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The Fast Company Executive Board is a private, fee-based network of influential leaders, experts, executives, and entrepreneurs who share their insights with our audience.

Analyze the ROI of your marketing efforts with these 11 smart strategies

You can get a handle on whether your marketing campaigns are succeeding or stumbling by combining hard data with human feedback.

Analyze the ROI of your marketing efforts with these 11 smart strategies
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In any marketing campaign, the post-launch analysis is just as important as the outreach itself. Companies must analyze their efforts to determine what’s winning, what could be improved upon, and whether ultimate goals are being met. Even strategies that have succeeded in the past need to be reviewed to ensure they’re still resonating with audiences or if it’s time to try out a new trend.

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Data is important, but gaining a true understanding of what’s working takes more than scanning through Google Analytics. To get a more accurate assessment of the ROI of your marketing efforts, start with these 11 key steps shared by the members of Fast Company Executive Board.

1. DEFINE AND DOCUMENT YOUR GOALS.

When analyzing the effectiveness of your marketing efforts, start by defining clear goals and documenting them as your strategy. This will allow you to see whether your actions generate the desired results. If the checkmark is not there, then it’s not working. It’s also important to mind your goals when measuring ROI; otherwise, you risk missing the real picture. – Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS

2. BREAK GOALS INTO MEASURABLE OUTCOMES.

Get clear on what your goals are and break them down into measurable outcomes. For a brand campaign, that may mean increasing your social following, likes, or shares. For PR, that might mean measuring traffic to your website. For a referral campaign, try to attribute sales using referral codes. Everything needs to be measured so that you can determine its success and where to spend more resources. – Sara de Zarraga, Flare

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3. CHECK YOUR PASSION FOR THE CAMPAIGN.

Don’t fall in love with your marketing campaign. Many times, companies spend too long trying to convince the marketplace. The depth of data available today means the marketplace is constantly trying to convince you. Unfortunately, sometimes the passion of campaign leaders obscures their ability to hear that message and leads to the painful outcome often found in cases of unrequited love. – Joe Watson

4. ASK YOUR NETWORK FOR CANDID FEEDBACK.

Data is as important as ever, but it doesn’t answer all your questions when it comes to marketing tactics. In certain areas of marketing, like branding, clear metrics around audience sentiment are harder to define. In these cases, ask around! Seek input from your network, and ask for candid feedback. People are often willing to give it unsolicited if they know you’re open to hearing it. – Becca Chambers, Ivanti

5. FIGURE OUT YOUR CURVE OF DIFFERENTIATION.

Data is a core material now. It’s not just data scientists who must be able to work with it; it’s every member of the team. But while data is important, what few realize is that only some of your data is going to be impactful for you. Figuring out your curve of differentiation—where your business has the opportunity to stand out from the crowd—is essential to marketers. You can’t boil the ocean. – Jason Cottrell, Myplanet

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6. EVALUATE CUSTOMER ANALYTICS FROM MULTIPLE OPERATIONS

Marketing is an enterprisewide sport that shouldn’t be isolated from other functions. By evaluating customer analytics from across customer success, support, and sales against marketing data, actionable trends can be identified to inform strategies and improve results. For example, by comparing customer renewal data with our marketing offer campaigns, we increased upsell conversion rates. – Joyce Kim, Genesys

7. ANALYZE “ONSITE” AND “OFFSITE” MARKETING EFFORTS.

I divide marketing analysis into two aspects: “onsite” and “offsite.” “Onsite” is whatever assets you own inside the company and can measure up to the smallest detail. This includes Google Analytics for your website, HubSpot for your social and email efforts, and so on. “Offsite” is about what people say about your brand. Are you the “belle of the ball” in different networks, chats, and forums? – Yoav Vilner, Walnut

8. DON’T JUST LOOK AT CONVERSION RATES.

Don’t evaluate your ad spend and ROI based solely on the conversion rate. Instead, companies should also take into account their reach and engagement. Also, understanding what content is resonating with your customers requires collaboration among multiple departments, which can be taken into account when creating new campaigns. – Kelley Higney, Bug Bite Thing

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9. CONDUCT SPLIT TESTS WHERE YOU CAN.

Not all marketing efforts can be directly measured, but where you can create a link between your marketing and KPIs, it’s important to carry out split tests to improve their measurability. For email marketing, we look at several factors, like open rates, click-through rates, and conversions. We can see a direct relationship between our content and the outcomes. – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

10. CENTRALIZE YOUR REPORTING.

Marketing efforts should be directly tied to revenue and pipeline. The only way to attribute revenue to marketing is through proper data tracking. We use a combination of tracking tools to centralize reporting inside Hubspot. These reports let us clearly identify the source of leads, quality, conversion rates, pipeline creation, and more. Without data clarity, you can’t make accurate decisions. – Andrew Miller, Agorapulse

11. LOOK AT CUSTOMER LIFETIME VALUE.

Make sure to look at customer lifetime value, not just first-order or first-period value. The results will surprise you and impact your spending decisions. – Esther Kestenbaum Prozan, Ruby Has Fulfillment