How CMOs Can Prove the ROI of Tech Investments

March 4th, 2016

How CMOs Can Prove the ROI of Tech Investments

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Technology used to be only a concern of the IT department, but these days, even the most entry-level employee is expected to have basic knowledge of online tools. It’s a field so important, it’s spread across all teams within an organization.

According to Gartner, by 2017 the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) will spend more on IT than the CIO. Validating the increase in spending on marketing technology, such as marketing automation and social media management, will require an even more specific understanding of each tool’s ROI.

Only 44% of CMOs say, “I can measure ROI,” but this number has to increase if the CMO wants to increase their marketing budget. The CMO must have the right technologies to measure, test, and analyze their marketing efforts. Here are a few metrics the CMO must understand and track in order to prove the ROI of their investments.

Aligned Goals

First and foremost, the CMO must set in place goals that the executive team agree to and understand. It is important to have your marketing goals aligned with the overall company goals. With a solid strategy in place, you’ll have specific goals to measure and be able to effectively find out what tools you need in order to be successful.

Once you’ve established what tools can measure your goals, you can weigh the price of investing in such platforms with the benefits of using one. This is the most simplistic form of ROI, but an important model to understand and use when justifying a purchase. Naturally, ROI will become one goal within your many other goals for success.

Focused KPIs

While vanity metrics may impress the junior staff, the CEO is interested in real value. Focus your KPIs on measuring for success instead. Rather than focusing on followers, page views, or impressions, analyze your data on website analytics, audience engagement, and most importantly, conversions.

Converting your visitors into leads and sales will prove that the spend is worthwhile to the company. 79% of B2B marketers believe social media is an effective marketing channel, but you must be able to provide data and facts using your marketing software.

Whatever software you choose should easily demonstrate the statistics of who is converting, at what rates, and from what content. Engagement is a key indicator of marketing success. It’s what leads to conversion and is easily measured on social media. When it comes to proving ROI of tools that measure engagement, make sure to connect the dots from your marketing ideals to the end result.

Integrated CRM

51% of CMOs say that a lack of sharing customer data within their organization is a barrier to effectively measuring their marketing ROI. Make sure your sales team is aligned with your strategy and effectively following your leads through the funnel. Your platforms, such as social media management software, should be flawlessly integrated with your marketing automation and your CRM platform, such as Salesforce.

This should allow easy tracking of your lead source, any interaction, and all follow-ups. Data showing where the sales first originated will validate your marketing efforts. As most sales teams use CRM platforms, it’s easier to show the value of marketing software if it can work in tandem with an existing investment.

Proven Technology

Now that you are armed with the strategies to rationalize technology investments, it’s time to choose the tools to implement. Identifying the tools right for your business can be an overwhelming task when the market is overflowing with viable options. There are a few essential platforms, programs, and features you are probably already using, but if you are just working out budget details based on ROI, you can begin to work with these assets.

Marketing automation software is the broad stroke term used to describe the tools that aid your marketing efforts, from email campaigns to social media to larger-scale projects. The prices of these platforms and programs range from a couple hundred to thousands of dollars a month. Depending on the scale of your business and marketing budget, the solution fit to your needs is out there. However, it’s important to note that marketing automation enhances but doesn’t replace the manpower and creative thinking provided by a marketing team.

In a world where users can read an email or access social media on just about any device, companies without responsive web design are missing a huge market of customers and limiting their reach. A recent study found that in late 2014, only 18.7% of top-tier websites analyzed were responsive. While that percentage is likely to have grown in a year, it is still a staggering number of businesses not adapting to a mobile world. Investing in responsive web design is one of the most measurable ROIs within your marketing capabilities.

Analytics are driving so many marketing strategies as of late, it’s surprising companies got by without them. While all marketing automation platforms have some form of analytics, you can also have a separate program to strengthen your comprehension of what works and what doesn’t. Having a proper analysis platform can take a statistics-driven plan to the next level. Some statistics hold more weight than others and can have a positive impact on aiming content to your audience or understanding customer needs. Engagement is a huge part of this, so make sure to look for an analytics program that includes numbers about user interaction.

Justifying value is an achievable goal when you have the right tools, right statistics and right strategies to lay out plans, KPIs, and integration across an organization. Social media marketing budgets are projected to double over the next five years, and 85% of companies are using social networks already. However, only 14% tie financial metrics to social media. The CMO must be able to validate their spending if they plan on increasing their budget on marketing technology.

More than a third of CMOs say that digital marketing will account for 75% or more of their spending within the next five years. In order to be successful in the digital marketing world, you’ll need technology platforms to provide and analyze your data.

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