If only there was just one ROI metric that mattered.
Unfortunately, there’s no one right number or even one strategy to measure ROI. Each marketing organization’s journey to measuring, understanding, and ultimately acting on ROI data is unique.
We spoke with marketing leaders at Genpact and Visier to get their insights into how they’re conquering the challenges of measuring ROI and what they’ve learned along the road.
There are hundreds of different paths to get there, but we identified three hot tips other marketers can use to better understand their ROI measurements and plan for the journey ahead.
1. Go slow to go fast with automation
2. Speak the same language with a clear taxonomy
3. It’s ok to change your ROI destination over time
Lori West VP, Marketing Operations & Technology at Genpact, started her ROI journey three years ago. She and her team sat down to map out where they wanted to be with their ROI measurements and what it would take to get there.
They broke up the work into bite sized pieces and had clear milestones for big releases along the way. Weaving together your marketing tech stack to create a seamless flow of data is a marketers end goal, not the first project.
Lori’s team started with cleaning up their contact data and making sure their database was accurate. The next step was ensuring all of their CRM filters were set up for what they were trying to accomplish in reporting and would connect to the various tech pieces in their marketing ecosystem.
If processes are fully automated right off the bat then it’s impossible to know where errors are hiding and it becomes a lot of QA work to uncover it. In order to find leaking data or connections where information doesn’t line up, manual processes are your friend. Go from manual to semi-automated before making the leap to full automation.
Richard Wasylynchuk, VP, Revenue Operations at Visier advises that consistency across data is paramount for measuring ROI. And it all starts with taxonomy.
As he’s seen over eight years at Visier, how marketing structures metadata and their campaigns will change over time. When changes happen, it’s critical to think about how that strategy will apply across all pieces in your tech stack. Otherwise, it’s a slippery slope of disparate data sets and tech that doesn’t talk to each other. Soon you’ll find yourself squeezing a data scientist into the budget so they can pull everything out and hopefully find a way to piece it together.
This is why Lori’s team at Genpact spent so long on taxonomy. Each channel had their own way of managing their views but they didn’t ladder back up to the big picture. It could be as basic as making sure everyone had the same definition for a campaign or tactic, or continuing an acronym and naming system across technologies. Every field, from every tactic had to map back historically if they wanted to pull accurate data.
During this phase Lori would host whiteboard sessions where they worked through scenarios. It was painstaking work to watch a process break over and over, but that’s how they found all the weak points and now have been able to automate processes and move past it.
The other trick with consistent taxonomy is getting everyone on board with why it’s so important to maintain. It’s harder for teams outside of marketing operations who might only look at a data point annually to understand the importance of taxonomy for reporting. Part of ensuring a consistent taxonomy is building trust internally and making the case for why it’s important: accurate performance data.
After eight years at Visier, Richard has seen first-hand how the journey to ROI changed significantly from when he started to today. Back then, marketers in general were talking about attribution but not really doing it or doing it well. Solutions have grown leaps and bounds in that time, as has Visier.
As a business getting started, the focus will be on generating new names for the database. But today Richard’s strategy is how to better understand their now large database and the buying committees. This is critical as most B2B tech buying cycles are long. What marketers are investing in 2021, they won’t truly see a return on until 2022. This is another reason why historical data is so critical. To accurately map revenue generation back to the previous year’s tactics, marketers need a consistent taxonomy.
Lori’s key learning from her ROI journey is to consider the amount of time it will take and then double it. At every stage, she discovered more areas to dig into and better understand all the various elements. There’s always further to go with the data, to get a better picture of what’s really going on.
The other part of your ROI journey that will change is the tech stack that gets you there. A marketing automation platform and CRM are good for laying a solid foundation to get started. As measurements get more complex, new pieces can be layered on and models created to better understand attribution to pipeline and evaluate the various marketing touchpoints.
However, attribution is its own journey. ROI and attribution aren’t interchangeable, and understanding when to use one or the other is necessary for any marketer that wants to create impact. Attribution is one of the ROI measurements that helps build marketing’s reputation as a leader that drives impact. And the question every marketer is asking is “should we do it?”
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