I get asked the same question so often that it’s starting to sound like an echo in my head. “Kristin, how do I build a marketing plan and budget that drive the highest results?” According to HubSpot, 40% of marketers say that proving ROI is their biggest challenge, so you’re not alone! Whether you’re spending $500 or $5,000/month on marketing, you need to be able to connect your spend to your outcomes. It can be a complex puzzle to measure those results, but it’s a challenge we want to help you take on with a new way of looking at marketing ROI.
It’s All About Influence
Traditionally, marketers have connected results to the last touch a customer received before the sale, or donation, or conversion. But that type of measurement ignores the entire journey that led the customer to that point. That’s why here at The Source Marketing Group, we focus on the idea of influence.
The reality is that in today’s environment, people are influenced by a complex and often non-linear combination of digital, in-person, and print interactions. There is rarely a single marketing activity that converts a customer. Rather, it’s the entire sum of that person’s experiences with your company and brand that affects their action. We call this the Buyer’s journey. Each interaction is a point of influence that drives the customer’s future actions – each instagram post liked, email opened, event attended, or ad viewed.
Most organizations have been slow to adopt marketing strategies and budgets that reflect the reality of influence marketing. It’s more common to simply measure revenue generated through their pipeline and pay most attention to that last action before conversion. But this approach doesn’t show the reality of how that person was influenced by the 7, 8, 9, or 19 touches before that action. Without understanding the impact of all of those interactions, you’ll never be able to confidently develop a marketing plan that drives the results you want.
Change the Way You Plan and Budget
So how should you change your strategy to reflect this reality? You can create a measurement method that tracks results both from your pipeline and from influence, and then tie those results back to your marketing spends. Make it your goal to understand how every single touch affects your customers’ decision-making. Then use this engagement data to discern which activities seem to matter most, and adjust and enhance constantly.
Understanding data around influence will let you optimize your marketing campaigns confidently, down to the smallest detail. And make sure your marketing plan and budget leaves space for frequent refinement, because we often observe scenarios with dependencies like this:
- At the start of the year you thought you needed to focus on social media.
- But when you start measuring the big picture of influence, you notice customers from social media aren’t converting on your website because the user experience is bulky and outdated.
- You discover you need to optimize your website so it doesn’t have a negative influence on your audience, and when you do that, your social conversion rate goes up.
Voilà, the power of influence!
Putting it into Practice
I understand that all of this is easy to say, but challenging to put into practice. But I guarantee that once you start collecting data on every piece of your customers’ journeys, you’ll not only be able to show the value of all of your marketing activities, but you’ll be able to have even more impactful budgets and strategies as you move forward. I want to help you create a marketing plan and budget that track the right results and measure which activities have the highest influence.
Send me an email today if you feel overwhelmed by how to measure this, but know you need to start! Together we can navigate the complex web of your marketing influence and make progress toward the outcomes you want to see.
Kristin is the CEO/Founder of The Source Marketing Group. The marketing agency is focused on elevating female-, veteran-, and minority-owned businesses.