How to measure success? infographic

Infographic: “How do you measure content marketing success, best metrics, methodologies?”

How do executives measure content marketing success?

Your company’s leaders invest in marketing to grow the company and make money.

Executives expect marketing to produce sales and revenue growth, new customers, and qualified leads. In B2B marketing, many track new deals account by account.

So, when you report on content marketing success to your executives, all you need to tell them about is: sales, revenue, customers, deals and qualified leads.

To measure content marketing success and communicate it well, share different measures with each internal audience:

  • Bring executives revenue, customers, sales pipeline, deals and qualified leads. No more.
  • Bring internal clients website, event and email analytics; downloads; and subscribers.
  • Make sure the Marketing department has a handle on all the metrics — even those that may fall outside the department, such as PR or social media analytics.

Don’t share too much information (TMI) with these audiences, or it could backfire.

customer not listening
When you measure content marketing success, don’t share too much information with audiences that don’t care about the details.

Omit the rest of the story

Why? Because executives don’t care about or understand the underlying marketing measures that indicate your success.

Most executives don’t understand marketing metrics like page views, dwell time, bounce rates, email open and click-through rates, or social followers. Trying to explain all that to them may not help your career advancement.

Leave out the details. Just report the business-affecting results.

You still need to have a handle on the details to improve the performance of your content marketing over time. This blog offers 10 ideas on how to measure success in content marketing.

The problem with ROI measures

Many executives calculate a return on investment (ROI) for marketing. Here’s an ROI formula they use:

(revenue – expense) = net profit
total investment

For Marketing, the problem with this ROI formula is that it applies to assets that are invested in, then sold off (such as companies and stocks). ROI takes in all the revenue and expenses to calculate a net profit, then divides net profit by total investment.

Dashboard
Build a simple dashboard for tracking content marketing analytics.

Truth is, most of what goes into an ROI formula lies well outside Marketing domain. 

To narrow down ROI enough to apply it sensibly to marketing, calculate a return on marketing investment (ROMI) using this formula:

(profit from sales growth – marketing expense)
marketing expense

For example, say that your successful content marketing increases sales by $1 million and produces an additional profit of $100,000. Whether that was a good investment for the company depends completely on the amount of marketing expense:

  • If marketing expense was $200,000, the company got a negative ROMI of 50%. That is, each $1 invested in marketing produced 50 cents in additional profit.
  • If marketing expense was $100,000, the company broke even. The ROMI is zero. (Note: companies that enter or build a new market may consider such an investment worthwhile, nonetheless.)
  • If marketing expense was $50,000, the ROMI is 100%. Marketing produced $2 of incremental profit for each $1 invested in marketing.
  • If marketing expense was $33,333, the ROMI is 200%. Marketing produced $3 of incremental profit for each $1 investment in marketing.

ROMI can lead to a mechanical mindset: the higher the profit from sales growth, and the lower the marketing expense, the better.

But that’s a dangerous mindset. Why?

Because some executives follow that mindset mechanically, right out the window. They cut marketing expense again and again, leading brands into a death spiral.

For example, Kraft Heinz cut investments in research and development and in marketing — which led to shrinking revenue and a lower stock price. As a result, even Warren Buffett publicly regretted that he paid too much for Kraft Heinz stock.

Simplify marketing success measures

Find a “rule of thumb” that works for Marketing in your company.

10 budget rules of thumb
How to measure content marketing success? A budget rule of thumb is easier for everyone to understand than ROI or ROMI.

For example, I worked with a chief financial officer (CFO) to come up with this marketing rule of thumb. For each additional $1 in marketing expense, Marketing needed to produce $3 in additional revenue.

That’s what it took for the company to achieve profitable incremental growth.

Having a simple rule of thumb guides companies to make profitable marketing investments. With it, everyone in Marketing understands exactly what they need to do.

Marketers need a success measure they understand

Content marketing creates valuable information assets that build relationships with customers.

Marketing succeeds whenever it helps the company reach its objectives and goals – only one of which is a financial return.

Many other valid business objectives such as brand awareness, customer retention, quality of user experience, and customer satisfaction don’t show up in ROMI calculations.

The right things to measure in Marketing must be connected directly to your CEO’s and company’s objectives. That’s the key to finding marketing metrics your executives will heed and respect.

It’s why our one-page content marketing strategy starts with company objectives and goals, then adds marketing strategies and metrics that connect to the needs of the business.

1-Page Content Marketing Strategy Template
To develop a successful content marketing program, use a template to frame your one-page content marketing strategy. It spells out which metrics to share.

Don’t bring executives too much information (TMI)!

Avoid bringing executives and internal clients too many details they don’t understand. Anything they don’t get, you may suffer for.

Instead, follow the guidelines in the infographic:

  • Bring executives revenue, customers, sales pipeline, deals and qualified leads.
  • Bring internal clients website, event and email analytics; downloads; and subscribers.
  • Make sure Marketing has a handle on all the metrics — even those that may be outside the department, such as PR and social media analytics.
Top 100 content marketing questions
Here are the answers to marketers’ Top 100 Questions about content marketing.

“How do you measure success, best metrics, methodologies?” is one of marketers’ Top 100 Questions about content marketing. Here are the answers.