07 Mar Do all Marketing Activities Require an ROI?
In the small to mid-sized business space, the conversation around marketing ROI frequently surfaces when discussing a website redesign or tactical marketing activities. The dilemma inherent to this discussion is that many of the baseline initiatives like website design, website functionality, social media, and sales support can’t be accomplished without completed basic marketing tasks. Is it fair to say that each and every marketing activity is attached to some form of revenue uptick that can truly be measured? In many scenarios, it’s a requirement to engage in some or all of these activities just to compete within an industry.
Redesigning a Website
For instance, let’s consider a company in a highly competitive space that has a 4-year-old website, no social media presence, no website calls to action, no published content, and spends $0 on marketing. On the flipside, there are other companies in this same industry that are highly active in all of the social media platforms, have a recently designed website, communicate regularly with their audience through email marketing, publish regular content, and showcase their leaders in various forums and other digital spaces. These 2 companies are obviously on polar ends of the marketing spectrum.
Now, let’s assume that the company with $0 budget is around $10 Million in revenue, has single digit growth year to year, and is basically unknown to their target audience unless they are out cold calling. This company is also unaware of what visitors do on their website, if they ever come back, how long they stay, how they got there, or if they left because the company looks like they closed up shop 4 years ago. Usually, companies like this don’t have a resident marketing department and only engage in marketing activities when required or when it appears as an absolute necessity. However, when a company like this decides to make a marketing move, the following question always comes up: What’s my ROI on my website redesign, or performing this XYZ marketing activity?
What this company doesn’t understand is that this may not be a viable question in today’s age of marketing. Is there a clearly mapped ROI when redesigning a 5-year-old website, creating a digital presence, or building a following? Maybe, maybe not.
The landscape of marketing has completely changed over the past 10 years. In fact, the speed at which change is occurring has multiplied as of recent, especially for B2B companies. The process for finding buyers, building awareness, and validating B2B SMB brands has been turned upside down with various changes in search engine algorithms, content search value, LinkedIn’s news and publishing strategy, and mobile device usage. In order for a company to stay current with their marketing strategy, they must adopt a new way of thinking when it comes to their digital presentation and what it means to their business. In an age where company transparency is out in the open, businesses need to engage in certain activities in order to button up their public brand identity across the board. Clients, prospects and candidates can easily look behind the curtain by checking out a company’s LinkedIn company page (if one exists), Google searches, ex-employee profiles, Facebook, and by sniffing around a company’s website.
When the question comes up as to how echogravity measures the marketing ROI on a website redesign or creating/managing a digital presence, we often compare it to accounting, because there is no true ROI when it comes to measuring accounting in a company. Realistically, nobody really ever thinks about how to measure how accounting affects the revenue of a business because it is an operational cost of existence. To some degree, certain aspects of marketing are in this same bucket. A regular website redesign that is built as a platform for content publishing, social media management/engagement, and other tactical facets of marketing are becoming an operational cost and are required to be competitive. Sure, it’s possible to place a fuzzy ROI on some of these marketing initiatives, but in the end, if you aren’t paying attention to the core marketing details and investing in marketing 101 as a regular cost to your business, your company will never have a digital presence that elevates your brand to the likes of your competition.
Are you wondering about the ROI of your Marketing 101 efforts? Contact us to see if a number falls to the bottom line or if your activities are just part of getting you on the map.
Kevin O’Brien is a Co-Founder and Partner at echogravity. Kevin’s credentials include being a top recruiter for a international Big 8 consulting firm, top business development rep for a global consulting and staffing firm, and consulting with over 100 companies across North America.