Marketers say measuring return on investment is at the top of their agenda, but almost four out of five admit they are not doing it successfully. It is one more headache for a profession that is expected to have robust commercial as well as creative skills.

A new eBook from Aprimo called “Got ROI? Prove It”  recommends five steps marketers can take to bridge the gap between the budget and the bottom line:

  • Have a clear vision of your strategy, its costs and the expected outcome;
  • Align your organisation around a comprehensive marketing plan and budget, then manage the funds at every level;
  • Create consistent, engaging and brand-compliant content;
  • Get your message to market with speed, agility and channel accuracy; and
  • Boost your marketing results through analytics, alignment, and assignment of resources to the highest-performing activities.

Imagine you’re the CMO sitting at the executive table and competing for financial and human resources in an organisation’s overall budget. All of your leadership peers from IT, finance, sales and operations are coming to the table with the same intent, and they come armed with detailed strategies, facts, figures, and plans. Clearly you need to do the same.

Mind the gap

Marketers face an additional hurdle in providing the necessary insights: the challenge of an ever-growing marketing resource gap. As complexity and the number of channels increases, so does the need to produce even more content to meet the customer where they are — and where they will be. With finite operational resources, marketing leaders are struggling to manage this gap. And sometimes day-to-day demands hijack the time which should be spent on the important strategy and creative work.

Marketing teams faced with this ever-growing marketing gap don’t have the luxury of spending their time on tasks that don’t align to the organisation’s strategy. Even when there is a will to share data and align to strategy, often disparate systems or a lack of repeatable processes preclude this happening easily. Spreadsheets, email inboxes, free web-based tools, and home-grown apps are not the preferred tools of the modern marketer.

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Aprimo’s VP of Marketing & Industry Solutions, Ed Breault, calls for a “true-north” platform that provides insights into the budget, content, people, and data which are required to produce great customer experiences across all channels and ultimately that elusive ROI.

First and foremost, you need to start with a centralised view of all marketing activities, both traditional and digital. Without this aggregated view — as well as the platform and the tools to support the process and capture the data and dollars — the challenge of tying your teams’ efforts to bottom-line performance might be insurmountable.

The Marketing Operational Gap

As we outlined in an earlier article,  software solutions like ERP fail to provide the view from the lens of the marketer. A good first step is to align all marketing activities to strategies, then identify the visibility needed by line of business, product, geography, campaign and other criteria to ensure efforts all contribute to a stronger ROI. Without the basics, there can be no hope for meaningful ROI calculations.

Ole King Content

Let’s not forget why the art is as important as the science. Great content drives engagement and sales. By defining processes and frameworks for content creation and reviews, inefficiencies can be removed without crippling creative freedom.

The other benefits of a structured approach to reviews — such as legal, brand and compliance — are that you avoid diluting your core message, reduce the risk of fines should you fail to meet regulatory standards, and avoid any potential customer backlash from misaligned content.

Channels, Channels, Everywhere

With so many places where consumers can purchase or simply engage with a brand, marketers have to contend with different content formats, methods, and versions to meet the consumer wherever they appear.

This type of content management requires an enterprise approach. The modern marketer can no longer afford to use home-grown solutions if she hopes to get the message to market with speed, agility and channel accuracy. Better organisation, collaboration, and empowerment of your channels — including your partner channel — can have significant positive impacts on your marketing ROI.

More importantly, long after the budget meetings are but a distant memory, you can take greater control of your marketing operations. And you will have the confidence to adjust your campaign spending and re-route dollars and resources to better-performing campaigns. This will ensure ROI is delivered while keeping the customers — and the CEO happy.

About the authors

Sean Campbell is a solutions consultant for Aprimo. He has worked with leading brands in the US, Europe, and APAC, helping them to transform their marketing operations. Andrew Birmingham is the director of the Which-50 Digital Intelligence Unit, of which Aprimo is a Corporate Member. Our members provide their insights and expertise for the benefit of the Which-50 community. Membership fees apply.

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