We need to talk about return on investment.

It’s a familiar story: fiscal year-end is fast approaching, and the board is asking for your budget requests. Departments are being squeezed left and right. You need to prove marketing’s worth to secure your pot. So how do you plan on justifying your ROI?

Most marketers will agree that this simple three-letter acronym can be a fickle friend. With one hand it can give, and with the other, it can take away. So it’s no surprise that 40% of marketers say that, over anything else, proving the ROI of their marketing activities is their top marketing challenge.

ROI Joke

But take it from us – it really doesn’t have to feel like a challenge. In fact, at saintnicks we’re convinced that with a little attitudinal shift and some small steps, you can start making ROI work for you. And, in time, get that extra slice of budget pie.

1. Plan your campaigns holistically

It’s hard to get a helicopter view of how much you’re ‘getting back’ from your investments if you only focus on single-channel campaigns and metrics. Think long-term and full-funnel. Start investing time upfront into planning multichannel KPIs; it will pay you dividends.

Go one step further and set targets too. These should ideally be based on your historical performance, so your benchmarks are realistic. Don’t have any data? No sweat. Just estimate for now and you can build from there.

2. Analytics. Analytics.

One of the many benefits of an increasingly digital world is its measurability. With the benefits of advanced analytics models, including Google Analytics, it’s possible to calculate ROI through the entire online path to purchase.

You might be thinking: but what if I don’t have an e-commerce site? Well, you can still use quantitative tools for non-ecommerce, B2B, B2C, pure content, or even non-profit companies. Start out by assigning economic values to specific goals or events on your website, for example, a business enquiry. Then, try dabbling in some attribution modeling and you’re on your way to ROI nirvana.


3. Get into bed with your agency

Forty-five percent of high-performing companies say they take advantage of their agencies’ ability to uncover advanced insights. (Source).

It’s a well-known problem that most brands are now creating more customer data than they know what to do with. We’re data rich, but information poor.

That’s why many brands look to agencies for the skills and processes to make sense of complex data. If you can, begin sharing analytics access so they can start reporting on the KPIs that matter to your bottom line. This will enable you to better hold your agency and employees accountable for delivering business profitability for your efforts.

4. Be brave!

Churning out tweet after tweet – or even blog after blog – can sometimes ‘feel’ like the right thing to be doing, just because everyone else is. Or maybe it’s just what you’ve always done.

But what kind of engagement rate are you getting from your organic social? How many conversions can you attribute back to your blog? If these questions make you a little uncomfortable, it’s time to face your ROI fears and take a closer look.

If a channel isn’t delivering a measurable return over time, then make a change. It’s as simple as that. Divert the budget to more profitable areas – or even experiment in new channels.

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5. Promote the value of innovation

With all that said, there is such a thing as being too obsessed with ROI. The promise of ‘closed-loop reporting’ can go awry because of its focus on short-term impact, meaning you’ll never try something new.

You can’t predict the ROI of something you’ve never tried, so it’s an approach that does little to stimulate truly adventurous thinking. If we only ever did what historically has worked, then we would still only be sending mail.

Businesses today need an environment that encourages experimentation in order to survive and thrive. So make sure you assign part of your budget to exploring new ways of reaching your audience.

It’s certainly true that any business with a focus on growth or profitability can’t just blindly spend its time and resources. But it also pays to remember that there’s more to a business case than an ROI metric.

Hopefully, these tips will give you the ammunition you need to make better decisions based on genuinely meaningful insights – all while allowing you the flexibility to make some bold investments along the way, too.

Either way, if you would like some advice to start planning your next measurable campaign, get in touch with Joe Johnston on 0117 9270100 or email him at joe.johnston@saintnicks.uk.com.