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Gillian
by Gillian
on September 12, 2016
If we keep doing the same things over and over but expect different results, we’re crazy. (At least that’s what Einstein said. Maybe.)

But if that’s crazy, then what do we call it when we keep doing the same things over and over without even knowing the results?

No matter what you call it, that’s what a lot of marketers are doing when they are pursuing their marketing activities without being able to measure or prove ROI.
In the upcoming 2016 State of Inbound report, HubSpot found that only 42% of marketers are focused on proving the ROI of their marketing activities. If you’re a marketer and not a math major: that’s less than half. Less than half of all marketers responding to this sweeping survey are concerned about proving the actual impact of the activities that they devote their time to every day.

That does, in fact, sound a little bit crazy.

Why ROI is Critical

When we get bogged down in our everyday tasks, whether that means writing blog posts, constructing email workflows, or scheduling meetings, it is easy to forget about the impact that we want to make with those activities. Couple that with an acronym that can easily get lost in business buzzwords and you’ve got a perfect recipe for a marketing strategy that can’t prove its value. For marketing agencies trying to keep clients and marketing managers trying to keep their jobs, that presents a bit of a problem.

Measuring and reporting the ROI of your marketing activities is one of the best ways to not only demonstrate your value but also to continuously improve your marketing strategy by spending your time and resources wisely.

What Stopping Marketers from Measuring ROI? 

The truth is that even if the majority of marketers aren't currenlty tracking ROI, they do know that it's important. So what could be keeping us from doing what we know we need to do? 

It's a Challenge

While the importance of tracking and proving ROI is clear, none of this is to say that proving inbound ROI is simple. In fact, year over year it ranks among the top challenges for marketers with this year’s survey showing that 43% of marketing and sales teams find it challenging (something that could contribute to a lack of focus on ROI). But anyone who works in marketing knows that just because something isn't easy doesn't mean we can ignore it. 

It Takes Time

Setting up analytics, reporting, and strategy to assess the ROI of your efforts takes time. And if there is anything in short supply in most marketing departments, it is time. 

Your Marketing Goals Aren't Explicit

Your sales team has numbers to hit every month and if they don't do it, there are consequences. In marketing, it can be a little easier to fudge. You can be building your brand, increasing your social reach and accomplishing important, but ephemeral tasks and have no real data to show for it. Unfortunately, that excuse just isn't good enough. If your marketing team doesn't have SMART goals in place, its time to get them. 

The Act of Measuring Will Improve Your Results

Measuring your inbound ROI is not the same as improving your ROI, but the fact is that these two things often seamlessly go hand in hand. Because what gets measured, gets managed.

The act of tracking metrics that help to prove your ROI is enough to improve your ROI. Because once you see those numbers, you are going to have the knowledge and the motivation necessary to change the parts of your marketing strategy that aren’t working -- and invest in the parts that are.

Investing in marketing tactics that work seems like a no-brainer, and the statistics bear it out. According to the State of Inbound results, when marketers were able to prove the ROI of their efforts, they were almost twice as likely to have an increase in their marketing budget year after year. If you keep getting the resources you need to expand your efforts, it is going to be a lot more difficult to say that tracking your ROI is too hard or too time consuming. Instead, it will become an essential piece of your marketing process. 

Inbound & ROI

If you're an inbound marketer, you're in luck, because measuring your ROI is not only possible, it is highly encouraged by the way inbound marketing is set up. 

ROInbound: Results You Can Measure

The inbound marketing methodology is set up in such a way that you can measure your success at each phase of the process. Are you attracting new visitors? Converting them to leads? Closing them to customers?

With HubSpot’s analytics tools, you already have the ability to show how your efforts are translating directly to customers. You just need to know how to interpret and report on that data. Once you start doing it, you will notice a huge difference in how you can focus your efforts and report back to stakeholders on how valuable you as a marketer actually are.

So if you aren't currently tracking the ROI of your inbound efforts, don't worry because you're definitely not alone. But don't you think it's time you start? 

State of Inbound 2016
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