What’s the Biggest Challenge in Proving Marketing ROI?

April 19, 2017

While most marketers feel that it’s getting easier to prove marketing’s impact, only slightly more than one-quarter of marketers feel very effective in their ability to demonstrate marketing’s value internally, new research from TrackMaven has found. The main challenge appears to be attributing social and content to revenue, per the report.

Indeed, almost three-quarters (71%) of the 217 marketers surveyed for the report identified this as a challenge, far ahead of the other obstacles identified. Past research has indeed shown that social media and content marketing are among the most difficult channels to measure for ROI. Within the US, only 1 in 5 CMOs are able to demonstrate the impact of social media quantitatively.

Likely as as response to these difficulties, content performance and social media analytics are considered the most important digital components and features used by marketers.

However, even an improvement in social and content-based metrics may not be enough, as there seems to be a gap between marketing objectives and measurement. While the most important marketing objective in respondents’ eyes is to increase sales, only about half are using leads/sales metrics to evaluate the impact of their marketing. By contrast, large majorities are using engagement (91%) and consumption (82%) metrics to evaluate impact. Those may help with the social media priorities of increasing brand awareness and customer engagement, but are harder to tie to direct revenue goals.

Perhaps as a result, other key ROI challenges cited by the TrackMaven survey respondents include aligning KPIs with overall business goals and attributing leads to revenue.

Marketers Feel Relatively Secure

While marketers are finding difficulty in proving their impact internally – at a time when marketers are under greater pressure to prove their worth – this hasn’t led to feelings of job insecurity.

In fact, none of the marketers surveyed rate their level of job security as “insecure” – with the majority labeling themselves either “very secure” (22%) or “secure” (48%).

This may be due to their not being graded on performance and revenue. Just 21% share of respondents reported being incentivized based on marketing performance, while 23% said they’re compensated based on revenue and/or closed business. The largest proportion (29%) instead said their compensation is salary-based only, while almost one-quarter report other methods of compensation.

As for reporting and analytics, respondents estimated spending about one-quarter of their time collecting, organizing and analyzing marketing data, with most time instead spent on producing and planning content and campaigns. Marketers most commonly said they report on marketing results to superiors on a monthly basis (46%), though several report weekly (28%) and a few (3%) do so daily.

About the Data: The results are based on a survey of 217 marketers from a variety of company sizes and industries. A slight majority (53%) of respondents come from companies with at least 1,000 employees.

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