement to effectiveness, the strategic benefit of gaining insights that can influence many marketing initiatives, and the cost.”

In other words a metrics based approach to metrics!

Here one more gem:

“Key measurements to improve digital marketing include: … Capturing incremental sales conversions and customer value to optimize the digital marketing spend. …”

Advice like this tends to be written out in long, long blog posts or entire books when us web analytics people try to write about it.

Notice the little word “incremental”. Don’t care whether you use first touch or last touch or hold out groups. But the key to useful measurement is to get to that incremental contribution. Otherwise we are just wasting time on numbers games.

Easier said than done, of course.

So Jim article’s hsa advice on five best practices.

Jim is the author of Marketing ROI and an international speaker on the topic. At his firm, Lenskold Group,  his team produces and publishes many articles and research on the topics of marketing ROI, marketing strategies and business growth strategies.


Marketing ROI


See Lenksold.com for additional free ROI measurement resources.

Fascinating New Marketing Automation Technology: Whatsnexx’s Customer State Marketing

For friends of analytics and interactive marketing, it is always a delight to find new technology vendors that take a fresh look at solving the problems in the market.

So, I was fascinated to learn about Whatsnexx’ and their paradigm for marketing automation: Customer State Marketing.

You will probably say that the idea of treating customers in different situations/states with different next best actions is common to all campaign management and marketing automation solutions.


But the degree to which Whatsnexx elevated “Customer State” to the central paradigm is unique, I believe. And, it is one of those mental images that immediately clicks!

So, I was curious to ask Jacques Spilka from Whatsnexx’  a few questions about Customer State Marketing and their approach to marketing automation.

Did Whatsnexx’ define the term Customer State Marketing?

Jacques: Customer State Marketing is a paradigm that we have coined, and our graphic interface and approach are patented. “State” is the key differentiator between what we do and what B2C MA solution providers offer.

Did you build Whatsnexx more for certain industries than others (e.g. B2B, B2C, etc)?

Jacques: No. Whatsnexx grew out of a need to tie various applications together without the need to create a centralized database first. One of the problems that we faced at Komunik, an email marketing service provider, was the need to build a synchronization bridge with the various databases that contained the data the client required to send 1-to-1 communications. Another problem was that whenever we wanted to do various trigger-based campaigns, we always had delays imposed by the I.T. department’s existing backlog. We set out to resolve both of these problems by designing an application that allows the marketer to define their rule set (e.g. when this happens then take these actions) without regards as to where the data resides, and without having to involve I.T. to codify the rules in the local or target application.

How does the paradigm extend to the next level of detail, e.g. a regular customer browses product X on the website but doesn’t purchase it. If company sells 20 different products will they have to build 20 states to do remarketing campaigns relevant to each abandoned product? (i assume not)

Jacques: The marketer defines the granularity of the program they are designing. We have one customer who allows their members to download various white papers. Each white paper can have up to 50 “topic” tags associated with it. Currently the marketer has defined two different scenarios as they are only interested in doing an upsell for two different topics. Ultimately they could define 50 scenarios, one for each topic tag. The scenarios work as follows: each time a member downloads a white paper (a download “event”) the scenario tests to see if the tags contain the upsell topic. If so then an upsell email is sent (i.e. the action) to the member. There is then a 7 day waiting period where no more emails for that specific topic are sent (i.e. the member is in a Wait state). After the 7 days are up the member is returned to a Solicitable state.

If I may, here is a more complete explanation:

A subject ecosystem can consist of multiple scenarios. Each scenario can address a different aspect of the marketing program (e.g. acquisition, retention, cross-sell…). A scenario can contain multiple states. A subject (e.g. a client) is always in one state in each scenario, though not necessarily the same state in every scenario. This allows the marketer to create the granularity they need to enact their marketing programs. You could view the scenario states as sub-states. In the example above, a member could be in a solicitable state in one scenario (e.g. Topic 1) and be in a wait state in another scenario (e.g. Topic 2).

How does Whatsnexx connect to customers’ transactions and other behavioral data?

Jacques: Whatsnexx receives events from other systems in the form of simple XML tickets that contain the attributes (i.e. data) required to run the scenario. For example, a newsletter sign-up form would provide Whatsnexx an XML ticket that contains an email, first name, and last name field. If a customer purchases an item then the XML ticket could contain the item number, the quantity and the transaction value. The only constraint on events is the ability to detect them.

The key to this approach is to identify all of the detectable events that the marketer wishes to respond to. They then have the relevant systems create an XML ticket whenever one of these events occurs, regardless of the subject’s current state. Whatsnexx receives the event and then implements the marketers rule set according to the subject’s current state in the ecosystem.

How does Whatsnexx connect to executing marketing messages? e.g. does it spit out targeting lists?

Jacques: Whatsnexx executes actions through infogates (i.e. connectors) that conform to the target system’s API. The only constraint on actions is the targets systems API. In some cases, such as sending print messages where minimum run sizes are desired, it may be preferable to accumulate the action requests in a queue that the target system picks up on a periodic basis. The same applies if the target system is behind a firewall. In that case, the action requests can be placed on an FTP server that the target system can query on a scheduled basis.

Software or cloud based?

Whatsnexx is entirely cloud-based. There are two components to Whatsnexx: Whatsnexx Studio, the design tool that you saw in the how-to videos; Whatsnexx Gateway, the execution tool that works in the cloud.

Studio is free to download and runs locally on a Windows platform. Studio can be used to brainstorm, model scenarios and define state workflows.

