If you dread the weekly executive meeting, I bet I know why. It’s easy for Sales to report on results, but it can be a real challenge for you to evaluate what kind of return you’re getting on your marketing campaigns. Today, measuring lead activity across all your marketing channels means not just advertising and email campaigns, but also social media, PR, SEO, events, referral traffic, and so much more.
Does it really have to be such a struggle? True campaign tracking of a contact from original lead source through engagement to close actually is possible; in fact, we’re building inbound campaign tracking solutions for our clients that do just that.
One common problem
First let’s look at what people are trying to do: show marketing ROI by connecting the dots between marketing activities and final conversion. This lack of visibility is probably the most common problem we see.
Website stats are easy to track, but they only show response, not conversion. Campaign types for inbound marketing commonly focus on really quite a small list of channels: paid and organic search, online ads, direct website, email, and events (with a few smaller ones). For paid search, you create a landing page and hope the visitor converts! But it takes time and money to manage that—and what if they don’t convert at that moment? Perhaps they go somewhere else on your site to get more content, or go away and come back later; if they convert then, you have no idea where they came from in the first place.
Three common goals
Marketers ask us most commonly for three things: automation, source, and continuity.
Many clients come to us because they want to reduce the internal impacts of reporting through automation. They are able to get at this data, but it’s a painful manual process: gathering data from at least 3-4 different sources, exporting it from the CRM, importing it to a spreadsheet, and then building reports and graphics out of it—and all that takes time and advanced (Ninja!) Excel skills.
A common complaint is that marketers aren’t able to associate prospects to both the most recent offer response AND the original lead source. Paid search is the most common use case we hear; companies bet big money on Google, Bing, Yahoo and others—billions of dollars a year globally. How can you justify that kind of spending if you don’t know what it’s buying you?
For many years now it’s been fairly easy to track what offer or piece of content triggered a prospect action, so last touch has been the easy thing to capture: the dedicated 800 number on an ad, the promo code on a postcard, and today the code on the website form submission. The content of the last touch is a very important thing to track, but knowing which offers AND lead sources lead to the highest number of closed deals gives you so much more information to use in refining and enhancing marketing campaigns.
Typically, the marketing team loses visibility into a prospect’s original lead source if the prospect clicks off the landing page, or leaves the website and comes back later. People don’t always take the path to conversion that you want or expect them to take! For the best results, prospects should be allowed to determine their own paths; you don’t want to have to restrict their movements due to tracking limitations.
One integrated solution
Marketing automation platforms help make inbound marketing easier to track, but to go beyond front-end metrics means doing some custom development, and that’s where DemandGen comes into the picture. A typical inbound reporting project consists of three steps.
Step 1: Fields and hierarchy/structure
Define your campaign fields and hierarchy. We typically recommend 3-4 campaign fields for tracking, depending on what makes sense for your business and your marketing team: Channel, Lead Source, and don’t forget Offer!
Step 2: Inbound source
Set up tracking of the inbound lead source. This step requires the development of custom tracking scripts that are added to your website to track and capture those new campaign fields—no matter where on the website they enter.
Step 3: Capture and sync to CRM
Your marketing automation system is the vital link here to capture that data and give it to the CRM—enabling true ROI reporting. And it goes far beyond just being prepared for that weekly meeting; you’ll be amazed at the insights you can get out of a well-designed and properly integrated solution! You can track campaign fields through the funnel, see their associations, and discover opportunities mid-stage as well as end-stage/won. As leads progress through the funnel you can clearly see which campaigns they respond to, aligned with the channel, source, and offer. Finally, you can get true perspective on sources, touches, and everything along the way that led to that conversion.
Below are a few examples. (Click on the images to view full size.)
Want to continue the conversation? Drop us a note to talk about inbound campaign reporting.
Amy Funk is a DemandGen Account Director whose B2B marketing experience helps clients define and implement demand generation campaigns to generate, capture, nurture, score, and route leads to hit their revenue objectives.