Taking the Medicine: Setting an Internal Benchmark for Effectiveness

It recently occurred to me that since starting my current role over a year ago I have revamped the entire marketing infrastructure in my organization – from technology, to strategy, to staff, to measurement. Over the next few months I’ll be posting on a lot of those changes – both in terms of why and how we did it – and offer tips for people looking to put the same principles to work in their companies.

Today’s topic is a simple one – establishing an internal benchmark for effectiveness/ performance.

The marketing function in a small-medium sized company like mine can be very different than what people thinking of as “marketing” in a large organization. Traditionally marketers play a sales support role and defer to content experts on the substance of all communications. This makes it very hard to truly measure the success of a group.

So while many of the changes we have made are designed to make it easier to measure success, I knew that there was a lot to learn from our internal clients as well. After all, I see our role in two ways: 1) to help our internal business units meet their goals; and 2) to continually produce and leverage content that builds credibility and awareness among key audiences.

Doing research among researchers is always a dicey proposition. They score lower, they critique questions instead of just answering them, and they prefer closed ended questions to open-ended ones. (And I probably would have been run out of the building if I used something as user friendly as Survey Monkey.)

Using this criteria, I designed a short questionnaire (see below) to deploy internally using a mix of closed and ended questions that were important to me. And what I got back was extremely useful.

With a response rate of over 60% I was able to look at perceptions of our work by company role and get suggestions for how we could do better. And as we continue to review the data and comments, we can put more pieces into place to help meet the needs of our internal clients. Equally important, we have another valuable way to measure our progress at this point next year.

From a research standpoint this was far from a perfect methodology. But that doesn’t make it any less valid or useful in helping me do my job. There are changes we will make in the 2011 version, but I now know how my team is perceived what to do about it.

Armed with this information we made three immediate changes. 1) We met with the team leaders to understand how we could better support their sales efforts and make sure they knew about all of the resources that currently exist. 2) We upped our internal communication of the activities we were undertaking. Using a mix of both electronic and printed we made our activities hard to miss rather than hard to know about. 3) Finally, we are building a plan to engage more people in our content generation initiatives.

The Big Takeaway: Take the initiative to measure your progress in a way that will be useful to you today and build for the future.


Cari said…
Would love to see the questionnaire you used, if you're willing to share.

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