Measuring ROI on content marketing is not straightforward; that is why most firms put measurement on the back burner. But measuring doesn’t have to be difficult and is an essential part of each content marketing strategy.
I asked a panel of B2B marketing experts “How can B2B marketers measure return on investment (leads generated, market awareness etc) for the money/effort spent on creating and marketing content? Share one example of ROI tool/strategy that has worked either for you or your client.”
Ardath Albee: “Depth of Engagement”
Ardath Albee is a B2B Marketing Strategist. Her company Marketing Interactions helps companies with complex sales and quantify marketing effectiveness by using interactive e-marketing strategies driven by compelling content. She empowers her clients to create customer-centric nurturing programs that leverage strategic story development to engage prospects until they are sales ready. Ardath’s book, eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale is now shipping!
Ardath’s ROI on Content Marketing Tip
B2B buying cycles are lengthening. This is due to expanded self-education via the vast amount of information online, more people involved in the buying process and the resulting increase in time it takes to gain consensus to get to complex purchase decisions.
This means that marketers must keep their prospects’ attention for longer periods of time as they traverse the steps of their internal buying process. And that requires a lot of relevant content mapped to each stage of that buying process.
Depth of engagement can be measured by activity levels – how much of your content prospects view and interact with across each buying stage. But the true measure of depth of engagement is in making the transition to conversations. How willing are prospects to pick up the phone when an inside sales rep contacts them by phone to discuss their interests?
During a re-engagement nurturing program for an IT Services and Solutions firm, the client combined content touches with phone calls to validate prospect interest and qualify their level of sales readiness. The inside sales reps were also armed with follow-on content offers that related to the subject matter of the content the prospect had viewed.
Within a 3-month period of execution for the program, the combination enabled the company to reactivate dormant leads and add $4.5M to their pipeline. That’s a solid return on investment and tied directly to revenue performance related to content investment.
Maria Pergolino: “Simple Content Creates Quality Leads!”
Maria Pergolino is Director of Marketing at Marketo, leading their efforts in adoption of social media channels for brand awareness and demand generation. She has worked in marketing for over ten years, and specifically in online marketing including social media, search marketing, and lead generation and nurturing for the past six. Maria has a Marketing Degree and MBA from the School of Business at Rutgers University, is a Salesforce Certified Administrator, and a speaker at numerous marketing events. She has also written for many marketing blogs, and is a frequent contributor to Marketo’s popular blog, Modern B2B Marketing.
Maria’s ROI on Content Marketing Tip
One of the top challenges for any marketer is measuring marketing ROI. A study from Marketing Outlook states over half of CMOs say their top challenge is quantifying and measuring the value of marketing programs and their investments. Statements like this show how measuring the impact of marketing on business metrics is vital to justify and earn marketing additional funding and resources for marketing campaigns.
To efficiently measure marketing ROI, it’s important to focus on the whole revenue cycle and how marketing contributes to boosting the bottom line. To truly measure this activity, a revenue performance management solution is essential to take into account every factor including time and how it impacts marketing’s ability to generate predictable revenue.
The first step to measuring marketing’s contribution to the business is by analyzing the common revenue analytics stages:
Common Revenue Analytics Stages
- Inventory – This stage holds leads and accounts until they are ready to move to another stage in the cycle. This stage is an optimal holding area, as it doesn’t have a time limit.
- Gate – Serving as a qualification check, the gate stage has no time dimension. If the lead meets a certain criteria such as revenue, the lead moves to the next stage. If the lead doesn’t meet the criteria, it moves to the disqualified stage.
- SLA – This stage is active when a defined maximum time is reached in which leads become evaluated before moving forward or out of the process. This would work with leads that may become stale after a given amount of days and would require additional nurturing.
After defining the stages of the revenue cycle, marketers are in a position to measure the quality of marketing programs from any point in time. By gathering data on the number of leads that enter each stage in each time period, marketers are also able to determine which sources generate the leads that convert faster and easier down the funnel.
With these areas defined and addressing areas where time impacts marketing ROI, such as no payoffs for longer time frames or how past marketing campaigns affect current period results, marketers can create find and provide accurate marketing investment reports and projections. With total revenue performance management solution, marketing can easily measure and optimize the revenue cycle and accelerate predictable revenue generation.