CMSWire Contributor Q&A With Justin Sharaf

CMSWire catches up with CMSWire Contributor Justin Sharaf to get to the heart of marketing measurement ROI.

Human beings have probably been measuring since they were living in caves and their hands, feet and the distance between outstretched arms to assess their world. They knew, even in that distant time, that measurement was critical to managing their lives. 

Today our contributor is here to talk about marketing measurement. About the right way to go about measuring and how various ways of looking at what we measure can add context and meaning to the conclusions we draw — ultimately leading to better marketing decisions and outcomes.

CMSWire Q&A Contributor Justin Sharaf, vice president of marketing operations at Collibra, shared his wisdom on the topic of marketing measurement earlier this year in his article Is It Time to Rethink the Way We Measure B2B Marketing Success? 

We caught up with Justin for a Q&A on the topic. 

Editor’s note: This transcript is edited for clarity.

Getting at the Heart of Marketing Measurement

Dom Nicastro: Hey everybody, Dom Nicastro, managing editor here at CMSWire. We are here with Justin Sharaf. He is VP of marketing operations at Collibra. What’s going on Justin?

Justin Sharaf: Not much. Just enjoying some cold weather here today in Boston. 

Nicastro: Hey, we didn’t even talk about this before. That’s where I am, too. I’m on the North Shore in Swampscott. Where are you?

Sharaf: I’m in Melrose, but grew up in Danvers. So North Shore, through and through.

Nicastro: So for those of you not aware of where this is, we are like literally probably 20 minutes from each other right now.

Sharaf: The Salem witch trials are right smack in the middle of our two locations.

Nicastro: That’s right, a haunted interview here. But we’re here today, Justin, to talk about you being a CMSWire contributor. First of all, thank you very much for giving us your time and imparting your wisdom on the website at And, you know, your piece today talks about really getting at the heart of marketing measurement ROI. And it started with a story from a buddy of yours who was bragging about winning a real estate award, and he didn’t — he had no idea you were gonna get all contexty and marketing numbers on him.

Sharaf: Yeah. And I didn’t want to, you know, blow up his spot. But in the middle of the conversation, I was thinking to myself, wait a minute, this, the way that he measures success and his company measures success is so similar to how a lot of software organizations or B2B software organizations measure success, which I think is not really the correct way to do it. So yeah, it was really like this aha moment, that wow, a lot of people across a lot of different industries are thinking about measurement, and maybe not thinking about it in the best way possible.

Nicastro: Yeah. So he was like, hey, I won an award, I made this many sales, and my rate was this and that, and you’re like, all right, let’s put some context around that. And that’s what sparked this article idea. 

Related Article: 4 Ways Brands Go Wrong With Digital Marketing

Marketing Measurement: Cohort Analysis vs. Time Series Analysis

Sharaf: Yeah, absolutely. You know, I’ve been talking about cohort analysis versus time series analysis for a long time. And it started probably 10 years ago in my career when somebody explained it to me, and I had this aha moment, you know, back then, wow, this is, this is really the way that we need to be measuring success. It’s not what’s happening today, but how we did, you know, a month ago or a quarter ago, how has that progressed over time? And in looking at really the life cycle of a marketing program? And from the start of the program to the end of the program, not looking at how did our performance look for a given month, but how did our performance from a program look over the length of time that those opportunities existed within the organization.

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