How to Tell the Right ROI Story


Do you know the value of your marketing strategies? If your answer is no (or you don’t know), you’re not alone. A staggering 44% of B2B companies don’t even bother to track the ROI of their campaigns. And another 13% aren’t sure if they even measure ROI!

But B2B or B2C, if you’re not tracking the success of your marketing strategies, how do you know if they’re working? After all, isn’t the ultimate goal of content marketing to increase revenue and revenue-generating leads?

Marketing isn’t just about creating great content. ROI is the most important metric for your investors, and telling a positive ROI story is essential to showing how impactful content marketing can be. Here, we’ll explore how to define, measure and improve the ROI of your marketing campaigns so that you have a complete ROI picture.

The Importance of a Full ROI Story

Typically, ROI is thought of as a financial metric–dollars spent versus dollars made. But as marketing professionals, we know there are wins all along the marketing funnel. In order to tell a complete ROI story, you have to factor in the intangible benefits of your marketing efforts as well as the dollar signs.

If you’re looking at ROI solely as a means to demonstrate results and justify your marketing budget, you may not get the full picture of what’s working, what’s not and how you can make your marketing strategy better.

With the pressure on marketing managers to demonstrate value comes a risk of honing in on vanity metrics. Take web traffic as an example. In a survey of 600 B2B marketing specialists, 63% indicated they use web traffic to gauge content marketing success. Only 26% said they look at subscriber growth, and only 21% percent measure revenue.

While web traffic is often a useful metric to track and can be an impressive figure to show off to budget decision-makers, it doesn’t tell the full story. For a more complete ROI story, you need to track specific leading and ROI metrics that demonstrate the success of your marketing campaigns relative to your business model and goals.

How to Measure ROmI

ROI is about more than dollars in and dollars out. At its core, ROmI is about the impact of your marketing efforts. Are you reaching the right audience? Are they engaging positively? Are you converting leads into revenue-generating clients?

Tracking specific leading and ROI metrics can help you measure the success of your marketing campaigns in real time, painting a better picture of the overall ROI of your efforts. But the metrics you use and how you measure them will vary based on your business and goals. Let’s look at the three main types of business models and the most common leading and ROI metrics for each.

  1. Ecommerce Businesses
    For Ecommerce, common leading metrics include website traffic, newsletter subscribers, social media engagement, and items added to cart. Measuring clickthrough rates from ads to product and shopping cart pages can help you see how impactful your ad campaigns are and whether they’re leading to a potential sale.
    You can also set up destination goals in Google Analytics to measure the total number of page visitors that complete an ecommerce transaction and the average conversion rate.
    ROI metrics to look at include ecommerce transaction volume, average sales price and sales revenue. A CRM can help you measure and track ecommerce transactions, average sales price and sales revenue by channel and campaign.
  2. Lead Generation Businesses
    Business models that rely on lead generation can track leading metrics like website traffic, key form conversions, webinar and event attendance and demo completion to help measure the performance of their campaigns. But ROI metrics like lead volume, lead quality, lead conversion rate and closed business are the key indicators of success.
    Customer retention, churn, customer lifetime value, number of repeat customers and customer referrals are also important factors to consider in building a more holistic ROI story.
  3. Content Creation Businesses
    For content businesses, helpful leading metrics include web traffic, average session duration, average pages per session, and community engagements (comments, shares, survey completions, etc.). ROI metrics to look at include subscriptions (email lists, RSS feeds, app downloads, etc.) and subscription length.

Using Data for a Deeper ROI Story

When you are using your metrics to inform your strategy more than your budget, you’re going to get the insights you need to keep making it better. And that’s exactly how we approached a project with the global machining company, Makino.

We built a fully connected digital ecosystem for Makino and tracked specific data sets both monthly and quarterly to show just how successful our efforts were. This included metrics like:

  • Post-click interaction with content and conversions
  • Returning visitors and repeat customers
  • Paid media conversion rates

Using data and key metrics, we painted a pretty stellar ROI picture for Makino. Can we do that for you? We’d love to walk you through how we can create and improve digital marketing campaigns with measurable ROmI.