Your marketing ROI could well be higher than you think. According to LinkedIn Research, 77% of marketers are calculating ROI after a single month—despite the fact that most B2B sales cycles are much longer and have continued to expand during the pandemic. All this makes it even more astounding that only 4% of these respondents say they even bother to track ROI over periods of six months or longer.
B2B buyers are spending more time doing their due diligence, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Educated buyers tend to have less buyer’s remorse, because they’re more confident that they’ve made the right choices. And these longer buyer’s journeys give marketers more opportunities to compete before a prospect signs on the dotted line with another solution.
Make Accurate ROI Data the Goal
Extending the ticking clock on marketing ROI measurement may make it seem like marketing is kicking the accountability can down the road, but that isn’t true. A longer ROI measurement timeframe for longer sales cycles will actually provide you with more accurate data about the true impact of marketing campaigns.
If you measure results after one month but your sales cycle is actually four months, you won’t just sell your ROI short for a single campaign. You’ll likely also use the data for future campaigns with a distorted view of what does and doesn’t work with your audience.
You might make a reasonable guess about the winner of a race in the first lap, but there’s a lot of track left to cover before the trophies are handed out.
Monitor Milestones Along the Way
All this isn’t to say you shouldn’t gauge your results along the way. It’s wise to watch the race as it’s unfolding, making adjustments based on the data you’re getting. And that data will come in at various points along the way.
It’s important to match the various components of your marketing strategy with their individual goals. If you launch a series of display ads early in the campaign, for example, to drive clicks to the next step—downloading an asset, visiting a web page—it’s perfectly reasonable to start measuring those segment results and adjust the ads to achieve those shorter-term goals. Just know that it’s only one layer of your marketing cake.
Establish KPIs that help you monitor your campaign from start to fiinish. Validate your progress and whether or not you’re hitting key milestones. These checkpoints can help you demonstrate marketing’s progress toward the final ROI goal. You’ll pass the finish line with stronger, more accurate campaign ROI.
Those campaign results are always more impressive when your content is based in sound buyer-focused messaging principles. The 5-Minute Guide to Buyer-Focused Messaging is a great reminder of the strategy behind successful B2B content.
Holly Celeste Fisk is an accomplished marketing pro with 20+ years of experience in B2B and B2C. She’s responsible for Content4Demand’s internal marketing efforts, managing everything from content creation and email marketing to events and sponsorships, blog publishing, website management and social media presence. When she’s not working, you’ll find her sliding into third at softball, buried in a book or practicing her Italian.