Marketing: Made to measure

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Hup Agency looks at the best ways to judge return on marketing investment

One of the major challenges that most marketing managers and directors face is keeping track of return on investment. This is easier said than done, considering the way in which we communicate and absorb information is a constantly changing landscape.

Keeping up with the tech
Many businesses struggle to keep their marketing mix up to speed with the latest technology innovations. This was recently discussed in detail in the report Marketing Return on Investment: Seeking Clarity for Concept and Measurement, published by the Applied Marketing Analytics Journal (February 2015).

Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI) is a contended metric and far from an exact science. The main difficulty when it comes to measuring tangible return on marketing spend is the fact that attribution is very complex. The modern purchasing journey often follows a series of touchpoints across a multitude of channels. A customer could have spotted you at an event, done some research on your website, downloaded content from your Twitter stream and received several emails before eventually picking up the phone to ask for a demo. It is almost impossible to pin down the most influential factor in a scenario such as this, so we are often left with ROI metrics that are flawed and inconsistent.

Get a clear view of the audience
The question then becomes: How can we determine the best place to spend our marketing budgets? Well, unfortunately, there is no single answer that works for everyone. Businesses always need to start by evaluating their audience and understanding – in generic terms – what their key channels of influence are. By profiling the ideal client, you will glean some insight into where you should and should not be investing.

Email is king – automation is queen
We continue to see email marketing coming out on top in surveys such as the Econsultancy Marketing Industry Census, as it plays a winning hand when it comes to response rates and ROI. Although this is echoed by many marketing gurus, they all agree that we must not view email as a standalone effort – in particular when the product or service has a long sales cycle involving several people. However, as we compare various tools and channels, we do need to recognise that there is one aspect of digital marketing that can serve as a facilitator for most, if not all, of our diverse online efforts: marketing automation.

Seamless engagement
Although traditionally linked to email only, marketing automation is not a tactic in itself but is fast becoming an intelligent process, with the capability to analyse engagement across all channels: email, social media, apps and websites. Technology now has the power to automate engagement, monitor responses, and personalise and customise content that can create a coherent and seamless user experience. This, in turn, boosts efficiency, strengthens the brand and improves customer relationships. This is great for business, but hard to measure in the short term. It may take years before your business will see the genuine impact of an automation investment.

Get the mix right
So, your business will benefit from stepping away from the traditional ROI measurements that are not a true reflection of efficiency. Instead, build a blended strategy based on your core business objectives, allowing room for technology that will improve your customer experience over the long term, as well as the spot activity that helps to feed your sales funnel here and now. Both will improve your bottom line and grow your business, but they can’t be measured using the same yardstick.

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