B2B Marketer: Challenges in Calculating Marketing ROI

Anurag Khemka
President and CEO-RightWave
Tuesday, October 20, 2015
Anurag Khemka
Ever since John Wannamaker's century-old famous quote "Half of the money I spend on advertisement is wasted, the trouble is I do not know which half." marketing has relentlessly tried to find a reliable way to determine ROI of its initiatives, but remained unsuccessful due to the lack of reliable tracking and credible attribution models. However, in last two decades both technical capabilities and systems have evolved that can accurately track and record activities with proper source attributions enabling advanced analytics and reporting. When attributed correctly with reliable marketing funnel model, accurate returns from marketing campaigns can be calculated to not only help marketing determine which half must be improved, but also justify marketing spend by demonstrating impact of marketing on business growth and sales productivity. This development in the "Marketing Science" is phenomenal as this can change Marketing's status from a cost center to a profit center.

The biggest impact of maturing of both Sales Force Automation (SFA) and marketing automation (MA) systems is on how the B2B marketer must improve the ways to conduct business. Both SFA and MA platforms provide the core infrastructure to track and measure almost all prospect and customer touch point. However, according to Sirius Decision fewer that 20percent of the B2B organizations are comfortable with their ability to quantify the return on Marketing spend. The challenges now lie in setting, configuring, and operating these platforms to reliably track and extract information that can be meaningfully interpreted, analyzed and reported on consistently.

Most modern systems can provide easy metrics for direct ROI, like clicks and registrations from emails, visits from social media or PPC, attendees in a webinar, cost per lead or per MQL from an event etc. But true ROI requires connecting the dots from each campaign interaction to creation of opportunity and closedwon revenue. B2B Marketers face following challenges in calculating end-to-end ROI:-

1. Tracking and measurement: While the ability to track each marketing touch point is getting better, campaign setup and channel integrations must be carefully configured to consistently measure accurate attribution. Automated tracking must be supplemented with manual tracking for offline channels.

2. Distributed systems of record: With lots of technologies, SaaS systems, and marketing channels in use, the data today is highly distributed.This data must be brought together for appropriate attribution and analysis.

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