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Content Marketing Metrics for CEOs: How to Build the Dashboard Your CEO Wants to See

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Key takeaways:

  • A shocking 3/4ths of CEOs don’t trust their CMOs – what gives?!
  • The problem is, CMOs don’t always know how to demonstrate the value of what they do.
  • CEOs want to see dialed-in metrics, while it’s a CMO’s first instinct to demonstrate the ROI of their every move.
  • You can improve your CEO relationship by creating a tailored dashboard for content metrics that shows only the most valuable numbers.
  • Content matters, so if your numbers still aren’t where you want them to be, look to your content quality for the answer.

Feel like you’re talking to a brick wall during some (or most) of your CEO meetings?

You’re not alone – there’s a heavy disconnect between 75% of CEOs and CMOs. In fact, up to three-quarters of CEOs say they don’t trust their CMO. Yikes!

Marketing executives have a hard job with the potential to transform an organization, so why the disconnect? Shouldn’t a CEO be on the same page as the CMO more than 25% of the time?

The problem is communication.

CEOs want to see results, and CMOs want to deliver them… but they aren’t always on the same page about what that means.

You can talk about results until the cows come home and still leave your boss unimpressed if you’re not talking about the right results.

Think about it… you’re process-oriented because as a marketer, you’re in charge of the actual transformation of your marketing strategy. Every metric is important to your detail-oriented eye, but your CEO has a lot of tasks on her own plate and needs to see results that are dialed into what she expects to see.

That’s why it’s so important for CEOs to talk to their marketing people about expectations. And if your CEO doesn’t initiate that conversation, then it’s your time to start talking.


Why CEOs and CMOs don’t always click

You could be secretly fuming about that massive ROI dashboard that you put together for the third time in three months, knowing only that your CEO didn’t “get it” and you’re expected to do better next quarter.

"Here’s a secret: Your CEO being unimpressed with your ROI dashboard doesn’t mean your results sucked. It only means that you aren’t presenting the right metrics at the right time."


The 6 metrics your CEO actually wants to see

Here’s a tip: Less is more when it comes to demonstrating marketing success.

Your CEO doesn’t want to see a complicated dashboard with every single metric you’re capable of measuring. Instead, they want to see that you’re dialed into their expectations.

You can create a better content marketing metrics dashboard by narrowing it down to just six valuable metrics that actually show your CEO that you’re doing your job. 


  1. Customer acquisition cost

Your customer acquisition cost (CAC) is the total sales and marketing cost for each customer you acquire. You compute it by adding together all the sales and marketing spend for a time period (usually a quarter), then dividing it by the number of new customers you got in that same period.

For instance, if you spend $50,000 on sales and marketing in three months and acquire 30 new customers that month, your CAC is $1,666.

Generally speaking, a lower CAC is better. That being said, you can justify a higher CAC if your customers also have a high lifetime value (LTV). That means longer relationships with customers who keep coming back to spend more.


  1. Marketing percentage of customer acquisition cost

You can find your marketing percentage of customer acquisition cost (M%-CAC) by taking all the marketing costs for a quarter and then dividing it by the sales and marketing costs for the same quarter.

Let’s say you spent $50,000 on sales and marketing that quarter, but $30,000 of it was marketing. That’s 60%.

Your ideal M%-CAC depends on how much you rely on marketing vs. how much you rely on sales. Generally, 60% to 90% means you’re doing most of the work through marketing, though it could also mean your sales guys are underperforming.


  1. Customer lifetime value to CAC

Customer lifetime value to CAC (LTV:CAC) can be calculated by taking one customer’s annual spending, then adjusting for your gross margin and dividing by the annual cancellation rate. Then, you divide the LTV by the CAC to get the ratio.

You generally want a higher LTV:CAC ratio because that means your sales and marketing ROI is better. A ratio of 4:1 is great, 3:1 is pretty good, and 1:1 means you’re losing money.


  1. Time to pay back CAC

You can calculate the time to pay back CAC by taking the CAC and dividing by the average customers are spending per month.

If it takes you an average of 9 to 18 months to get back your CAC, that’s a decent benchmark. On the other hand, taking longer than 18 months is too long. If you’re getting your CAC back within six months or less, you might not be investing enough in sales and marketing.


  1. Marketing-originated customer percentage

Your marketing originated customer percentage is the percentage of all customers you signed up in a quarter who started with a marketing lead.

You want to aim for 40% to 80% marketing-originated leads as a benchmark here. If you can do higher, that’s awesome! If you’re doing lower, then you’re probably relying on sales a little heavily.


  1. Marketing-influenced customer percentage

The marketing-influenced customer percentage is similar to the marketing-originated percentage, but not the same. Instead of measuring the percentage of customers who started with a marketing lead, you’re measuring the percentage of customers who had any interaction with your marketing funnel.

Here, you should aim for 70% or higher. That’s a good indicator that your marketing team is doing its job and influencing a lot of relationships.


How to get the results you (and your CEO) want to see

Got your dashboard all put together, but worried your CEO still won’t like what they see?

No worries – you can fix a lot with better content. After all, content is the foundation of your marketing strategy.

Now’s the time to enlist the help of the experts. At ContentBacon, our team of kickass writers, editors, and strategists comes together to create powerful storytelling content that exemplifies your brand and more importantly, performs the way you want it to.

We’ll even help you figure out where you’re going wrong (so we can do it better). Kick your content strategy into gear by getting your FREE inbound marketing assessment, no strings attached! 

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