Consumer behavior is ever-changing. What’s working well today for marketers—in terms of reaching customers and prospects in meaningful ways to drive business objectives—may not work as well in the future, or in quite the same way.
It’s important to stay on top of the ROI you’re getting from all marketing activities to ensure you’re on track to meet your goals, today and in the future. Relying on assumptions about what’s working and what’s not can lead to inefficient use of resources, or an inaccurate assessment of a particular campaign or strategy. Measuring marketing ROI is not an exact science (every business is different, after all), but there are certain steps you should follow on a consistent basis.
It’s not necessary to follow these tips in any particular order. What’s important is to have a regular schedule for measuring these items to gain an understanding of where adjustments may need to be made—so that you stay on track and see a positive return on your marketing investment.
3 Must-Haves for Continuous Marketing ROI
1. Calculate Current ROI
It’s understandable to want the big picture—is marketing working or not? Unfortunately there’s rarely a clear yes or no answer to that question, and understanding your marketing return requires you to dive in and get to the details. If you want to know exactly how much ROI you’re getting from every marketing dollar spent, you need to assess the resources you’re using, from hard costs like software, subscriptions, and tools, to more fluid elements like the time your staff is spending managing and tracking your website, social media platforms, or Google analytics.
When you have figures behind what you’ve invested, you need to compare them to the output. Review your customer lists, and look at your sales pipeline. What deals have come in thanks to your marketing? How have sales changed over time? What do your referrals and prospect lists look like?
Assess your current marketing strategy in terms of ROI, and consider if you’re making the right choices with your resource allocation. Are there tools, technology, or tactics you’ve been investing in year after year, just because that’s the way it’s always been? Are the website visits you’re getting from actual qualified prospects, or do you need to refine how you’re driving traffic? What sources are giving you the best conversion rates? Use this information to set goals for the future.
2. Know Your Buyer’s Journey
Always keep in mind your buyer’s journey—which includes the three stages of awareness, consideration, and decision. This is unique to your business and your target customer.
For example, if you’re running a restaurant, the buyer’s journey may happen quickly. A customer knows exactly what they want—a place for a weekend date night. Whereas a large home improvement project will involve more research and consideration of alternatives on the customer’s end. In addition, there may be differences in the journey as it relates to particular products or services. Reaching a decision on a plumber to unclog a drain is likely to be a shorter journey than choosing a company to install a new bathroom.
How you communicate with prospects and customers depends on where they are in their journey. You should provide offers and information for each stage of their journey, and nurture them seamlessly through the process. For example:
- In the awareness stage, buyers are gaining an understanding of what they need. They may have misconceptions about how to address their need or they may require guidance on how to prioritize their need.
- In the consideration stage, they have made the decision to address their need and are weighing the pros and cons of the options available.
- During the decision stage, the buyer is comparing companies that can provide a solution, and they will have certain expectations.
Ensure that you have a clear understanding of your target audience and evaluate your perspective on their journey. Then tailor your marketing to ensure that you address the customer’s requirements at each stage.
3. Keep Open Communication
Communication is key. If you want to have more control over your marketing results, you need transparency between marketing, sales, and any other department that plays a role in your buyer’s journey. If you have separate traditional and digital marketing teams, ensure they are collaborating with each other. For instance, it may seem like a smart move to keep your TV and digital campaigns and budgets separate, but integrated campaigns can help make the most of your budget and drive greater ROI.
Planning ahead and analyzing results along the way is much easier than trying to fix mistakes after they happen. The most successful marketers are always looking forward, but also using benchmarks and historical data to guide their paths. Follow these tips to ensure that you’re meeting your marketing goals, now and in the future.