“My marketing ROI is far too low”

If you’re not sure what your true marketing ROI is today but you “feel” like it’s too low, overwhelming experience and evidence points to your “feeling” being correct.  From a financial perspective you should expect a positive return on investment (ROI) from your marketing spend.  That is to say you should expect several dollars of incremental sales or revenue from every additional marketing dollar of invested.  The ROI number and over exactly what period of time you can and should expect to receive that return is dependent on a number of factors, but absolutely should be calculated and tracked such that you have leading indicators in the short and medium term.  The days of advertising and marketing “spray and pray” are over and those not doing marketing ROI forecasts, calculations and analysis are now at a competitive disadvantage. 

You know your business now needs marketing to drive demand and revenue to meet your growth objectives but you don’t want to be in a position where you’re making a large marketing investment today and not getting a return for several years (if that was not the plan).  Figuring out 2-3 years after your major marketing spending initiative that your marketing ROI was terrible is usually accompanied by a number of people being reassigned or terminated.   It is not a coincidence that the average CMO tenure for B2B companies is less than 3 years or that the “new CMO, bigger budget, higher agency costs, etc.” cycle involves a lot of high profile activities and beautiful content for ~2 years as a substitute for ROI discussions and analysis. These trends and facts are unfortunate but also unnecessary based on what we now know about B2B demand generation and marketing-to-Sales attribution, and because of the forecasting and ROI measurement tools we now possess.

High ROI business-to-business marketing requires a strategic targeting drill to focus your resources on only the highest return areas and prospects and then the creation of a custom buyer’s journey through which you efficiently take your prospects until they’re ready to evaluate a short list of vendors (which you’ll always be on), and ultimately make their buying decision.  This buyer’s journey will have distinct phases through which you will score and progress each prospect with compelling phase-specific messaging and content until they’re ready for a controlled and verified “hand-off” to Sales.  This means that you’ll need to use a mix of strategic planning, creative campaign and content design, innovative execution and careful budgeting and forecasting to ensure that the investment you make will give you your expected long-term and medium-term ROI (along with as many “quick wins” as possible of course).  It also means you’ll know how you are tracking toward your goals before you are 2 or 3 years into a marketing program.

Marketing does not need to be high risk, but if you use too simplistic an approach to it, then your risk of low ROI is almost assured.  While it is theoretically possible that a few single executions of attractive marketing can magically deliver massive demand, this is akin to playing the lottery as means to pay for retirement.   

The most predictable, highest-ROI B2B marketing has 3 key elements:

  1. The Drill: The most intensive, specialized-for-you, ROI-producing targeting drill in the world
  2. The Black Box: The design, build, management and tuning of your buyer’s journey-based B2B demand generation machine
  3. The Hand Off: The unification of your Sales and Marketing demand generation hand-off and deal closing functions

B2B³ are experts at delivering these elements and associated ROI metrics, with decades of experience and testing to refine them for B2B companies of all types and sizes, from F500 companies and divisions to privately held growth stage companies and everything in between.  If you would like B2B³ to help you plan for, extract, and measure meaningful ROI from your marketing investments, please call us today.

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