Measuring Marketing Return on Investment (ROI) in 5 Easy Steps

Posted by Shannon Fuldauer on May 14, 2013 7:13:00 AM

In the early days of website analytics, businesses measured page hits, site visits and unique visitors. And while most companies still do, these basic metrics fail to show how inbound marketing contributes to the organization’s bottom line. Because marketers are now being held accountable for proving return on investment (ROI) for their efforts, new ways to reach data-driven decisions must be developed. However, significant gaps between desire and execution still exist.

The 2012 BRITE-NYAMA Marketing in Transition Study revealed several common challenges marketers face in the collection of and reporting on the data necessary to effectively prove ROI within their organizations. According to the study, 51 percent of survey participants stated a lack of sharing customer data within their organizations as a barrier to effectively measuring their marketing ROI. About 65 percent of respondents said comparing the effectiveness of marketing across different digital media is a “major challenge" for their businesses. To help you get started measuring your marketing efforts, here are five tips:

Step 1: Define What Marketing ROI Means for Your Organization

Before you can effectively measure success, you must define what your key performance metrics will be, and agree upon the definition of “success.” The definition of success is not only unique to an organization, but often to each stakeholder, as well. For example, content marketing managers will be interested in the number of blog posts and downloads published, while your CMO will be interested in cost-per-lead and number of new leads at each phase of the sales funnel. For examples of additional digital marketing KPIs, check out John McTigue’s blog post, Top 10 Inbound Marketing KPIs – The View From the Top.

Step 2: Set Realistic and Measurable Goals

Once your KPIs are defined and agreed upon, the next step is to establish appropriate metrics. This may be a bit tricky, especially when you are first starting out. Chances are good you will need to make adjustments to your goals as you dig deeper into the data over time. Whether your goals were too aggressive or too conservative, be willing to adjust accordingly. At this point, you may also consider establishing guidelines for how the data will be presented. As a general rule, keep things simple. At a quick glance, your C-level executives should be able to tell if the goal was met or not. If using a spreadsheet, consider a simple color coding system—perhaps green if the goal was met and red if it was missed.

Step 3: Gather the Right Data Needed

As previously mentioned, one of the primary concerns of marketers who participated in the study was the lack of sharing customer data within their organizations. If you are like most organizations and data is collected and managed in multiple databases, establish a system for collecting the data needed from each department. First and foremost, work with your sales and IT departments to create a closed-loop process through your marketing automation platform. This integration will provide you with timely feedback from sales on the impact of your various activities in driving revenue.  

Step 4: Monitor Your Goals Frequently

Don’t wait until the end of the month to evaluate your performance. Rather, monitor your KPIs on a weekly, if not daily, basis. For example, at Kuno, if we notice our number of new leads is below target at any point during the month, we have a plan in place to publish and promote new content (among other tactics).

Step 5: Use Your Data to Make Better Decisions

The days of “this just feels right” are long gone and collecting simple data just doesn’t cut it. Successful marketers understand the importance of using data to make decisions and justify budget requests to their bosses.

Please share your tips for showing marketing success in the comments section below!


Shannon Fuldauer, a senior consultant at Kuno Creative, has a B2B and B2C eCommerce Marketing background including roles as Vice President of Marketing & Sales Support, and subsequently Vice President of Public Relations & SEO Services, for CareerBoard.com. She has expertise in digital marketing and advanced email communications.


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Topics: shannon fuldauer, roi, return on investment, analytics, kuno creative

Building A Winning Lead Nurturing Team with Clients

Posted by Shannon Fuldauer on Mar 12, 2013 7:48:00 AM

Lead nurturing has probably become a major part of the services you offer your clients. Lead nurturing allows marketers to maintain communication with leads who are not yet ready to buy, and your clients understand that. What they may not understand, though, is executing a successful lead nurturing strategy often requires the involvement of several departments within an organization, not just marketing. 

Before embarking on your lead nurturing journey with your clients, here are a few people you may want to consider including on the lead nurturing team.

Sales Managers

Don’t wait until you have a list of leads to engage sales managers in the process — aligning sales and marketing early on is essential. Never assume marketing and sales define qualified leads in the same way—in fact, their definitions are often very different. It is also important to agree at what point a lead will be handed off to sales and the process for getting the leads into the hands of the right sales representatives. Many marketing automation systems, such as HubSpot and Marketo, have built-in lead scoring functionality. Points are assigned to a lead based on a variety of factors, like pages visited, content consumed, job title, company size, etc. Once a lead’s score reaches a defined threshold, it is sent sales.

Sales Representatives

Lead nurturing will most likely be a new concept for your sales team. In my experience, most sales reps are accustomed to cold calling leads from a purchased list or following up on leads that have completed a sample request or sweepstakes form. Prior to launching a lead nurturing program, educate the reps on the process and how better qualified leads will benefit them: according to DemandGen Report, on average, nurtured leads produce a 20 percent increase in sales opportunities versus nonnurtured leads. It is also important to talk with the reps about the information they need to qualify a lead. Marketing can use this information to build better lead capturing forms.

Legal/Regulatory Team

In working with clients, I have found those that have included the legal/regulatory department early on in the process often face fewer barriers when submitting content for approval. You may find that not all copy may need to go through the same rigorous review process. For example, copy extracted from previously approved documents for use in emails or blogs may be able to bypass some stages of the approval process. But you will only know this if you ask the right people up front!

IT

As marketers, if we could simply measure our success by the number of leads sent to sales, our job would be easy, right? Wishful thinking, I know. Our success is often measured on the revenue generated from the leads. However, without having a complete picture of what happens to the leads once they are handed over to sales, it is difficult to report ROI. In an ideal situation there is a constant flow of data between your CRM and marketing software through the use of an API—this is where your IT team can help. Be sure to include them early in the process rather than frustrating everyone half way through.

Customer/Technical Support

Who knows the common questions and challenges customers face better than your front-line support teams? Your customer service and technical support departments can provide you with valuable insight. For example, in talking with technical support you may learn the three most common questions received. Why not interview a technical service rep to get answers to these questions and use this information to create a download or blog post? 

Final Thought: Remember a successful lead nurturing program often requires the assistance of multiple departments within your company. Before jumping in head first, take the time to meet with and educate key players.

Have you recently embarked on the lead nurturing journey? Share your tips for success or tell us about the challenges you encountered in the comment section below.


Shannon Fuldauer has a B2B and B2C eCommerce Marketing background including roles as Vice President of Marketing & Sales Support, and subsequently Vice President of Public Relations & SEO Services, for CareerBoard.com. She has expertise in digital marketing and advanced email communications.






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Topics: shannon fuldauer, enterprise inbound marketing, content marketing

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