A Closer Look at ROI: Are You Getting the Most from Your Marketing Strategy?

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A Closer Look at ROI:

Are You Getting the Most from Your Marketing Strategy?

Measurement in the 21st Century

More than ever, businesses rely on digital communications to enhance their presence in the marketplace. A savvy marketing plan that utilizes technology in a smart, sophisticated way is in a better position to not only succeed, but to help a business understand their consumer. According to the National Federation for Independent Business, “Tracking your return on investment on marketing helps you determine which efforts best promote your business. If you’re not tracking ROI, you could be throwing money away on promotions that don’t work.”[i]

The pressure is on as companies attempt to justify spending. Historically, “most marketing return analysis has veered away from financial measures for ROI and concentrated on ‘softer’ qualitative measures such as awareness, attitudes and recall, while many growing businesses routinely neglect any marketing measurements at all. There is growing pressure for marketers to quantify the financial value of each marketing investment, and to do so across an increasingly fragmented media landscape.”[ii]

The key, then, is using the technology effectively. “By defining the relevant metrics and making them an integral part of the marketing process, the marketing mix can be continuously measured, refined and optimized.”[iii] The result should be more streamlined campaigns, made possible by a solid understanding of the intended audience.


Through the integration of print and online strategies, companies are finding ways to get the most value from their marketing collateral.


Times are Changing

Though conventional marketing collateral such as signage and other visual communications materials are still essential, modern business best practices dictate that these tools are best used with a digital tie-in.

By blending these two seemingly different outputs, not only are companies able to reach a broader and more diverse audience, but technological strategies allow businesses to better analyze customer behavior. For instance, posting an image of a creative sign on your business Facebook page can expand the reach of the sign, while adding a dedicated landing page to the URL showcased on that sign allows you to more accurately track its effectiveness.

“One of the amazing things about the Internet and any online based marketing is that you can so easily track the return on investment,” writes Cormac Reynolds in How to Track the ROI on Print Marketing. “Alternatively, print marketing can be a headache to keep track of and so many businesses don’t know where to even begin tracking when it comes to printed marketing materials.”[iv]

There is hope, however. Through the integration of print and online strategies, these companies are finding ways to get the most value from their marketing collateral. Companies can utilize tools to analyze the success of their campaigns, allowing for an accurate assessment of their return on investment.

The New Toolbox

Though many businesses are overwhelmed at the prospect of diving into the world of web analytics, there are many tools available to assist and refine the process. In particular, “Google’s AdWords and Analytics, as well as other online software, make the whole process of tracking easy, transparent, and understandable.”[v]

There are several simple ways that tracking mechanisms can be incorporated in print collateral, and they can be used in conjunction with each other. Three of the primary tools at your disposal are:

  • Landing Pages
    An effective landing page is key to customer engagement. Whether the URL is spelled out on your graphic or incorporated via a QR code, it offers those viewing the print piece the opportunity to engage in a more robust way while allowing you to better track behavior and results. “By creating effective landing pages, the visitor is now engaged with your product or service.”[vi]

  • QR Codes
    QR codes, which stands for quick response codes, are those barcode-style squares that have been popping up in the last few years. Customers can use their smartphone to scan the code after downloading QR code reader software. After scanning, they are directed to a landing page established by the business. The goal is to increase engagement with potential customers, and also open up a world of opportunity through the use of web analytics, as the online interactions are then tracked.

    “QR codes are the link between offline marketing and online marketing,” writes Rick Rys of High Def Color. “By placing QR codes on your printed marketing material, you now have an effective way of determining the ROI of your print marketing campaign.”[vii]

  • Custom Codes
    According to the National Federation of Independent Businesses, companies should put a code on all marketing materials. “Whether you place an ad in a local newspaper, send direct mail or hand out flyers, place a unique four-digit code or word in each message and ask customers to use it when they contact your business. Using a different code for each promotion will help you track which method reaches the most customers.”[viii]

Landing pages, QR codes and custom codes are most effective when they are tied to an incentive or call to action. When someone is compelled to interact in some way, they are more engaged, resulting in a more effective response that offers a greater benefit to the company. The benefit can be anything from an engaging web presence to a discount or freebie.