Gateway is available to subscribers who can publish the ecosystems they build with Studio for execution on the Microsoft Azure cloud.


For more videos from Whatsnexx, see their resources page.


5 Steps for better Marketing Accountability – from Laura Patterson, VisionEdge Marketing

Marketing budgets have a chance to grow in 2011, writes Laura Patterson in her article in our Digital Marketing One series for the CMO.

But – not  to steal Laura’s punchline – but there is a catch:


I.e. marketers’ ability to prove the returns on the moneys spent.

So, what is meant by accountability?

Laura’s article is a great to read executive summary on that and includes 5 recommendations for getting it right.

Something that I liked especially well in her article is that Laura doesn’t equate accountability with just short term financial ROI. Instead, read how she emphasizes accountability “to the financial and strategic initiatives of the organization”.

Very well taken even if the strategic initiatives must of course in the long term also lead to financial ROI, unless we are talking about a socially oriented organization.

Laura’s article kicks of a mini series on articles about accountability in digital marketing. Her company, VisionEdge Marketing, specializes in enabling organizations to leverage data and analytics towards accountability and operations, and better marketing performance. You may have seen Laura speak at various conferences. She is also the author of three books including Metrics in Action: Creating a Performance Driven Marketing Organization (Racom, 29).

(click to see on Amazon)

See also VisionEdgeMarketing.com for free resources.

Digital Marketing Channels vs. Techniques

Naras Eechambadi’s article with a state of the art description of customer marketing (see previous post) completed a series of executive summaries on digital marketing techniques for the CMO:

And earlier we had gone through a series of executive summaries on digital marketing channels:

Next up is going to be a series on marketing accountability and optimization with digital marketing.


Maximizing Long-term Customer Value: By Naras Eechambadi of Quaero / CSG

After three posts on insights for the considered purchases sector, it is fun now to see now how different the discussion is for customer marketing amd B2C. For that, just tune into Naras Eechambadi’s’ article which is next in our Digital Marketing One series for CMOs.

It strikes you that the discussion within B2B (lead management) is all about nurturing clients in leading up to a sale. The discussion in customer marketing is about the long term relationship across many transactions and towards increasing customer value over time.

Though both camps might consider analytics driven marketing “the central hub”.

Read Naras’ article carefully though.

I am amazed how self-evidently Naras includes the ways in which customer marketing has adapted to the 2010s in his writing.

“The first step to decide whether to increase investment in your customer marketing is to measure the value of your customer base and to understand the elements that drive the value. Value can be defined in different ways in different businesses—it could be a revenue or sales measure, a profit or contribution measure or even loyalty or advocacy.”, from Naras’ article.

Hey, Naras says, it is 2011 and no longer do we need to explain nor go on and on that advocacy via social media could influence whether a client should be considered high value to the company or not.

Naras pairs these up with other statements that he takes for granted as a seasoned customer marketer but that make just about any web analyst look like an amateur and makes web analytics software look like a toy.

“Next, segment your customers based on current value as well as potential future value.

“The best way to measure the return and to conclusively prove the effectiveness of marketing is by holding out a sample (control group) of customers […] The deviation in values over time [between test vs control group], aggregated across the entire customer base, gives you a measure of the value created by customer marketing.”

Naras is of course not just “somebody” writing about customer marketing but has deep roots in the industry. He is the General Manager of Quaero, a CSG solution. Quaero (a Unica partner of many years) delivers multi-channel marketing solutions that help companies build long-lasting customer relationships and maximize return on investment. Naras is also the author of High Performance Marketing: Bringing Method to the Madness of Marketing (Kaplan Professional Press, 25).

Check out his contribution to the article series for digital CMOs and chime in with your own comments.

Revenue Performance Management – by Steve Woods, Eloqua

Continuing our article series for the CMO from Digital Marketing One, next is Eloqua’s Steve Woods on Revenue Performance Management (RPM).

“RPM is a systematic approach to identifying the drivers and impediments to revenue, rigorously measuring them, and then pulling the economic levers that will optimize top-line growth. Really what RPM provides is an analysis framework that allows businesses to make the right investment decisions across the entire marketing and sales spectrum.” (from Steve’s article.)

Wow, what’s not to like here.

First, analysis is at the heart of managing revenue performance in Steve’s vision. I like how he stresses dashboarding, benchmarking, and optimization as key elements in his article.

But in addition, the RPM acronym also reminds you of a car engine’s revolutions per minute. What better symbol for a high octane demand (lead) generation marketing engine!

Steve is Eloqua’s chief technology officer and cofounded the company in 1999. He is responsible for defining the technology vision at the core of Eloqua’s solutions. Earlier, he worked in corporate strategy at Bain & Company and engineering at Celestic

For more info on RPM see the cool resources published by Eloqua on their site.

Lead generation: Digital strategies – by Robert Lesser

Robert Lesser’s article in the DigitalMarketingOne series is stepping back from lead management and providing a great primer on lead generation in general.

Anyone in the trenches with lead gen will know just how much hard work it is. So it is very wise to approach it systematically.

Otherwise, despite all that effort, Sales and Marketing may find themselves playing the blame game, for example, because they hadn’t agreed to the definition of a valid lead before starting.

Robert was a featured speaker in the recent DigitalMarketingOne virtual summit for B2B digital marketing. Robert’s firm, Direct Impact Marketing, provides on-demand inside sales, telesales enablement tools and direct marketing services. Robert built his experience in a number of marketing positions including Dell, IBM, and others.

For more information, visit the Acquiring Minds Blog, or contact Robert Lesser on Twitter or LinkedIn.