4 Tips Aimed at Defending Digital Marketing’s Value
“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don't know which half.”
John Wanamaker’s famous quip may be less true today than it was when he said it — we have so many ways to track and assess advertising and marketing performance. And yet, those same tools — largely digital tools — have also created unrealistic expectations for many marketers. This especially true for B2B marketers for whom sales aren’t consummated after a website click.
So we’re left in a state where the data available to us (and boy, there’s a lot of data!) doesn’t tell the whole story. This can often put marketers at a disadvantage when talking to the C-suite crowd.
Their interest is in profit and loss. Clicks, likes, and follows aren’t a currency they care about.
The question is, what can you do as a marketer to demonstrate the value your team’s work delivers?
Tie Digital Marketing to Business Outcomes
Begin by admitting that you can’t rely on process metrics alone – the clicks, likes, and follows I mentioned above. You must tie your work to business metrics. Ideally, that’s profit, but you can also demonstrate a positive return if your work impacts other key performance indicators, like revenue, cost savings, lead quality, or lead volume.
Admit to Marketing’s Uncertainties
Get your peers and upper management to buy into the fact that nearly all B2B marketing includes some amount of uncertainty. As noted earlier, our sales are more complex and there’s rarely a “Buy” button for prospects to click after consuming a piece of your content or connecting with you via social media.
Make Metrics Work for You
For many of us, this is the holy grail. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy.
You may have to work backward by, for example, diving into your CRM data to examine the profiles of converted prospects.
- How much content have they consumed?
- Where have they interacted with you on social media?
- Are they email subscribers?
- Have they attended industry events at which your executives have presented?
This won’t necessarily paint a causal effect, but can help you make the case that your marketing work is making a difference.
Seek Ongoing Incremental Improvement
Though this again will require metrics data that can be hard to establish with confidence, it’s worth tracking your progress any way you can. For example, is the percentage of converted leads who began their relationship with your firm via the website increasing or decreasing, compared to other methods? If you don’t know, can you create the tools you need to gather this information?
Ideally, we’d all spend 100% of our resources on reaching and converting our ideal prospects. But don’t shy away from investing in the systems that will let you do so more consistently, and with more accountability.
Since 1996, Andrew Schulkind has asked clients one simple question: what does digital marketing success look like, and how can marketing progress be measured?
A veteran content marketer, web developer, and digital strategist, Andrew founded Andigo New Media to help firms encourage audience engagement through solid information architecture, a great user experience, and compelling content. A dash of common sense doesn’t hurt, either.
His work touches social media, search-engine optimization, and email marketing, among other components, and he has presented at Social Media Week NY and WordCampNYC, among other events. His writing appears in various online and print publications.
Andrew graduated with a B.A. in Philosophy from Bucknell University. He engages in a range of community volunteer work and is an avid fly fisherman and cyclist. He also loves collecting meaningless trivia. (Did you know the Lone Ranger made his mask from the cloth of his brother's vest after his brother was killed by "the bad guys?")