Last month, together with the ITSMA and VisionEdge Marketing (VEM), Forrester launched a research study to understand whether business-to-business (B2B) marketers have become more proficient in using marketing metrics and analytics to inform marketing decisions, predict buyer behavior, improve marketing performance, and help their firms better analyze markets and forecast trends.

This is the 12th year that VEM has undertaken this research, and we were pleased to be a part of such a rich legacy. The 2013 MPM Survey captured input from more than 400 respondents, helping us uncover valuable insights on the performance measurement and management challenges marketers face today.

Depending on which side you stand on the executive debate about how to assess the value of marketing to your organization, the findings of this year's study may (or may not) surprise you.

Even though marketing measurement has become more automated and operationally commonplace, B2B marketers continue to struggle to prove marketing's contribution to the business instead of using metrics and performance management to improve it. One of the most telling findings that leads us to this conclusion is the percentage of executive peers reported to use marketing data to make strategic decisions — as revealed by marketers themselves.

Marketers say just 9% of CEOs and 6% of CFOs use marketing data to help set corporate direction. Why not more? Because the vast majority of marketing dashboards — many of which come embedded in marketing automation, website analytics, marketing resource management, or sales automation systems  — report marketing activity rather than business outcomes, which are metrics executives can't use to chart a business strategy.

Instead, marketing measures and analysis should show how marketing moves the needle on topline growth or profitability. To find out more about this year's survey, check out our press release — and Julie's blog post at ITSMA — that shares a few more of the results. 

ITSMA and VEM will preview more survey findings during the ITSMA Marketing Leadership Forum in Napa Valley, California, May 29th to 30th, where the theme will be "Increasing Value, Delivering Results." Unfortunately, I won't be able to join them due to a prior commitment where incoming 2013-14 BMA national chair, Kathy Button Bell, and I will share findings from a separate new study on the "The Expanding Role of Marketing in B2B Organizations."  

But don't fret; I will join ITSMA and VEM on Tuesday, June 4th, 2013, at 11:00 a.m. ET/8:00 a.m. PT for an exclusive webinar, "Measuring and Communicating Marketing Performance" where we will talk about the findings in more depth.

Forrester clients can register for this event by selecting "ITSMA member" on the registration page and by entering the words "COMP-Partner" in the questions/comments field provided. In July, I plan to publish a Forrester Research report including key findings from the MPM Survey data to show B2B CMOs how to help their teams focus on what matter most to the business. We plan to make this research available to ITSMA and VEM clients as well, so please stay tuned to learn how to get a future copy.

In the meantime, I hope you will join us for the webinar in early June to learn more — or contact me via email, Twitter (@lauraramos), or this blog to share your thoughts on the challenges marketers face in measuring and reporting performance in companies that sell through a direct sales force or channel partners.