Measuring Your Marketing Campaign's ROI

How to start measuring and reporting your marketing campaign's effectiveness

Written by ProfitGuide

Marketing has a crummy reputation in the business world, especially among small- and mid-sized B2B companies. I see presidents of SMBs roll their eyes all the time at the mention of marketing.

While the skepticism stings, I know where they’re coming from. They’ve seen all sorts of wacky advertising and gimmicks over the years and, while much of it is “creative,” it hasn’t done a thing for their bottom lines. As a result, only 18% of CEOs rate marketing’s effectiveness as better than good, and 36% rate it fair to poor, according to the London Business School’s Nirmalya Kumar in “Marketing as Strategy.”

That’s a problem, because true marketing has a lot to add to business. Some brilliant business minds (Warren Buffett included) think marketing is key to success.

So how can marketing regain its rightful place at the board room table? It’s got to start by focusing on ROI measurement and reporting.

Like any business function — customer service, IT, sales — marketing needs to prove its worth.

If you want to bring credibility to marketing in your business, here’s what to do:
1. Put together a marketing scorecard

a. The scorecard should track the costs of marketing; hard costs, like tradeshow registrations and pay-per-click advertising; and soft costs like staff time.
b. Track the outcomes of marketing; the activity levels (like the number of case studies produced) and the results, like new business secured
c. Track the value that marketing delivers to other departments. For example, marketing is often responsible for creating sales support tools like case studies and presentations — ask the relevant departments to put a reasonable value on those items.

2. Each year (or quarter, whatever makes most sense for your organization), calculate the ROI of marketing (gross profit divided by total cost)

3. Refine and adjust the scorecard as you learn more about how marketing achieves tangible results in your business

An example might look like this:

Marketing costs
(hard- and soft costs)


Value delivered to other departments (e.g. sales)


New business secured


Average gross profit for the business


ROI calculation

[($40,000 + 340,000)*50%]/$60,000

ROI (profit divided by cost)


The ROI that marketing should achieve will vary widely based on industry, company, target market and other factors. But achieving an ROI of at least 150% (generates $1.50 profit for every dollar spent) is a reasonable minimum.

Not everything that matters can be measured, but measuring marketing is more feasible than it used to be, and given the poor reputation of marketing in most SMBs, we’ve simply got to start measuring and reporting marketing ROI.

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