Measuring Marketing ROI: 13 Simple And Effective Strategies

It’s pretty common to see marketing agencies focus on a singular dollars-and-cents approach to explaining the effectiveness of a marketing strategy to their clients. The vital misstep in this approach comes from assuming that clients are solely interested in the cost-to-return ratio of a policy. In many cases, businesses are less concerned about the spend and more worried about the value it generates, whether that is in returns or less-tangible metrics like customer loyalty.

ROI isn’t the only way to connect with clients. Below, 13 members of Forbes Agency Council discuss the metrics and strategies they use to explain the success of a marketing campaign to their clients in simple, understandable ways.

Marketing ROI - 13 Simple Strategies

1. Create A Measurement Dashboard

We help our clients create a measurement dashboard with marketing metrics that all lead up to achieving their sales goal. These could include number of email newsletter subscribers, number of fans and followers on social media platforms, number of people who attend live in-person events, number of sales calls made by sales staff, and number of inbound phone calls inquiring about a new promotion. – Nancy Marshall, Marshall Communications

2. Show Clients Where The ROI Is Happening

While clients love to see results, they love seeing a breakdown of the results even more. When you show clients the individual channels that are experiencing a steady ROI, you form a bond with them. They’re more appreciative of you showing the exact marketing channels they are excelling in as opposed to “we’ve seen a lot of growth.” It provides a sense of clarity, honesty and trust. – Charles Mazzini, Hyperlinks Media, LLC

3. Specify Measurable KPIs

Definitions of success vary depending on many variables, including the type of the campaign, media selected, or the product/service position in the marketing funnel. It’s important to clarify agreed-upon goals early on, then create key performance indicators (KPI) that will help the agency and the client measure and track the success of the campaign. – Ahmad Kareh, Twistlab Marketing

4. Treat The Marketing Spend Like It’s Yours

Traditional marketing agencies use acronyms that most clients can’t bank on, like ROAS, CAC, CTR and CVR. These are all ratios that a client can’t put in their pocket. Think of it as your own money and put it in terms of whether you drove profitable traffic into their pocket. Our agency found that it’s important to measure gross profit, which is sales minus cost of goods sold and marketing expenses. – Michael Fox, Corberry Digital

5. Measure Each Activity Separately

One thing that works for us is segmentation. It helps our clients understand and appreciate our marketing activities much better. If you can segment metrics down to each marketing activity, it becomes easy to track ROI. We normally track sales, the lead volume against website traffic, the sources of traffic and total traffic over different periods of time. – Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS

6. Tie ROI To Client-Specific KPIs

It’s helpful to educate clients so they understand that ROI measurements will vary depending on the marketing tactic being examined. PPC campaigns will be easy to track and measure while content marketing campaigns are more complex. We like to develop specific KPIs connected to the client’s organizational goals and agree on those before campaigns launch. Then we monitor and report on our progress. – Mary Ann O’Brien, OBI Creative

7. Look At Share Of Voice

Organic, earned media and share of voice are ways we measure ROI. We look at PR impressions, social media impressions and engagement to offer insight into the impact of the campaign. Share of voice percentages also resonate well and allow better articulation of ROI in specific markets. – Dustin Callif, Tool of North America

8. Measure Brand Awareness

The first reminder for the clients lies in the fact that the long-term investment in SEO and content marketing doesn’t lead to a sale immediately. So we measure brand awareness (clicks, interactions) constantly and show the dynamics. Another indicator is customer lifetime value or the customers’ loyalty, because about 80% percent of the company’s profit comes from 20% of the returning customers. – Oganes Vagramovich Barsegyan, Digital Beverly Marketing Solutions

9. Assess U&A Metrics Affecting Purchase Intent

Business impact is ultimately what clients seek, but it can be challenging for them to articulate. And it’s not a universal metric. For instance, I work with many commodity boards and trade associations that are charged with increasing demand for a product category (i.e., not directly selling). So we assess key usage and attitude (U&A) metrics that affect purchase intent, such as preference and health attributes. – Edward Hoffman

10. Look At Cost Per Acquisition

Every business/client is looking for ROI. The easiest way to know if your campaigns are working is by tracking the metrics. Google Analytics can work for this. Take a look at your attribution report in analytics to quickly find out the number of leads/purchases per channel (Google ads, organic, social, etc). Use the number of leads/purchases and divide it by the cost associated with each channel. – Sean Allen, Twelve Three Media

11. Keep A Pulse On The Market

Beyond immediate ROI, brands need to look at their overall brand lift and halo effects, which naturally raise other channels as a result of marketing efforts. Brands need to value the agency’s core competency in marketing and have a wider purview on the entire market. If a brand tries to leverage in-house, it’s hard for them to keep up with fast moving media marketplace trends, which is invaluable. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne LLC

12. Measure Customer Interactions

One great feature about today’s modern era of social media and digital discussion is that you can actually see what people have to say about your brand. Being able to show an increase in positive sentiment and engagement among customers will go a long way with clients. Happy customers go hand in hand with dollars and cents. – Darian Kovacs, Jelly Digital Marketing & PR

13. Look At The Customer Journey

Clients expect our revenue-driven actions to be profitable and scalable, so it’s important to track your results using the right data. For the most part clients will want to see an immediate return on a month-to-month basis and in order to manage expectations and track your true ROI (not just ROAS) there are some KPIs you should not overlook, such as cost per acquisition and customer lifetime value. – Alex Quin, UADV