Social Media Influence

Regardless of your personal opinion of them, social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter cannot be ignored, and companies that are strategic in the use of these tools are positioning themselves well for the future. In fact, “between 20 and 30 percent of time spent online in 2012 was on social media sites, according to a recent report by Nielson.”[ix]

One way to incorporate social media platforms in graphic marketing materials is the use of social media icons to inform customers of a company’s presence on those sites. Then, by using Google Analytics, businesses can understand and interpret the value in these online interactions.

Beyond the Data

As important as the numbers can be, marketing teams also need to consider less tangible returns. In the Forbes Magazine article “Understanding the New ROI of Marketing,” return on impression, opportunity, engagement, and objectives are part of the bigger picture. These less obvious criteria include consumer perceptions of a brand, an evaluation of opportunity, an awareness factor, and long-term returns. “Sometimes, marketing efforts simply help a business move in the right direction to meet its long-term objectives.”[x]

It’s clear that businesses need to be nimble, combining number-crunching and analysis with intuitive interpretations of the company’s brand. Still, “no marketing project should end without some form of ROI analysis. By beginning with that end in mind, each project will be money well spent as you build a greater understanding of your market.”[xi] Once companies have a solid grasp on the data, they can start to think beyond the numbers, taking educated risks and evaluating their marketing collateral in smart—and innovative—ways.

Build A Better Facebook Post

  1. Put together a visual post. “Visual posts such as pictures, graphics and videos receive much more engagement than plain text posts.”
  2. Create a trackable link before you post. “When using Google’s URL Builder, all you need to do is add the URL of the page you want to link to, a campaign source, medium and name. It doesn’t matter what you use for Source, Medium, and Name as long as you can recognize the keywords when you see them in Google Analytics.” Next, shorten the link using a link-shortening tool like bit.ly and put together your post.
  3. Make the post live on Facebook and promote. “Promote the post by following the steps when you hit “Promote Post” or “Boost Post” button that shows up at the bottom right corner of the post.”
  4. Track your post with Google Analytics. One way to review the data is to view Traffic Sources, then Campaigns. “Once you click into this area you will see key terms for all of the links that currently have a “utm_campaign” parameter in them. If you don’t see the exact term you are looking for you can search for it.” There, you can see how many people visited, average duration, percent of new visits, and the bounce rate by clicking the link in the Promoted Post.

Source: Social Media Today, Kristina Allen, A 3-Step Guide to Tracking the ROI of a Facebook-Promoted Post, https://socialmediatoday.com


Works Cited

[i]National Federation of Independent Business, 5 Simple Ways to Track Marketing ROI, https://www.nfib.com/business-resources/business-resources-item?cmsid=51364

[ii]Cymbic, Tracking Your Marketing Return on Investment, https://www.cymbic.com/pdf/Cymbic_MROI.pdf

[iii]Cymbic, Tracking Your Marketing Return on Investment, https://www.cymbic.com/pdf/Cymbic_MROI.pdf

[iv]Cormac Reynolds, How to Track the ROI on Print Marketing, https://smallbusiness.yahoo.com/advisor/track-roi-print-marketing-135708438.html

[v]Cormac Reynolds, How to Track the ROI on Print Marketing, https://smallbusiness.yahoo.com/advisor/track-roi-print-marketing-135708438.html

[vi]Rick Rys, Determining ROI on Print Marketing Material, https://www.hidefcolor.com/qr-code/determining-roi-print-marketing-material/

[vii]Rick Rys, Determining ROI on Print Marketing Material, https://www.hidefcolor.com/qr-code/determining-roi-print-marketing-material/

[viii]National Federation of Independent Business, 5 Simple Ways to Track Marketing ROI, https://www.nfib.com/business-resources/business-resources-item?cmsid=51364

[ix]Hult Marketing, What’s Your Marketing ROI, https://www.hultmarketing.com

[x]Forbes Magazine, Understanding the New ROI of Marketing, https://www.forbes.com/sites/work-in-progress/2012/05/14/understanding-the-new-roi-of-marketing/

[xi]Hult Marketing, What’s Your Marketing ROI, https://www.hultmarketing.com