20 April 2021
How to measure the impact of your marketing activity
Written by Jason Deign, Public Relations and Social Media Associate
“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted and the trouble is I don’t know which half.” This adage, variously attributed to John Wanamaker, Lord Leverhulme and others, underscores a deep challenge for traditional marketing: it’s hard to measure results.
Until recently, if someone bought your product you had little way of knowing (unless you asked each individual directly) whether they chose your brand because of your advertising, direct mail and public relations or because a higher power told them to. In the offline world, this remains a challenge.
Online, though, it’s a different matter. In the digital domain it’s easy to follow your path from one place to another, and companies such as Facebook and Google can see exactly when you click on a link and what you do afterwards.
The ease with which you can measure digital marketing outcomes has led to a stampede away from offline forms of promotion. Digital ad spend in the US grew 12% last year despite the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile some forms of traditional media saw spend falling more than 30%.
Digital B2B marketing
The heightened visibility you get with digital media is largely good news for marketers. By comparing how much you spend on digital activity with how much you sell through digital channels, you can build an accurate picture of your return on investment.
But digital doesn’t completely answer the question of how you measure the impact of your marketing activity. Sure, you can now see if a customer bought your product on Amazon after clicking on your Google ad, but sometimes you’re looking for a different kind of result.
Take business-to-business sales, for instance. You’d be hard pressed to find anyone buying an enterprise software system based on an online ad. In such situations, the key to measuring impact is to track actions that indicate increasing interest and engagement.
Let’s say a visitor clicks on an ad and gets to your website: that’s one level of engagement. But if they then download a case study or white paper, that’s a higher level altogether. Ultimately, what you are looking for is an excuse to make them an offer.
The importance of content
To do this, you need to understand us much as you can about them. And their clicks, downloads and signups can all help. It goes without saying that the more you can offer your customers—in terms of information, collateral, promotions and so on—the more complete a picture you can build.
That’s why digital marketing relies heavily on content, from brochures and data sheets to case studies and videos. You can also measure the effectiveness of these content marketing assets, but one way of gaining a head start is to work with an agency that already has a pedigree in delivering materials that get results.