“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.”
John Wanamaker’s famous quip may be less true today than it was when he said it — we have so many ways to track and assess advertising and marketing performance. And yet, those same tools — largely digital tools — have also created unrealistic expectations for many marketers. This especially true for B2B marketers for whom sales aren’t consummated after a website click.
So we’re left in a state where the data available to us (and boy, there’s a lot of data!) doesn’t tell the whole story. This can often put marketers at a disadvantage when talking to the C-suite crowd.
Their interest is in profit and loss. Clicks, likes, and follows aren’t a currency they care about.
The question is, what can you do as a marketer to demonstrate the value your team’s work delivers?
Tie Digital Marketing to Business Outcomes
Begin by admitting that you can’t rely on process metrics alone – the clicks, likes, and follows I mentioned above. You must tie your work to business metrics. Ideally, that’s profit, but you can also demonstrate a positive return if your work impacts other key performance indicators, like revenue, cost savings, lead quality, or lead volume.
Admit to Marketing’s Uncertainties
Get your peers and upper management to buy into the fact that nearly all B2B marketing includes some amount of uncertainty. As noted earlier, our sales are more complex and there’s rarely a “Buy” button for prospects to click after consuming a piece of your content or connecting with you via social media.
Make Metrics Work for You
For many of us, this is the holy grail. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy.
You may have to work backward by, for example, diving into your CRM data to examine the profiles of converted prospects.
- How much content have they consumed?
- Where have they interacted with you on social media?
- Are they email subscribers?
- Have they attended industry events at which your executives have presented?
This won’t necessarily paint a causal effect, but can help you make the case that your marketing work is making a difference.
Seek Ongoing Incremental Improvement
Though this again will require metrics data that can be hard to establish with confidence, it’s worth tracking your progress any way you can. For example, is the percentage of converted leads who began their relationship with your firm via the website increasing or decreasing, compared to other methods? If you don’t know, can you create the tools you need to gather this information?
Ideally, we’d all spend 100% of our resources on reaching and converting our ideal prospects. But don’t shy away from investing in the systems that will let you do so more consistently, and with more accountability.