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Posts Tagged ‘ROI’

Content Marketing: Measuring results, tracking ROI and generating leads

April 24th, 2015
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One of my recent MarketingSherpa Blog posts, “Content Marketing 101: Tips on content strategy” covered some basics of content marketing. For today’s post, I want to dig into the MarketingSherpa Newsletter archive to highlight what can be a challenging aspect of content marketing — quantifying and proving its worth.

The first article to highlight is a how-to, titled “Measuring Content Marketing: How to measure results, find gaps and grab opportunities,” that covers a range of tactics offered by Joe Pulizzi, Founder, Content Marketing Institute, and Michal Brenner, Senior Director, Global Integrated Marketing, SAP, on quantifying your content marketing efforts.

Joe says to set three categories of goals for content — driving sales, saving money and making customers happier.

To reach these goals, he suggested tracking those goals in three tiers:

 

Creator-level metrics

For a company blog, these KPIs include traffic metrics, such as page views and unique visitors; source metrics, such as inbound search results and referring sites; and sharing metrics, such as tweets.

 

Manager-level metrics

These KPIs include lead volume generated, lead quality, cost-per-lead and conversion rate.

 

Director-level metrics

At the highest level, content KPIs include revCreatienue, costs, ROI and customer lifetime value.

tiers of content marketing

 

Analytics also plays a role in content marketing.

Michael suggests that Google Analytics can be a content marketer’s best friend because the free tool allows tracking of the most downloaded, shared and viewed content on the website, sources of inbound traffic and organic search keywords used to reach your site.

Joe added, “We’re so infatuated with the creative that we don’t take two seconds to look at how this is making an impact on our customers. [Tracking software] is not glamorous. I can’t hold or touch or feel it, but you can take that feedback from the technology and then improve the content you have.”

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Social Media Marketing: Is in-stream e-commerce possible?

April 4th, 2013
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E-commerce on Facebook was a horrible flop. That is to say, many brands found over the course of several years of experimentation the return on investment in terms of dollars spent developing their online storefronts didn’t measure up, so many of the most popular retail brands – such as The Gap, JC Penney and Nordstrom – were subsequently forced to close their Facebook shops. A recent study by W3B suggested just 2% of people with a Facebook account have made a purchase on the social network.

Yet, simultaneously, e-commerce sites in general (Amazon, Fab.com, etc.) have posted impressive growth figures.  For example, holiday e-commerce sales were up 13% to $34 billion in 2012.

Why is it that some sites sell, and others don’t? In particular, why are social media sites so horrible at conversion? I believe it’s a phenomenon related to (what I refer to as) the locus of conversion.

 

Facebook is a pub crawl

The environment on Facebook yields similarities to the dynamic of a pub crawl. Surrounded by acquaintances and, yes, a few old friends, we dive into topics of various levels of seriousness ranging from the patently absurd, to the politically charged before wandering aimlessly from topic to topic.

We do so without expecting to be inundated with marketing messaging, much the same as we would expect to not be rudely interrupted by an insurance salesman while we were in the middle of telling our best frat house story from college at the local bar.

However, if you are able to be interesting enough to become the topic of our buzzed conversation, I might be willing, in that instant, to purchase your product. I don’t want to leave the bar, mind you. I just want a magical product genie to appear and offer your purple widget to me at a reasonable price. If I don’t have to leave my bar stool, you just might have a sale.

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Marketing Research in Action: Don’t focus on mobile-optimized email, focus on revenue

March 12th, 2013
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At MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2013, I grabbed Manny Ju, Director of Product Management, BlueHornet, and asked him about mobile email marketing for our latest episode of Marketing Research in Action …

 

 

Here is a closer look at some research Manny shared. First, Manny discussed research from the MarketingSherpa 2012 Mobile Marketing Benchmark Report (Full discolosure: BlueHornet is the sponsor of this Benchmark Report, and was a sponsor at Email Summit 2013). As you can see, increasing sales conversion/revenue is the top business objective for mobile marketing.

Q: What are your TOP BUSINESS OBJECTIVES for mobile marketing in the next 12 months?

 

In the MarketingSherpa 2012 Email Marketing Benchmark Report, financial return on investment (quantitative return on email investment) was the most important objective as well …

Q. As CMO or the senior marketing executive in your organization, how important are the following factors in helping you determine and communicate the value of email marketing programs?

