5 Key Traits of High Performing Marketing Organizations with Mathew Sweezey


The difference between high and low performing marketing organizations can be small.

They can read the same books, listen to the same podcast, but have different results.

Mathew Sweezey is the Principal of Marketing Insights at Salesforce.  He can usually be found doing market research, speaking on the road, guesting on a podcast, or writing an article.  He’s spent the last two years researching companies all over the globe in every single vertical to determine the traits of high performing marketing organizations.  

Often marketers intuitively know what to do, but they don’t have concrete data behind their inclinations to make a persuasive case for change. Mathew researched over 7,000 companies over the past two years, and found the 5 key traits to high performing marketing organizations. Listen to Mathew's podcast below.


Trait #1: Executive Buy-In

You need an executive who is bought in on a new way of thinking about marketing. Marketing has traditionally been thought of as a message factory for your customers, but as Mathew would say, “Marketing is the owner and sustainer of experiences, not the producers of messages.”


According to Mathew’s research, the number one key differentiator between low and high performing orgs is shifting the marketing mindset from just “talking at” people to investing in experiences. This helps to turn customers into your best advocates.

But this new way of thinking has to start at the top.


Trait #2: Budget

We all know we need more budget for our marketing. But most businesses don’t understand what their budget should be. What do the budgets of high performing companies look like?

Mathew’s research shows they typically increase by 39% each year. That means the budgets are doubling every 1.8 years at their lowest levels.

So what should your budget be? For companies like Coca-Cola who don’t need to grow, they just need to maintain their business, their budget is usually around 3-6% of their gross revenue. Mid-sized companies who still need to drive growth and maintain existing growth have a budget of around 7-12% of gross revenue.

But for fast, explosive growth companies, they need 13-30% of their projected revenue for their marketing budget. That’s a constantly increasing target.


Trait #3: Technology

On the technology side, high performers on average use 14 tools to create their cohesive customer experience. Under performers use 5.

One huge difference between high and low performers in this space is web personalization. When someone comes to your website, do they seem the same website as the next person? Each person comes to your site for a different reason, so they should have a different experience.

If they’re not, you don’t have content problem. You have a “getting the right content to the right person at the right time” problem.

Trait #4: Agile

50% of high performing marketing orgs are using Agile, while only 3-5% of low performers use this method.

Reviewing processes and checking in with customers is a key part of Agile. Usually marketers internally review their processes. Marketers have traditionally done this because it used to be difficult to determine who interacted with your marketing.

Marketers not usually trained to do this. But Mathew has a simple three step process based on his research to get marketers in the habit of reviewing their work.

1. Call your customers. If you have 27 customers’ numbers, it will take you an hour and a half to dial all of those numbers, because on average 5-7 will engage.

2. Ask them the following questions: What were you looking for in our content? Did it meet your expectations? What other experiences have you had that were better?

3. Take action on your data. Your hour and a half of work just gave you a lot of information to improve your current processes in the customer journey.

Trait #5: Collaboration

As mentioned above, you need an executive who is comfortable with a new idea of marketing. In the past, a lot of VPs of Marketing came from sales. That’s morphed into the role of the CMO or CRO, but all they’ve really known how to do is optimize leads.

What you really need in a marketing executive is someone who understands how to create a consistent experience across the whole life cycle of a customer. Someone who can look at the entire string of experiences. A Chief Experience Officer.

Businesses are run in silos, but to consumers, you are one business. Customers will leave if they don’t see one cohesive experience. The highest performing marketing organizations create that for their customers.

Catch Mathew's entire presentation here:


This post is based on a The Intelligent Market podcast with Mathew Sweezey.
 To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to the Intelligent Marketer Podcast here. If you don’t use iTunes, you can listen to the podcast here.


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