Return on marketing investment – the importance of seeing the bigger picture

To use a couple of sporting analogies, every marketer wants to score the equivalent of a bullseye or a hole in one. In other words, achieve a high score with the minimum effort. But just as in sport, it’s not always an easy task – however marketers can hit their targets by relying more on expertise and data, rather than just chance.

It starts with accurate media reports measuring the effectiveness of marketing efforts and investments. A lot of companies make do with media reports that are either not holistic – i.e. they focus on one channel and don’t take into account the existence and impact of other channels – or they are just a ‘snapshot in time’.

In other words, we need to look at the ‘bigger picture’ in terms of measuring the effectiveness of all marketing channels together, as well as any seasonal variations.

Be strategic

This approach should be strategic rather than tactical; companies need to look at marketing metrics in the longer term, rather than take the short-term view. Not looking out beyond the immediate horizon can result in:

  • missing a steady decline, or increase, in a channel’s performance
  • a lack of insight into the performance of each marketing channel at different times of the year, so not understanding seasonal impacts
  • not determining the ability for one channel to boost the performance of another when it is switched on
  • not recognising the impact of budget reductions in one channel on another.

It seems that few companies are stepping back and looking at trends over time, with all the channels measured together. Econometrics studies go some way towards helping to achieve this which, although useful, can be time-consuming and expensive. Also, they don’t provide a clear view of the effects of seasonal marketing activities.

More importantly the outputs don’t have the level of detail – such as campaigns and keywords – typically needed to optimise digital channels and direct marketing.

Optimise channels’ ROMI over time

What is needed is an attribution solution that provides detailed Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI) data over time, measuring digital and direct channels alongside each other, with the ability to drill down forensically into campaign detail.

Such a solution can even indicate at what stage of the sales funnel each channel and campaign are most effective and with which type(s)of customers – i.e. existing customers or those new to the brand. The ability to easily see such trends in marketing performance over the long term reveals a number of key truths, such as:

  • an overall decline or increase in the efficiency of all channels
  • natural variation in ROMI due to seasonality, and
  • the interaction (dependence or cannibalism) across different channels.

An attribution solution with built-in ROMI measurement over time enables marketing teams to step back and take a fresh look at their marketing budget and media mix. It empowers them to make well-informed, multi-channel decisions about how to drive more sales from the right types of customers and deploy the whole marketing budget more effectively.

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UniFida is the trading name of Marketing Planning Services Ltd, a London based technology and data science company set up in 2014. Our overall aim is to help organisations build more customer value at less marketing cost.

Our technology focus has been to develop UniFida. Data science business comes both from existing users of UniFida, and from clients looking to us to solve their more complex data related marketing questions.

Marketing is changing at an explosive speed. Our ambition is to help our clients stay empowered and ahead in this challenging environment.