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Social Media Marketing: Social metrics from “likes” to ROI

March 8th, 2013
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Despite Super Bowl ads promoting the misconception that social media marketing is full of clueless hipsters, the social media marketing channel provides a wealth of data marketers can use for analytics to optimize and improve campaigns.

Jay Baer, President, Convince & Convert, in his keynote presentation at the recently held MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2013 in Las Vegas, even made the case that email marketing and social media marketing are similar in three main areas:

  • Operations and measurement
  • Channel and audience
  • Message and content

Jay went on to describe social media as email “with a fresh coat of paint.”

So, if you accept Jay’s analysis – and he makes a very sound point on the topic – email, the elder statesman of digital marketing, and social, the new kid on the block, are more similar than different.

When you take “measurement” from the first bullet point in mind, email metrics are likely fairly ingrained for most marketers – open rates, clickthrough rates, unsubscribe rates, list building, etc.

To take a closer look at social media marketing metrics, I turned to the recently published MarketingSherpa 2013 Marketing Analytics Benchmark Report and found this chart:

 

And, here is commentary from Brad Bortone, Senior Research Editor, MECLABS, and editor of the report:

HOW ARE MARKETERS TRACKING SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING METRICS?

Despite the fact that only 48% of surveyed marketers tracked social media marketing metrics, those who did were tracking a wide breadth of social tactics, with social reach (e.g., total followers, “likes,” etc.) being the most reported at 61%. This is likely the highest performer because these metrics are obtainable directly from the social media outlet in question.

This immediacy was beneficial to Mary Morel, Director, The M Factor Pty Ltd, who said social media enabled her the ability to, “concentrate most on regularly providing valuable information to build brand and watch Facebook stats, Twitter followers, Google Analytics, e-newsletter opens, subscribes and unsubscribes, and blog stats.”

Likewise, traffic referral data (49%) is information available from the social media outlet, and from link-tracking tools.

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A/B Testing: Why don’t companies track ROI of testing and optimization programs?

June 26th, 2012
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During our second annual MarketingSherpa and Marketing Experiments Optimization Summit 2012 two weeks ago in Denver, Dr. Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director, MECLABS (the parent company of MarketingSherpa), presented some interesting data points on brand-new MECLABS research conducted by Meghan Lockwood, Senior Research Analyst, MECLABS, for the upcoming MarketingSherpa Website Optimization Benchmark Report.

I live blogged this material for MarketingExperiments, but I thought the research was worth sharing with our SherpaBlog readers as well.

One data point from this research from our Website Optimization Survey, which will be presented in an upcoming benchmark report, really stood out to me:

Click to enlarge

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Social Media Marketing: Analytics are free and plentiful, so use them

November 15th, 2011
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For years, the debate on social media marketing centered on ROI. Marketers asked themselves “How can we measure the impact of social media?” “What’s the ROI on Twitter?” “How do we know if LinkedIn is worthwhile?”

Thankfully, those days are behind us. Data is available from tools both paid and free. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, not every marketer has taken advantage, as you can see in the chart below from Adobe and Econsultancy, which we pulled from The Social Media Data Stacks e-book.

Click to enlarge

Five of the six metrics listed above have a greater number of marketers saying they’re important than the number of marketers tracking them. This is like saying it’s important to eat right and exercise while eating chili cheese fries and canceling your gym membership. It just doesn’t make sense.

But don’t worry — we have you covered. Here is a list of free tools you can use to start measuring each social media metric.

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Marketing Metrics: Is the emphasis on ROI actually hurting Marketing?

October 21st, 2011
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In speaking with many, many marketers over the past year, two words — well, actually one word and one acronym — stand out in my mental word cloud when thinking about marketing in 2011: revenue and ROI (return on investment).

The first is a term more commonly seen in financial reports and tossed around the conference table during company meetings. The second is another financial term.

And I’m not just dreaming that these words have infiltrated marketing. Research from the 2012 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report found that 54% of surveyed marketers think “achieving or increasing measurable ROI from lead generation programs” is a top strategic priority for 2012.

Click to enlarge

I know I’ve written about Marketing proving its worth within the company in terms of revenue generation or measuring ROI more than once over the last year.

Menno Lijkendijk, Director Milestone Marketing, a Netherlands-based B2B marketing company, says the emphasis on ROI in marketing should be reexamined.

