3 Ways To Make Your Marketing ROI Visible

Visibility of Revenue
James T FletcherJames T Fletcher
CEO, Principal Consultant


As marketers, we know the kind of amazing work we can do with the tools we have and the budgets we are given.  So let’s make sure that the impact of our work on the company’s bottom line is visible.

The need for visibility of marketing ROI is not a fad–it’s here to stay. 

That’s because, as long as marketing spending keeps growing, revenue impact visibility will continue to be a key metric for marketers.  A Forrester study notes that digital marketing spend will reach $146 billion by 2023, growing at a 9% compound annual growth rate. 

While this growth in spend seems hefty (and, quantitatively, it IS!), that expenditure will be spread over an ever-growing number of channels and technology to ensure maximum reach. As marketing budgets grow, so does the need to ensure results and demonstrate ROI across all these new areas.  

In other words: the more money is spent by marketing, the bigger the need to demonstrate the impact.

Because of this, CMOs are feeling increasingly pressured to showcase and justify budgetary spend, and they are looking to data from marketing automation tools to shape – or give a story, if you will – to their strategy results. However, data on its own isn’t the solution.  Data isn’t enough: it needs to be translated into actionable insights.

These pressures are being further compounded by the entry into many boardrooms of the Chief Revenue Officer (CRO), a figure with an eye towards finding ways in which businesses can grow and scale (and with the ability to enact the budget cuts to make this growth happen).  

It’s no wonder, then, that visibility of revenue impact is such a central concern for CMOs, who find themselves pressed to prove that their marketing strategy does, in fact, propel wider business growth and ROI.

Given the importance of showcasing the revenue generated by your strategy…

How can you make sure you are maximising the visibility of your marketing impact?

Here are three key ways to ensure that you are building revenue recognition into your marketing strategy:

1. Show the worth of every touchpoint in your customer journey with a lead attribution model

Take a look at where your leads are interacting with you. These patterns will help you build an attribution model with touchpoints along the buying journey. Once you’ve identified these points, check out the levels of interaction and lead behaviour at each point.  Which of these points are providing the most value to your organisation? At which points are your leads converting into sales?  

Having a clear marketing attribution model will help you direct your budgets to maximise ROI across the buying journey, allowing you to allocate budget and resources where they have the greatest impact or are needed most.  

Marketing automation platforms are invaluable tools for this. Not only can they help you identify your attribution touchpoints, but they can also derive a cost per lead (CPL) at each stage of the journey, giving you the key stats you need to show the boardroom exactly how much they are getting, at every point, for their marketing buck.

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2. Translate data into actionable insights with reporting

It’s not enough to know how many leads and conversions you’ve netted. You can have a database full of data but, if that data can’t be interpreted and turned into actionable insights, you won’t be able to show ROI.

The reporting functionalities in marketing automation platforms allow you to measure and track campaign performance at macro and micro levels. Not only will you be able to generate out-of-the-box reports, but you’ll also be able to customise reports to view successes and results by channel or events, link leads to specific marketing efforts, and connect marketing initiatives to sales outcomes. 

These reports will help you draw a full picture of where your marketing spend is going and what you are getting for it – and then act on this information. Which brings us to our final point…

3. Use technology to respond to your findings

Having technology to act on your insights allows you to make changes along the buyer journey at specific points and as needed by specific leads and types of leads. And, because those insights are based on data and can be compared by metrics, you’ll be able to predict the results of your future investment and budget.

Marketing automation platforms and their array of functionality make it easy to act on your campaign results and correct your marketing course, so to speak. 

You’ll be able to:

  • See, test, and amend personalisation options for email campaigns and landing pages
  • Shift leads from one campaign to another based on their behaviour through lead nurturing campaigns
  • Create alerts for sales to jump in when leads are deemed ready to buy, aligning marketing and sales teams and building strong customer relationships
  • Predict lead behavior based on interaction patterns across all channels and score leads to improve lead generation strategies

By deploying marketing automation software to deliver your marketing strategy, you’ll be able to showcase your team’s responsiveness to individual leads and market trends, as well as manage and track budgetary shifts and (importantly) demonstrate revenue growth from these adjustments, helping you draw comparisons that show the worth of your marketing’s efforts on ROI.

Remember:  you need visibility into your marketing to provide visibility out to your stakeholders.  

A previous version of this piece was published in B2B Marketing.