In Marketing (Automation), It’s All About ROI

You’ve been working with your marketing automation platform for a while, and now that your contract is coming up for renewal, your boss wants to justify the expense and to see the ROI of the platform.

Cue the dream sequence. You fondly think back to that time before you had a marketing automation platform in place, and you wonder how you got it all done. You’ve since managed to cut your email building time in half, and have managed to save most of your sanity once you triggered programs based on activity. You send a steady stream of qualified leads that turn into revenue for the business. The sales team lifts you on their shoulders and cheers your name. Look at you go.

Yes, marketing automation can both make you look like a hero and take much of the tedium out of routine tasks. At its most basic level, marketing automation platforms like Marketo, Hubspot, and Pardot allow you to automate and schedule communications based on time, activity or just about any other criteria your heart can dream of. Then, why isn’t that enough for your boss to recognize the value it provides?

Simply put, in marketing it’s all about ROI. But, here’s the catch. Measuring the ROI of a marketing automation system specifically is a bit harder to do because when implemented correctly, a marketing automation system demonstrates ROI for all marketing functions, not just itself.

Still with me?

The good news is that the best marketing automation platforms out there provide you with the data and metrics you need to demonstrate the ROI of all your marketing investments. Sometimes, as with Pardot, reporting is best served through syncing with robust dashboards in your Salesforce CRM. Or, in the case of Hubspot, you’ve got an all-in-one marketing automation/CRM solution to build from. No matter the automation platform you work with, the foundation is there to demonstrate ROI.

How do I measure ROI through my marketing automation platform?
To begin to completely measure the ROI of your marketing efforts (including your marketing automation platform), ask yourself these questions:

1. How are you tracking both online and offline activities? If you answered, “through my marketing automation platform,” you’re on the right track.

All marketing-influenced prospects, whether created through your digital channels or from a trade show or other offline activity, should be added to your marketing automation platform. They should be arranged under campaigns, scored accordingly, and synced with your CRM if that’s your process.

The challenge with adding offline prospects through importing (versus a form completion) is that you lose the ability to place a cookie at that time. Remember, you have additional opportunities to nurture your offline prospects, and most marketing automation systems track visitors until they are known, then will retroactively attach their behavior data.


2. What is your buyer’s journey?

Do you know how many touchpoints it takes on average to get a warm lead into an opportunity? Did you have to email them 3 times, or 7 times, before they were ready to engage with Sales? You should know how many buyers are in various stages of the journey, and you should also know how long it takes a new prospect to become ready to talk to sales.

To get a full picture of ROI, you should get a clear understanding of the buyer, where they come from, how long it takes them to buy, and what makes them tick. That’s how you can start to determine where and how much to invest through marketing efforts.


3. What are you measuring?

You should be evaluating conversion rates, both potential and won revenue, cost, and volume of leads created by campaign tactic. If you are utilizing a multi-touch attribution model, you are definitely ahead of the game. If not, you should be able to calculate ROI on multiple levels – at the specific campaign level, the tactic level, and the overall marketing ROI. Be sure you have reporting to reflect the detail for each of these levels.


4. How accurate is your opportunity data?

Regardless of how great your marketing automation system is, it is impossible to evaluate marketing ROI without having accurate revenue and opportunity numbers. Period. If your opportunity data is missing or incomplete, work to improve the accuracy of it. The more accurate your opportunity data is in your CRM, the more automatically the ROI for marketing efforts becomes apparent.

As marketers, it’s important for us to evaluate both won and lost opportunities towards the total ROI of our programs, because we learn from both scenarios to make better investments going forward. If you’re looking to increase the ROI on your current platform, fill out the form below to have one of our digital marketers reach out to you with tips and insights on how to use your marketing automation to full capacity.