Delivering Measureable Results at Cleveland Clinic

April 9, 2012

By Ken Beaulieu

I had an interesting conversation about measurement with Paul Matsen, chief marketing officer at Cleveland Clinic, a nonprofit academic medical center. He is responsible for all marketing and communications at the highly rated center, including public relations. Each year, Paul’s team creates 35 to 40 individual marketing plans for the organization’s various hospitals and service lines. It’s a challenging undertaking, and no plan sees the light of day without a robust set of metrics behind it.

In fact, in Paul’s eyes, a marketing plan without clear goals and metrics is about as valuable as a website without content. It’s a message he stresses internally with his staff and externally with his advertising agencies and communications partners. “The best way for CMOs to demonstrate our value to our organization is to be open and transparent, to measure the impact of what we’re doing,” Paul pointed out. “Effective measurement can be an incredibly powerful marketing tool.”

That message, however, continues to fall on deaf ears throughout the industry. A study by the Columbia Business School Center on Global Brand Leadership and the New York Marketing Association found that 57 percent of CMOs and other marketing executives surveyed don’t establish their budgets according to ROI measures. Sixty-eight percent of respondents said they base their budget decisions on historical spending levels, and 28 percent go with gut instinct. Moreover, more than half of respondents didn’t include any financial outcome when defining marketing ROI.

Another equally disturbing study, from Pardot, a cloud marketing automation software provider, found that nearly 37 percent of B2B marketers  those tasked with creating and implementing effect lead management programs  don’t track revenue generated by their campaigns. Why? Nearly 40 percent said they lack the time and resources to create and analyze reports. The survey also found that 20 percent of respondents don’t measure marketing-sourced leads at all, 30 percent are not tracking advanced metrics such as marketing-sourced opportunities, and 35 percent are not using lead nurturing for less qualified leads.

Studies like these leave Paul Matsen dumbfounded, especially in today’s bottom-line driven environment. “I think marketing people need to take responsibility for demonstrating the value of our function,” he said. “There are lots of tools to do that. And that’s what I stress to my team: ‘Let’s use all the tools we have to measure success.’”

For example, in addition to tracking national/local awareness and preference, Paul’s team has a robust scorecard for digital that includes unique visits, online appointment requests, Web requests, and Web satisfaction. For its search engine marketing program, the team tracks the total number of leads generated, cost per lead, and return on investment. Standard metrics for media activity include the number of placements, their estimated value, and the tone — that is, whether the placements were positive or negative.

“Having strong metrics is so important,” said Paul, noting that his team also uses different tools to measure social media engagement relative to competitors’. “We don’t rely solely on trying to measure return on investment, and we don’t excuse ourselves from measurement if we can’t perfectly measure ROI. You start with what you can measure, then work your way toward a more complete measurement. And if you can get all the way to ROI, outstanding.”

If you want to learn more about Paul’s use of data to drive strategic marketing decisions at Cleveland Clinic, be sure to register for the 2012 ANA Advertising Financial Management Conference May 6-9 in Boca Raton, Fla. He is one of several featured speakers, a list that includes Hans Melotte, vice president and chief procurement officer at Johnson & Johnson, and Sir Martin Sorrell, chief executive officer at WPP.

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