Menno’s main point is unimpeachable — return on investment is a financial term with a specific definition that has a very specific meaning to the C-suite in general, and particularly to the CFO. His concern is, not only is the actual ROI of some marketing activities overemphasized, the term itself is gathering too much marketing “buzz.”

He provided an example of a comment left on an online video of his that referenced “intangible ROI,” something he (rightly) says does not exist.

“There is no such thing as intangible ROI. The whole definition of ROI is that it should be tangible,” Menno says.

He continues, “This term — ROI — is now starting to lead a life of its own, and is being used by email service providers to explain to their potential customers that doing business with them will give them great ROI on their marketing investment.” Menno also mentions email providers are not alone in using this sales pitch and cited search marketers, social media markers and other agencies.

“There is more than just ROI, and the real value of marketing may require a different metric, or a different scorecard, than just the financial one,” he states.

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B2B Social Media: Jay Baer discusses social media ROI and Facebook likes [Video]

October 6th, 2011
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Quick checklist, B2B marketers. Do you have:

  • Customers?
  • Prospective customers?
  • Employees?
  • Competitors?
  • A story to tell?

Then, according to Jay Baer, “Congratulations, you have the raw materials for social media.” And he makes a good point. After all, some B2B marketers think of social media as more of a consumer marketing tactic, and many B2B marketers think they can’t learn anything from their B2C brethren.

But at last week’s MarketingSherpa B2B Summit in Boston, Jay made a very convincing argument for B2B social media. But he didn’t just aim to shift the audience’s paradigm; his keynote was replete with actionable advice, including ideas on how to tackle one of the most daunting tasks of all, measuring social media ROI.

He also talked about search and social going together like peanut butter and jelly. Jay gave the audience examples on how they could be a “digital dandelion,” spreading their content through the digital world like dandelion seeds on a windy day.

After his keynote (and once he was finished signing books for his marketing groupies), videographer Luke Thorpe and I cornered Jay on the expo floor and peppered him with a few questions about some of his more eye-opening ideas …

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B2B Lead Generation: 4 ways to use teleprospecting in your next pilot (and 2 ways to measure it)

July 7th, 2011
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While digital marketing and social media are all the rage (and rightly so), there are a number of reasons for B2B marketers to use teleprospecting as a foundational element of their lead generation strategy.  In fact, for those marketers who don’t own the teleprospecting function, here are nine reasons you should.

If you are trying to reach prospects who won’t spend more than $10k to $15k per year for your products or services, then using the phone for lead generation will probably not prove economically viable. You need to use lead scoring and route those leads to an inside sales team or your indirect channel.

If you have higher value deals, teleprospecting can be a valuable tool.

It is especially useful for pilots. Consider these four ways you can use teleprospecting in a pilot scenario:

  1. Conduct end-to-end lead generation. Teleprospecting can function as an end-to-end lead generation capability. That is, you can generate demand and then qualify and nurture leads all within the teleprospecting function. That means there are fewer moving parts. For those marketers that need to demonstrate the potential of lead generation, fewer moving parts simplifies measurement and coordination issues.
  2. Leverage small sample sizes. The conversion rates are usually much higher with teleprospecting than with other forms of contact so the sample size can be much smaller. This factor is especially helpful if you want to focus on large accounts where the deal sizes are often large and the number of accounts to call is low.
  3. Gain valuable market feedback rapidly. You can get on-going quantitative and qualitative market feedback. If you have digital recording technology, you can even hear exactly what customers are saying. I love statistics. But sometimes, to more deeply understand market behaviors and attitudes, you must hear how potential customers respond to your value proposition. In fact, even if you can’t conduct a statistically valid test, you can use teleprospecting to get directional indicators and then leverage more scalable media.
  4. Experiment. Because of this depth of feedback, you can experiment extensively with targeting, messaging, cadence, and integration with other channels and then make rapid course corrections.   For example, you can test leaving voice mails or not, the timing of calls and emails for both lead follow up and for lead generation, the interplay between phone and email, and much much more. This is a factor that is inexplicably under leveraged by B2B marketers.

Measure the ROI

Let me add a final word about measurement in a pilot.  From an executive standpoint, there are two ways to measure the financial benefit of teleprospecting:

1. As a tool for qualifying and nurturing leads. The issue is whether the added cost is worth it.  The simple equation would be this:

ROI = (cost of generating inquiries + cost of teleprospecting + sales costs)/revenue from the qualified leads.

