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  • Debbie Schwake

Marketing and Revenue

Updated: Feb 26

Earn credibility by speaking the language of your fellow executives.

Let's start by talking about a basic marketing fundamental: know your audience.

As marketers, why do we care about personas? That's simple. The goal of personas is to understand individuals' challenges and business goals in specific roles.

Significantly simplified, the business goals of C-suite personas may look like this:


  • Increase shareholder value.

  • Grow revenue and profitability.

  • Company growth

  • Manage costs and risk

  • Innovate

  • Out-perform competitors

  • Enhance collaboration

  • Retain and take care of employees


  • Manage expenses

  • Contain risk

  • Enable profitable growth

  • Plan for the future


  • Oversee day-to-day operations

  • Ensure the safety of team members

  • Direct all operational functions of the business

  • Manage costs and mitigate operational risks


  • Make investments that support the business

  • Manage security and risk

  • Innovate and evolve infrastructure for the future- mobile, social, Cloud

  • Control costs


  • Drive customer intimacy and encourage loyalty/advocacy

  • Measure and prove marketing ROI and contribution to revenue

  • Build alignment with sales

  • Improve marketing credibility for the organization

  • Manage and leverage the growing complexity of changing buyer behaviors, channels, and technologies

From the CEO through the entire C-suite, revenue plays a role in each of their responsibilities. They're either finding ways to make revenue or trying to reduce cost, the combination of which promotes company profitability.

Every executive has accountability that includes revenue. Every. Single. One.

From the seat of the head of marketing, you can typically take one of two positions.

  1. You're either a cost center that consumes resources (cash) and provides measurement in the form of lead generation, demand generation, or brand equity.

  2. The second potential position - and the more desirable - is the head of marketing who measures only revenue contribution. When you can prove the revenue you bring into the company, your budget is less likely to be under fire.

Here's the thing. Marketing funds come straight from operating income, the company's measure of profit. This is the problem, marketers. Your marketing budget begins as the opposite of profit.

For the CMO or Marketing VP, demonstrating revenue can be easy. And every marketer who wants a seat at the executive table - or as I call it, the Revenue Table, must show how their work contributes to, not takes from, revenue.

Here's how you can fix this problem:

When your marketing measurement is revenue, you create a formula to show how the money you spend generates more revenue and, subsequently, more operating income than not spending that money.

It's never a one-for-one in marketing. We know that budget spent has a multiplicative effect on sales, i.e., revenue generated. The target comes off your budget when you make your monthly or quarterly report about the revenue generated vs. money spent.

While every marketer wants more budget, especially if you ask the CEO, I argue even stronger that every CEO wants more revenue and profit. In other words, it's not about protecting your budget. You, the marketing leader, become a credible contributor to the company's ultimate goal - revenue, profit, and shareholder value.

Need some help developing your marketing revenue story? Reach out to me, and I can help you create this plan.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do you effectively measure marketing's contribution to revenue?

Start by adopting a comprehensive approach that aligns marketing activities with financial outcomes. Set clear, measurable goals at the outset of your marketing campaigns, such as increased sales, higher lead conversion rates, or more qualified leads entering the sales funnel. Employing analytics tools, marketing automation, account-based marketing (ABM), and CRM software can help track these metrics, enabling you to correlate specific marketing efforts with spikes in revenue directly. Additionally, adopting attribution modeling can offer insights into which marketing channels and campaigns are most effective in driving sales, allowing for more informed decisions on where to allocate budget for maximum impact on revenue growth.

How can marketing personas improve revenue generation strategies?

Marketing personas are fictional, generalized representations of your ideal customers. They help tailor marketing efforts to meet the specific needs, behaviors, and concerns of different audience segments. By understanding each persona's unique challenges and goals, marketers can create more targeted and effective marketing campaigns - an approach that ensures that the marketing messages resonate more deeply with potential customers, increasing the likelihood of conversion. Furthermore, by focusing on the most lucrative personas, companies can allocate their resources more efficiently, driving up marketing ROI and revenue.

How can smaller businesses with limited budgets apply these principles to see real growth?

Smaller businesses with limited budgets can still apply these revenue-focused marketing principles by adopting a strategic approach to their marketing efforts. Start by clearly understanding your target audience and their purchasing journey. This insight allows for more targeted marketing efforts that speak directly to the needs and interests of potential customers, increasing the effectiveness of each dollar spent. Content marketing, for example, can be cost-effective, providing valuable and relevant content to your audience, driving engagement, and building trust without a large budget. Social media platforms offer another avenue for reaching a broad audience relatively cheaply, especially when using organic engagement tactics or minimal investment in targeted ads. Small businesses can drive revenue growth even with limited marketing budgets by focusing on strategies that provide high ROI, continuously analyzing performance data, and adjusting tactics accordingly.


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