What Is Revenue Marketing?

Time out. I’m blowing my whistle!

Take a seat and grab a cold towel. It’s time to wrap our heads around a new buzzword before mass confusion sets in. You’ve probably heard of revenue, and you’ve probably heard of marketing—but have you ever seen these two words together? Did you know there’s even a summit (yes, “The Revenue Marketing Summit”) dedicated to this glorious pairing? Longtime readers of this blog know my suspicion of jargon, so I’m not just going to start throwing this word at you like yesterday’s macaroni. But, like all good buzzwords, it’s worth dissecting, so let’s explore.

Advocates of revenue marketing describe it as a measurable and repeatable contribution by marketers to the creation of closed business. In other words, actions that create proven revenue out of marketing and are documented so that success can be repeated. They’ll use a bunch of other words to make it sound more important, but that’s what it is in a nutshell. True believers will also take great pains to distinguish this concrete approach to revenue generation from traditional, less verifiable methods of marketing embodied by the “spray and pray” approach or the Wannamaker agnostic attitude (“Half of marketing isn’t working, and we can’t know which half” ).

Another aspect (and implication) of revenue-producing marketing is that sales and marketing departments are aligned, not at odds like the bad old days. Case in point: Two-thirds of salespeople say their marketing department needs improvement. Revenue marketing requires this old mistrust to be retired. It’s not an accident, nor should this come as any surprise to practitioners or followers of marketing automation, as this philosophy is central to its model of marketers catering to buyers throughout their purchasing life cycles. (We certainly talk about sales-marketing alignment and marketing automation at length on this blog.)

Another aspect of revenue marketing is its explicit use as a form of commercial branding. In this case, for The Pedowitz Group, a marketing agency that apparently trademarked the term and created a model in 2011 to illustrate it—the “Revenue Marketing Journey [PDF].”  In fact, the Google search I conducted this morning revealed the first 4 results for “revenue marketing” to go to that agency’s website, including the previous PDF, which happens to be authored by Debbie Qaqish, you guessed it … Chief Revenue Marketing Officer.

revenue marketing SERP screen cap

Finally, one person believes the best way to create revenue is simply to have passion for doing it. It sounds simplistic, but consider what Nicolas Draca, LinkedIn’s head of demand generation, says: A passionate worker is not just a “doer,” but an “owner.” As knowledge workplaces evolve rapidly, owners adapt more readily than doers, which leads to long-term success, i.e., sustainable revenue growth.

Be forewarned. Marketing is here to stay. So is revenue and the demand for accountability. Get ahead of the curve by telling your boss about revenue marketing today. You’ll look smart, and people that care about your company’s future should think highly of you for putting its best interests (namely, efficient, sustainable growth) at heart. After all, when marketing is a revenue-producing machine, everybody wins.

Paul Richlovsky

About Paul Richlovsky

Paul brings a writing and teaching background to his decade-long marketing career. He advises clients on content strategy and editorial direction. He is an enthusiastic marketing automation practitioner and active member of the Cleveland Marketo User Group. He has written/edited multiple marketing guides, including those aimed at healthcare, higher education, financial services, B2C brands and manufacturing audiences. With a BA in English from the College of Wooster, he is also the author of a collection of poetry, "Under the Lunar Neon."He is particularly interested in usability, digital governance, ballroom dancing, bachata, racquet sports, and romping with his niece and nephews.

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  • debbie qaqish says:

    Paul,

    Perhaps I’m biased but LOVE this post! The more we can have this conversation around the new role of marketing to impact revenue, the better! It’s funny but every year for the past 7 years I think this is going to be the year that sales and marketing figure out there is a new formula for revenue production. With conversations like this, maybe the time is now!

    Debbie

  • Hi Paul,

    Really good piece. Hitting right on the key points.

    At the moment the company I’m working for (beachhead.io) is trying to develop a short free course for marketers, helping them better put their work in terms that their CEO and CFO will understand, basically making the jargon easier to understand.

    IT would be great to get your opinion on a draft if you had time?

    Thanks

    Dan

    • Paul Richlovsky Paul Richlovsky says:

      Daniel, thank you for the compliment. I am happy to hear your company is working to decipher marketing jargon for the C-suite! This is a worthy endeavor that should benefit all marketers … and which I endorse 100%. As a writer, I always want to know who my audience is so that I can communicate in their language. Best of luck to you.

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