That will give you an expense-to-revenue ratio that your CFO will appreciate. The reason to include sales costs is because the quality of leads can either increase or decrease sales productivity.

2. As a demand-generation channel. In this case, you are looking at teleprospecting as one of many ways to generate demand and so you’re trying to see where it works best so that you can allocate sufficient budget to it relative to other choices.  The simple equation would be this:

ROI = (cost of teleprospecting + sales cost)/revenue from the qualified leads

If you were integrating outbound teleprospecting into other forms of outbound contact (e.g., following up a direct mail package with a phone call), then you would need to include the costs of all of the integrated demand generation channels.

You may need to estimate sales costs.  One way to do that is to set up a control group that gets leads and one that does not.  You can then get sales budget numbers for each group.   

Make sure the lead volume uses as much of the sales capacity of the test group as possible.  Then you can simply measure the revenue difference between the two groups.

The good news is, it’s not uncommon for teleprospecting to yield at least 20 dollars of revenue for every dollar of investment. So the ROI is often outstanding.

Related Resources

Lead Generation: 4 critical success factors to designing a pilot

Lead Generation: How to get funding to improve your lead gen

Lead Marketing: Cost-per-lead and lead nurturing ROI

B2B Lead Generation: Why teleprospecting is a bridge between sales and marketing

  1. As a tool for qualifying and nurturing leads. The issue is whether the added cost is worth it.  The simple equation would be this:

ROI = (cost of generating inquiries + cost of teleprospecting + sales costs)/revenue from the qualified leads.

That will give you an expense-to-revenue ratio that your CFO will appreciate. The reason to include sales costs is because the quality of leads can either increase or decrease sales productivity.

Evidence-based Marketing: This blog post will not solve your most pressing marketing challenges…yet

June 23rd, 2011
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Here at MECLABS, we have a pretty singular focus – to help you optimize your sales and marketing funnel. Or as I like to say in every email I write: Our job is to help you do your job better.

But, as Tom Cruise said to Katie Holmes (or maybe it was Cuba Gooding, Jr.), “Help me, help you.”

So evidence-based marketers, on what topic do you need more evidence? Evidence to help you understand what your peers are doing. Evidence to help you understand what really works. Evidence to do a little internal marketing to your business leaders (or for the agency folks out there, your clients)?

Below are a few key topics you’ve been telling us you want to learn more about. We’re trying to decide on the topic for our next MarketingSherpa Benchmark Report. In which topic should we invest 5 months of a research manager’s time digging into to discover the evidence you need.

Please take 7 seconds and rank them in order of importance in the poll below. Or if we missed a topic entirely, please tell us in the comments section below.

In no particular order, the nominees are…

  • Analytics – Using analytics and metrics to drive business decisions from which products to launch to which landing page works best to which content is most relevant to your audience.
  • Mobile – Mobile tactics can vary slightly or widely from traditional approaches, so how are marketers developing and implementing wireless strategies? How are marketers planning their budgets and measuring their results? And, for the love of all that is holy, when on Earth will I be able to view Flash on my iPad? OK, maybe not that last one. But seriously Steve, it would be nice.
  • E-commerce – What do direct sale sites view as the top opportunities for the upcoming year? Are they investing in site speed enhancement, conversion optimization, or both? And is social media impacting purchases?
  • Agency and vendor selection and management – What factors play into how marketers choose and compensate agencies? How do marketers determine if they need a software platform in a specific space? And if so, do they buy, go with open source, or attempt something homegrown? How do you get IT’s support in choosing a vendor? And then, more importantly, how do you get IT to stop talking about “Star Trek: The Next Generation” already?
  • Salary survey – How much does Bill make?  He hasn’t had a good idea since 1993. And his tuna salad lunches stink up the office. OK, if not Bill, then what about the rest of your peers. Are you being fairly compensated? And what should you pay your team?
  • Lead generation – Which information do marketers view as most valuable? How do they keep their databases updated and clean? Do marketers find third-party lists effective? And in an age of social media, do marketers value a big email list as much?
  • Content marketing and lead nurturing – Do my peers outsource content creation or do it in-house? If so, how? Do they have their own teams? Or just beg, borrow, and steal from other departments?