Counting Stars

The challenges of marketing metrics

Welcome to The Beat by Rockstar CMO. I’m Ian Truscott, a CMO, trusted advisor, strategy consultant and Chief Bottle Washer at Rockstar CMO. In this newsletter, I’d like to share a mix of what’s caught my eye from our community, our podcast and our street knowledge blog.


This last week, we had a bit of a focus on marketing measurement here at Rockstar CMO. Hence, the inspiration for the subject line this week comes from OneRepublic and their tune - Counting Stars.

It started with a former boss (Grant Johnson) reaching out, sharing a project that he is working on called The Performance Marketing Index, asking for feedback.

As Grant says in his post introducing his model:

Most of my peers agree: B2B Marketing is broken. While we have more technology, more data, more processes and more insights than ever before, we are always defending our decisions, and endlessly proving the value of marketing. 

As you might have heard this week on the podcast, it got my fellow podcast co-conspirator Jeff Clark and me back on this most evergreen of evergreen topics.

If you follow the current marketing zeitgeist, there is general recognition that we need to move away from having the value of marketing tied so deeply to the elusive and time-consuming search for attribution. The value of marketing is more than the vanity metrics and MQLs.

However, the challenge is that attribution is a simple concept that we can all understand, with its line from marketing to revenue, the ideal of knowing which marketing or sales motion created an opportunity. But of course, much of what influences an opportunity happens in the dark.

On the podcast, I shared a recent experience in which I heard about a reporting tool on a podcast. The host made a throwaway comment about what he uses (not an ad), and I Googled it and signed up for a trial.

Where would this company’s marketers attribute this lead? Well, they had no visibility of the podcast, so attribution goes to Google.

Similarly, with MQLs, we can all draw a sales funnel. It’s an attractive model, that of course our marketing technology loves. But, it doesn’t recognize the complexity of the buying group (a topic Forrester often dives into).

I am working with a startup, and I am in the fortunate position of doing the foundational work of setting up a marketing function, alongside their CRO. As you can imagine we are doing all the things, defining the sales process, funnel, goals, and metrics and understanding what is important to report to the leadership team and what will make a difference.

So, this discussion and the work that Grant is doing is really interesting. But, before we dive into this, Jeff and I took a step back and thought about the challenges that marketers face here and came up with our top 5, and I think these will look familiar to you:

  • Too much data, not enough analysis

  • Too much time spent on attribution/metrics

  • Little understanding of the breadth and complexity of marketing’s impact

  • Execs are often single-minded, e.g., focused on pipeline, leads, SEO ranking

  • Difficult to gain agreement with senior execs on what metrics matter

You can listen to our thoughts on each of these on the podcast, and we are sticking with this topic next week too. I’m really interested in what you think, so please get in touch by replying to this email and below, I have included links to some of the work I’ve referenced here.

Enjoy your week!



Ian Truscott | Chief Bottle Washer Rockstar CMO

Street Knowledge

On the podcast this week

Get your Monday Marketing Mojo Working

This Monday, we share OneRepublic saying “No more countin' dollars, we'll be countin' stars”. I am not sure if “stars” is a recognised marketing metric, but better than just counting the dollars.