Look Through The Windshield

Today’s wake up call comes from the good folks at Hubspot.  They do a report each year on their area of expertise which is inbound marketing.  What the heck is that?  Well, you’re sort of reading some now, since the screed is not just a way for me to blow excess verbiage out of my system but also a way for people who might need some help with their business to see how I think and where I can help.  Company blogs (yes, I’m a company) are a form as are corporate social media and SEO.  Inbound marketing is just a fancy way to describe content companies put out there to attract the right customers and to generate leads.

Hubspot’s report – The 2014 State of Inbound Report reviews how companies are using this marketing form.  It contains the aforementioned wakeup call as they discuss measuring ROI – return on investment of those activities:

Given the compounding benefits of measuring ROI, you’d assume most marketers would list it as their top initiative. Surprisingly, very few marketers — even marketing leadership — are prioritizing it. Only 15% of marketers ranked “proving the ROI of our marketing activities” as their #1 marketing priority and a little over half (53%) of marketers we surveyed are measuring ROI.

Yikes.  Almost half aren’t even attempting to figure out if what they’re doing is providing them with the desired results.  Marketers should have a clear way to measure success otherwise how can they allocate resources in a manner that maximizes the benefits of their marketing efforts?

I wish I could say I’m surprised but I’m not.  The “newness” of new media seems to obfuscate the fact that part of the benefit of digital is that it is highly measurable.  It’s not just knowing for the sake of knowing either.  As the report says, marketers that measure ROI are 12X more likely to generate a greater return year-over-year than a lower return. In other words, simply the act of measuring ROI correlates with positive results. 

You wouldn’t drive a car without looking through the windshield.  Not measuring the results of, and return from, your marketing or any other business activity is doing just that.  While driverless cars may almost be here, business activities will never become that way.  If we don’t look out the windshield we’re heading for a wreck.  Thoughts?

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