How to Overcome One of Marketing’s Biggest Challenges: Measuring ROI

Tim Templeton

The most important aspect of measuring ROI is to focus on the right success factors.  Unfortunately not all marketers know which results are important.  They focus on the easy metrics like impressions and web site visits, as well as social media Likes, Follows and Retweets, but do those things really impact the bottom line?  In the rush to reach the broadest audience possible, sales and revenue are often ignored.

Part of the problem is that Accounting and Marketing departments are in different silos.  Marketing departments are usually not given unfettered access to sales data.  Campaign codes aren’t tied to sales, making it hard to do effectively ROI number crunching.  Few small and medium sized companies have CRM and ERP systems in place to capture and store leads and associated campaign codes, along with sales revenue.  The heads of those departments needs to communicate to ensure the free and easy flow of critical tracking info.  It takes a lot of planning and coordination between departments to get this right.

Another reason metrics are hard to track has to do with the impersonal nature of modern consumer transactions.  At one time, the only ways to conduct business were with in-person visits or over the phone.  It was relatively easy to ask how someone heard of the business.  Up until about 25 years ago, advertising options were limited to events, print, broadcast (TV, Radio) and Out of Home (billboards, street furniture, cafes, etc.)  It was not too hard, for example, to track ad results by assigning an incoming phone extension to a particular piece.  With the explosion of the Internet and mobile phones, contact options have become more complex and less personal.    Marketers have to get more savvy to track their campaigns.

Luckily there are modern marketing tools to help businesses track their customers and tie revenue to a particular campaign.  Digital tracking tools allow customers to see how someone got to their web site.  The affiliate marketing industry has exploded since these tools allow businesses to pay incentives to partners for referring web traffic.  QR codes let mobile device users jump to a website at the click of a button, allowing marketers to use long tracking URLs behind the scenes without inconveniencing the user.  Custom web landing pages linked to campaigns allow prospects to fill out a response form that includes this tracking info.  Location-based mobile advertising is growing, allowing retailers to wirelessly deliver push coupons and deals to customers, and coded coupons can be tracked when they are redeemed.

More and more companies looking to improve their ROI tracking capabilities are tapping into marketing experts who keep on the cutting edge of technology and identify the best third party solutions for reporting and tracking campaign results.   One such provider is one of the newest members of the OCCAM Team, Digital Marketing Exponential (  DME specializes on tracking web site visitors and providing powerful information to sales to help them “reel in” these visitors.

All these tools are only as good as the information that is recorded.  It’s vital for businesses to include lead tracking as a best business practice.  Employees should be financially rewarded for tracking this info, because it is the only way for companies to measure the value of their campaigns.  Every customer touchpoint – whether an inbound customer service desk, a chat interface or a web response form –has to make accommodations for capturing lead sources.  Having this info allows businesses to focus on what’s important – the bottom line.

Tim Templeton
Templeton Interactive

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