The Challenges of Calculating Marketing ROI
Calculating marketing ROI seems like it should be easy—especially when you consider that today’s marketers have access to powerful reporting and tracking tools through web analytics, customer relationship management (CRM) systems, and cross-channel marketing analysis. Marketers can use these tools to track the money they spend on marketing programs that generate sales and revenue. How hard could it be to connect the dots?
Unfortunately, it’s sometimes difficult to attribute marketing ROI to any one program or campaign. Here’s why: suppose your organization spends heavily on social media. A specific Tweet brings a prospect to your website (easy to measure via web analytics), where she signs up for your newsletter (easy to measure via a marketing automation system). So far, so good.
But what if the prospect doesn’t end up buying anything from your organization for months? Meanwhile, she visits your organization’s website four times, clicks through on three marketing newsletter articles, downloads information, and also attends an event.
Which of these touches should receive credit for the revenue? Should it be the first touch—the original Tweet? Or should it be the newsletter, which obviously appealed to the prospect because she opened each issue and even clicked through on three articles? Or what about the event, which was the last touch before the prospect finally became a customer?