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In redesigning websites for 25 years, we have come to realize that a website is a machine for liberating prosperity and realizing institutional destiny. However making a business case for to ROI-minded, quant-driven business leaders (such as chief operating officers and chief financial officers) is trickier than it sounds, and is vastly different than making a case to marketing leaders who intuitively understand the value of a website. For ROI-minded business leaders, we begin making the case by showing them the following diagram: Next we unpack each point with quantifiable measures as follows: 1. Expected Increase in Right-fit Demand: stemming from improvement in historic website conversion rates, higher rankings on search engines, and reduction in website bounce rates. 2. Expected Increase in Brand Value: realized when the brand is modernized and strengthened as an integral part of the website redesign initiative. Stronger brands not only create brand distinction but also deepen brand equity. For higher education brands, this can be … Continue reading
Marketing ROI formula is easy enough: However, working with higher education clients for more than two decades has made it clear to us that calculating marketing ROI is challenging, especially in our current era of media fragmentation, device proliferation, and tight marketing budgets. Four reasons why: Unrealized Attribution of Incremental Gains to Marketing Efforts: Pinpointing a prospect-to-enrolled conversion to a specific marketing tactic is hard because a conversion may be the result of multiple marketing stimuli spread out over multiple marketing channels over a period of few years. Multi-touch and multi-channel lead attribution models, though available in the form of sophisticated software tools, are not well understood, are difficult to implement, and are simply unaffordable for a majority of colleges. Thus, connecting the dots across a campaign’s multiple components is next to impossible. Inadequate Support for Source Tracking: The next best alternative to attribution software is to deploy simple source tracking, where source-of-lead signals are passed from digital touch points … Continue reading
In our 20+ year history of building websites, almost all our clients were initially skeptical about the return on investment from a website redesign; they underestimated the impact the new website would have on their business. After a year or two of relaunch, almost all the clients became believers. They shared comments with us that had three recurring themes. Here they are: 1. A great website creates a strategic inflection point, whereby a business starts experiencing a major change due to clarity realized during the website strategy development process. 2. A great website changes organizational trajectory, when a business sheds an old skin and puts on a new skin which re-energizes the prospects, customers and internal stakeholders. 3. A great website realizes a new organizational destiny, whereby the organization musters the courage to unapologetically pursue its vision. We often hear stories from skeptical prospects about their previous website redesigns not liberating prosperity. What’s the difference between their past experiences and … Continue reading
When it comes to higher education and small and midsize business (SMB) lead harvesting, it is not uncommon to see many sub-domains working in tandem with main marketing websites to generate traffic and inquiries. Add in third party landing page(s), social media posts and email and paid campaigns to the mix and the chances for additional leads ensue. You can only hope that organizational structure dictates that sales and marketing lead activities are well documented and happen in focused, centralized silos for peak follow up, optimized communication and final conversion. But… this is not always the case because more than often leads are lost when a team member who knows set processes and has intricate local lead gen knowledge moves on or gets promoted before the lead can be converted. Leads can also end up in limbo due to bad lead management with multiple departments handling the same lead request utilizing different strategies resulting in chaos and failure. Does this sound … Continue reading
Last Thursday, we had an interesting monthly performance report (ROI) meeting with a client. In that process, we made several observations about traffic downturns on a particular program, which defied the historic trend data. At the same time, there seemed to be an across-the-board decline in leads, which also ran counter to seasonal data for this time of year. On one hand, one could consider the marketing activity to be a failure. But, with ROI analysis is always best to avoid a snap judgment, given the number of moving parts in any integrated campaign. Life in the marketing fast lane is more complex than ever. So, we began asking more questions. First, we queried the client to see if they had seen anything similar in their own sales reports. No joy. In fact, it was just the opposite. Sales (based on internal tracking) were generally up over the previous month. Que? Second, we asked about a recent in-house update to … Continue reading
You’ve probably watched enough “Law and Order” episodes to be familiar with the phrase, “follow the money.” Usually the prosecutor is telling the detectives or a forensic accountant to “follow the money.” The same is true for smart CMOs. Right now, we’re being bombarded daily with talk of “Big Data.” And, while it’s easy (and often more convenient) to look at myriad data points on impressions, circulation, visits, postcards dropped, day parts, opens and other metrics, they are only leading indicators of the real question. “How much money did we generate?” So, in the spirit of April. Don’t be fooled. Focus on ROI.
Like a mythical search for a leprechaun’s pot of gold, marketers must often undertake a circuitous route to evaluating ROI. First, there’s the bravery test. Post-recession marketers now find themselves defending every penny in an otherwise tight budgetary environment. Those who can muster the courage to tie marketing and ROI together will always have a compelling and competitive edge. Second, there’s the wisdom test. One of the conundrums that we frequently see in analytics is the desire to measure everything. But that my friends is a quicksand from which there is no escape. While we can measure just about anything these days, the wiser question is “should we?” I’ll admit to the guilty, geeky pleasures of drilling down into the latest Google Analytics report, following one thread of a thought process, then mining further for other facets in search of an explanation. Who hasn’t? The point is that it’s way too easy to get distracted by those threads when you … Continue reading
Taken the dive into “Big Data” yet? If not, take heart. It’s not the amount of data that you accumulate that’s important. It’s more important to collect the right information. That takes thoughtful planning. Our tendency is to review performance data after we launch a campaign or blast an email broadcast out there. However, traffic metrics are a poor substitute for revenue analytics and conversion metrics. De facto data reporting isn’t a great long game though, if you’re trying to make a case for the next round of marketing investment. Most digital marketing agencies and in-house marketing teams know how much time they put into developing a major creative campaign. Do you know how much time you spend planning for ROI? Or is it merely an after-thought? Let’s be a bit more intentional and deliberate. Consider developing an ROI Strategy. And put your heart into it.
Since New Years is a traditionally a time to take stock, here are five thought-provoking thoughts on marketing ROI from a few of my favorite experts on the subject (not ranked in any particular order). 1. “Choose no more than five key metrics. It’s hard to put organizational focus on more than that, so choose wisely.” Paul Albright, Chief Revenue Officer, Marketo 2. “The proper use of marketing ROI measurements is capable of comparing investment options as diverse as a direct marketing campaign, a dedicated sales force, a retail distribution channel and an Internet marketing campaign. Marketing ROI analysis can scale from the incremental value of a tagline on an envelope to the implementation of a multimillion-dollar enterprise CRM marketing initiative.” Jim Lenskold, President and Founder, Lenskold Group 3. “A new breed of “Super-Quant” will emerge in the near future having both the necessary statistical acumen and the required knowledge of interactive marketing. They will accelerate the ability of … Continue reading
Pendulum is swinging away from paid marketing towards inbound marketing. Elliance, a firm believer in the power of AND-thinking and not EITHER-OR-thinking, recommends that marketers embrace both. In fact, we see the relationship between inbound marketing and paid marketing as follows: i.e. they are good alone, but better together. While paid marketing gives a short-term boost, inbound marketing creates an enduring foundation. In reality, with inbound marketing as part of the mix, marketers can reduce their paid marketing spend over time.