There is some debate about what should be measured when it comes to reporting marketing success. There are many metrics and statistics to record and report, each with their own merit when it comes to measuring performance against marketing goals, but what we are all under pressure to demonstrate back to the purse holders is our contribution to the most important business goal – closed business.
In our previous blogs “Inbound beats outbound” and “When is a lead not a lead” we discussed:
- Why in-bound leads convert more quickly than outbound and the challenges of creating the required content
- The importance of qualifying a lead at the marketing stage to maximise the chance of conversion at the sales stage
Hubspot’s “State of Inbound” report for 2014 stated that respondents reported an average cost per lead of $70 for inbound leads, compared to $220 for outbound leads. That’s quite a statement! We’ve been wondering how many marketing departments have a good enough handle on the metrics of their campaigns that they can confidently quote these results?
In the IT industry, long sales cycles mean that we’re very often 12 months or more between a lead being generated and a closed sale. And one sale is not the whole story – when do you stop attributing the lifetime value of a customer against the campaign that first brought the prospect to light?
Low cost per lead isn’t low cost
On the face of it, the Hubspot ROI statistic could appear to say that inbound is cheaper than outbound – after all, blogging and posting on LinkedIn is free – but it’s the content that costs. And great content can cost a lot, so marketers have to be choosy about what to invest in.
Shelf life is an important consideration when evaluating which content to invest in. In some circumstances, investing in a piece with “of the moment” relevance is appropriate, but that’s a high cost way to go about things too frequently. Enduring content which has relevance and value over a longer period of time should also be part of the mix. To get the most back from your investment it needs to be put in front of as many potential customers as possible through every relevant channel – LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, web, email, sales presentations, etc.
So, getting the most out of marketing resources means:
- Paying the right price for the content
- Maximising the routes for delivery of that content
- Ensuring that every lead is nurtured
- Assigning the right level of sales resource at the right time
- Having organised and systematic lead tracking to ensure that the source of the lead is recorded, no matter how long the sales cycle is