Measuring Marketing ROI Part 4 – Not “ROMI Made Easy”

Continuing a series of blogs on Measuring Marketing Return on Investment (ROI):

Measuring Marketing ROI – Why Marketing is Not an Expense
Measuring Marketing ROI Part 2 – Tips to Overcome Challenges
Measuring Marketing ROI Part 3 – Developing ROMI Revenue Metrics

Activity Metrics: Measuring the Marketing Details

Executive management may or not may not want to hear the details about which programs or campaigns deliver the best results, but your marketing team certainly does. After all, your day-to-day program execution – everything from email and social media to webinars and web site traffic – provides the insights that ultimately drives your strategic revenue-building efforts.

The metrics that you can extract from email campaigns, web analytics, webinar attendance and other sources are too numerous to go into here. Since websites are such a crossroads and anchor of many other marketing programs, I’ll look at some website metrics. But first, there are some general Activity Metrics measurement criteria that you can use:

Benchmarking Metrics

Marketers track a wide variety of day-to-day program activities because they are easy to measure. These include benchmarks such as:

  • Email marketing and enewsletter open, click-through and response rates
  • Web site visits and page views
  • Content asset downloads such as white papers or published news stories
  • Web site form completion and abandonment rates

These numbers can be very useful. If your email open rates begin declining from the historical rates you’ve previously captured, then it’s time to examine your email campaigns for potential problems. The same is true for web analytics, especially when you compare current data versus historical trends for page popularity and page abandonment rates.

Social media mentions, connections, “likes” and conversations are similar to other softer benchmarking metrics; you’re often comparing your metrics against your own historical data and searching for trends.

The key here, as with benchmarking metrics, is not to confuse social media success with bottom-line impact. It’s one thing to celebrate a record number of Twitter followers; it’s quite another to demonstrate just how those followers convert into leads, opportunities and revenue for an organization.

Measuring Your Brand Power

Back when I first got into marketing in the mid-90s, Chick-fil-A started their campaign “Eat Mor Chickin.” I remember driving on a highway in Atlanta with my new boss and remarking on this billboard and how clever I thought it was. I’ll never forget his response, “Does it make you want to go eat at Chick-fil-A?” He then explained the difference in branding and call to action advertising. In the previous blogs, we’ve talked about call-to-action. Measuring branding is a lot more challenging.

Your marketing investment seeks to accomplish two main goals: grow sales and build customer perceptions of quality service and best-in-class expertise in your brand.

But how do you measure the brand power of your marketing programs in the marketplace? Continue reading

Measuring Marketing ROI Part 3 – Developing ROMI Revenue Metrics

Continuing a series of blogs on Measuring Marketing Return on Investment (ROI):

Measuring Marketing ROI – Why Marketing is Not an Expense
Measuring Marketing ROI Part 2 – Tips to Overcome Challenges

Developing ROMI metrics

Calculating ROMI is not a perfect science. In developing ROMI metrics, don’t let a quest for perfection be the enemy of good. Knowing something about your marketing ROI is better than knowing nothing.

By setting realistic performance targets and integrating the performance targets directly into your marketing objectives you will be able to stay on track. Establishing the right metrics combined with tracking progress will help you assess where improvements and adjustments are needed.

  • Establish ROMI goals in line with marketing and company business objectives
  • Design marketing program and marketing data metrics in tandem to reflect shared marketing program and ROMI measurement objectives
  • Design MROI metrics that speak directly to the bottom line; avoid soft metrics
  • Focus on metrics that provide evidence change and growth in revenue and profitability and, if successful, will improve future marketing effort

ROMI Metric Examples

Measurement of marketing ROI is driven by metrics. Part of the challenge of developing these yardsticks is that there are so many aspects of that effort that can be measured.

There’s no one-size-fits-all guide to determining which metrics are right for your marketing. The right metrics provide insight into performance, and help focus your efforts and refine your strategies.

Albert Einstein once observed:

“Not everything that can be counted counts.”

(I’ll get to the rest of the quote later)

Some of these potential metrics are soft, nice-to-know measurements – often referred to as vanity metrics – such as increases in Facebook “likes” or your number of Twitter “followers.” Unless a Facebook “like” converts to a completed contact form on your website, this metric otherwise has no impact on sales.

