JCL Blog

To Correlate

cor·re·late:  (verb) to have a mutual relationship or connection, in which one thing affects or depends on another.

We live in a time when the relationship between cause and effect in sales and marketing is known more than ever.  We measure the actions, we count the reactions, and we try to do more of the things that get us the biggest reaction.  In sales and marketing, the reaction we want is revenue.  It sounds easy, but the fact is, even with all of this progress, we still waste half of all spending on sales and marketing and we still do not know which half is wasted.

This is the kind of thing I write about from time to time, and in looking back I found this piece about measuring that shares some ideas about targeting, landing, and measuring effectiveness in marketing campaigns.  Many other people write about measuring the effectiveness of sales and marketing so if you are intrigued by this kind of thing, you will have no shortage of material to read.  The balanced scorecard has been around since the 90s and is likely one of the best methodologies for making measurements central to performance management.  With all of these measures, why has the relationship between sales and marketing spending and revenue growth not changed?  

Some would say that the recession has reduced revenues.  I think it is that our capacity to measure has for some time exceeded our interest in measuring.  Finding the truth is hard when one is not looking for it. 

Here are some reasons this may be happening:


  • The Rise of Integrated Marketing: There are many ways to reach customers and marketers are employing them in overlapping ways.  The overlap fogs the cause and effect.
  • Carrot and the Stick:  An increased emphasis on pay for performance compensation structures, and an increased focus on cutting headcount has made the very people measuring effectiveness unwilling participants.  Everyone wants to be part of the good story, and everyone runs from the bad story.
  • Grab and Go Mentality:  Large company marketing departments move people around often, so people grab onto the best metrics, claim responsibility, get promoted and repeatability is never tracked.


Small companies that don’t know how to sell die – so evolution is alive and well in small companies. In large enterprises however, these behaviors are deeply ingrained and not likely to change.