A Better Way to Calculate the ROI of Your Marketing Investment

“Marketers have access to data [today] that allows them to track individuals’ various interactions with a brand before their purchase, and better understand what role each interaction … played in the eventual sale.

This approach, called “attribution modeling, ” allows companies to attribute appropriate credit to each online and offline contact and touch point in a customer’s purchase cycle, and understand its role in the revenues that ultimately result.

Developing an attribution model is a gradual process. You can’t get there all at once. There are four key stages in the journey:”

Sales Renewal’s insight:

The authors lay out an excellent road map, but like most things in life, the devil is in the details. Sales Renewal, as Growth Spurt readers know, focuses on small businesses and the details are particularly devilish for them since they don’t have the technical & financial resources of the big boys.

Almost all small businesses rely on Google Analytics (GA) for the authors’ Step 1 because it’s free and will tell them what marketing activity to credit for bringing the visitor to the site (ad click, natural search, etc), which pages they clicked through, and whether in the end they converted into a lead or sale. The challenge small businesses face therefore isn’t “data in different databases” but the limits of GA.

For example, imagine a visitor who comes to a site by clicking an online ad, clicks thru pages 1, 2 & 3 and then purchases something. So using a simple attribution model, you might think GA will credit the ad campaign for the sale. It turns out, however, that it does not: if takes more than 30 minutes for them to click from page 2 to page 3, GA loses track and considers the page 3 click to be an entirely new session. GA will report 2 different visitors (the first who came from the ad, the second who magically started out on page 3) and so does not attribute the sale to the ad click.

Sales Renewal’s business model (sharing the risk & reward) makes us very big believers in ROI-focused marketing but it’s a very challenging thing to do, especially for small businesses. That’s one of the reasons, for instance, that we’ve been developing our SR Analytics system for 6 years.

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