Others are good-to-know measurements of marketing department activity, response rates, website visits and PR editorial coverage.

The most important are essential- to-know metrics that gauge the actual ROI impact of marketing programs on revenue.

The good news is that you don’t have to measure every possible data point to build a successful strategy. In fact, the best course is to focus on a relatively small set of clear metrics that capture the most relevant and meaningful data.

Focus on two categories of metrics: Continue reading

Measuring Marketing ROI Part 2 – Tips to Overcome Challenges

Calculating return on marketing investment has been a growing battle cry at companies of all sizes. There is increasing agreement that measuring ROMI is an important and valuable task. Otherwise marketers and companies may be blindly throwing dollars at marketing programs that are not delivering sufficient bottom line value.

But there’s more a battle than a battle cry. As more senior marketers enter the age of marketing metrics and quantifying the value of marketing to the bottom line, many are finding it to be an uphill battle.

It’s easy to ask the question, “What kind of financial results do my programs deliver?”  However, determining the answers can be challenging.

Multiple touches

Measuring the ROMI contributions of individual tactics of a multi-tactic campaign can be another challenge.

I like to compare a multi-tactic marketing campaign to football. There are a lot plays that go into reaching the end zone. From a measurement standpoint, you have tactical teamwork – passes, runs, blocking – all working towards the goal of a touchdown. Even though one player ultimately scores, it’s hard to assign credit for the touchdown to one player – it’s a team effort.

So is an integrated marketing campaign. You’re running trade ads focusing on customer service innovation. The ads’ call to action includes requesting a customer service white paper. There’s ongoing trade PR. There’s a promotion – say, discounts for multiple shipments, which is supported by direct mail, your e-newsletter and Facebook. From a marketing ROI standpoint, as you successfully get leads and conversions, how do you measure the impact of the individual tactics on sales?

It typically takes multiple touches to convert a cold lead into a sale which can take place over months, even years. These cumulative touches can range from face-to-face sales calls and exposure to marketing communications to digital interactions. This fact can make it difficult to link an ultimate sale to any specific touch.

Solution: However, you are still left with assigning credit. If you are going to assign credit to individuals and not the whole, be consistent. Attribute all the ROI value to the tactic that originally brought the prospect to you – maybe it was a webinar. Or, assign all the ROI value to the last touch as the final marketing activity – perhaps it was a direct mail piece, that converted a prospect into a customer. The trick is, be consistent.

Knowing when to measure

The money you invest today will have an uncertain impact at an uncertain point in the future. Last month’s trade show may deliver results next month or perhaps not until next year, but marketers need to decide where to invest their budget today.

Solution: Start measurement at the beginning of a marketing tactic’s sales cycle and continue for at least a year. Don’t quit too soon. A common mistake is giving up on tactics before they are done bearing fruit. Sometimes, prospects don’t act on something for months. Continue reading

Measuring Marketing ROI – Why Marketing is Not an Expense

Has your boss or client ever asked you the dreaded question, “How will this marketing specifically impact lead generation and sales?”

When I’ve spoken on this topic in front of fellow marketing professionals, my audience has typically answered the question with statistics featuring increases in Facebook “likes” or number of Twitter followers.

Unfortunately, unless a Facebook “like” converts to a completed contact form on your website, this metric otherwise has no impact on sales.

Let’s face it… most heads of companies look at marketing as an expense. When sales or profits are down, expenses are usually reduced or cut. My philosophy is marketing is an investment, not an expense to be cut. Like any investment, you should expect a return. So, how do you measure Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI)?

There are several versions of calculating ROMI, but the typical ROMI formula looks like this:

Return on Marketing Investment equals the revenue gain from a marketing program minus the cost of the program, divided by the cost of the program.

ROI = (gain – cost) / cost

For example: Let’s assume that you started a new advertising program, and it cost $50,000 in its first year, and it gained $600,000 in incremental sales during the same year, and that the gross profit from these sales was $200,000.

If you subtract your incremental advertising dollars ($50,000) from the profit generated ($200,000), you see that you have generated $150,000 of net operating profit.

Your ROI is

($200,000 – $50,000) / $50,000 = 3 = 300 percent

In other words, on average, each dollar you spent on the new program brought in three dollars of profit.

Benefits of ROMI

The benefits of ROMI are very real. ROMI allows you to: Continue reading