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  • IQSTechnicalTeam

Understanding the Critical Components of Marketing Campaign ROI

Updated: Jan 18, 2021

Marketing campaign programs are significantly more diversified than ever before. A campaign marketing initiatives can influence online and in-store sales by supporting the business's needs (e.g., quantifiable returns) and for their customers (e.g., perceived value, relevance, brand recognition, engagement). At Insight Que Solutions, we believe in simplifying the marketing campaign to drive efficiency and effectiveness for our clients.

Marketing ROI

As we deliver success, we are often asked to deliver a return on investment for these campaigns. While there are standard calculations available for marketing campaigns, the ROI of marketing campaigns can be challenging and multilayered.

The Disconnect

There’s a big disconnect among marketers about what an effective marketing campaign looks like.

Without increasing the allocation of marketing budgets, how can marketers and business owners ensure a successful marketing campaign?

In our experience, we noticed that teams and professionals struggle to find what success should look like before programs are launched. Much of that uncertainty is because of differing perceptions of ROI and how it should be applied as a broad measure of program value.

Rethinking ROI

There’s industry buzz about how to effectively measure ROI for a marketing campaign. There are many models, which can range from very simple to very complex. At Insight Que Solutions, we believe that there is no one size fits all for marketing campaigns.

There should be both hard ROI and soft ROI —which we’ll define later — to be considered. While ROI may appear easy to understand, all of the complex factors in play within a marketing campaign initiative must be understood in order to get an accurate view of success—business goals, strategic decisions, marketing tactics, channel selection, and support, content approaches, media and promotional efforts, total program budgets, unique industry sectors, and brand reputations all influence the overall ROI of a marketing campaign in different ways.

ROI Is Not Just About Sales

A key point to keep in mind from the outset is that marketing campaign ROI isn’t totally about sales (always).

There are other measures — visibility, awareness, engagement, lead generation, brand attachment, trust, and intent to purchase, to name but a few — that factor into overall ROI. For example, a how-to-

cook certain food preparation articles hosted on a restaurant brand’s website could serve as a catalyst for moving visitors into ordering food online. Its practical guidance in providing helpful tips on what someone might want to see and visit the restaurant. That positioning can foster stronger brand affinity, which can turn a prospect into a customer.

Everything Is Always Not Measurable and Actionable (True Sense)

Insight Que Solutions works with a diverse set of clients, and we encountered multiple constraints that could prevent program measurement perfection.

That’s not unusual — the reality is the fully attributable and actionable holy grail model of

marketing measurement may not exist.

There are many reasons for this:

  • Resource constraints (internal manpower)

  • Technological capabilities (e.g., legacy systems, external and internal integration, tagging, and attribution capabilities)

  • Corporate sponsorship and support

  • Timing

  • Marketing Program structure (e.g., an evergreen program versus a short-term campaign) can impact the ability to measure a program effectively.

While it’s important to accurately measure campaigns, the reality is that not every data point measured will yield a discrete and actionable result.

There Is Not Always A Consensus On What ROI is

ROI is defined mathematically as return divided by investment — more specifically gain minus cost, divided by cost. Investment is often the easier metric to define, as it’s the total known cost associated with the program.

In all marketing programs, relevance and trust play a critical role in fostering loyalty—true for short and long term marketing campaigns. Relationship-building takes time, so ROI models for marketing campaigns should be built around realistic timelines for fostering that trust.

Context, Timing and Messaging Are Important

Context and timing play critical roles in evaluating the ROI value. More than just observing changes via a quantifiable number, context, content and associated messaging play crucial roles. These are important predictors that can shift the ROI of marketing campaigns.

Marketing Campaign X and Marketing Campaign Y both yield a 150 percent return, which program is more successful?

It depends on strategic goals (e.g., cost containment or maximizing profitability). If campaign X took place over a year, whereas campaign Y occurred over two quarters, Y is more optimal. This context allows decisions to be made more effectively and strategically.

Any contextual granularity should always be considered for the evaluation of marketing campaign ROI. ROI models should be flexible to provide insights for a C-level audience, but they also should be scalable to accommodate more complex models whenever possible for even deeper strategic insights.

Typically there are interaction effects within marketing campaigns, where the success or failure of one channel or metric may impact the outcome of another. For example, quarterly increases in engagement increase the number of customer views to an eCommerce website.

Funnels Are Important For Marketing Campaign ROI

In some cases, evaluating the campaign marketing ROI can be challenging— even next to impossible — by looking solely at traditional or hard ROI models. For example, not every company has the right process and tools to map its marketing initiatives to a funnel.

Sometimes no defined sales conversion is warranted within content under the marketing campaigns. Where funnels do exist, not every customer or user journey is typically linear; some journeys are cyclical and integrate both messaging and non-content assets.

Understanding Correlations Are Important But Can Be Misleading

When it comes to marketing campaign ROI, it’s important to find associations between the results observed in media and the relevant business processes and goals. For example, the correlation

between orders and unique URLs in terms of click-through rate for a product page can be a strong indicator of overall ROI and can be a valuable insight for the brand.

However, correlations do not lead to causation. Hence, once truly influenced, the success of a marketing campaign (w.r.t. other contextual factors) is a hard evaluation.

Hard vs. Soft ROI

Hard ROI is the fundamental ROI—it is a business-centric measurement. In this case, return equals profit, and where investment equals hard marketing costs. Hard ROI can also include revenue or sales within an attribution window. Lead generation calls to actions such as Contact Us, Download White Paper, Newsletter subscription, etc. can also be considered hard ROI.

Soft ROI is a primarily customer-centric metric designed to monitor changes in behavior or attitude. Soft ROI may be less directly calculable in times; many can be quantified. Soft ROI can be extremely valuable for marketing campaigns' ROI measurement framework. Typically, we see that marketing campaign programs support specific success goals, such as visibility, awareness, engagement, attachment, advocacy for our customers' brands all the time.

Concluding Thoughts

When measuring marketing campaign ROI at Insight Que Solutions, we consider a multilevel measurement framework based on business goals using common factors.

ROI should support business’ specific goals and objectives, whether they are business-centric, customer-centric, or both. A balance of the two will yield the most strategic insight.

Allow return to be defined by multiple factors, such as true financial reporting, lead generation, and non-financial reporting (e.g., site visitor awareness, engagement, attachment, trust-building, etc.) as needed.

Allow investment to be defined by multiple factors, such as total investment amount, the total present value of cost, etc., as needed.

ROI should be measured within a consistently defined time frame when possible.

ROI should be calculated and compared with a benchmark to provide context when possible.

ROI should be defined with models that are scalable to provide more granular context to meet the requirements of specific stakeholders as needed.


We provide significant return of investment when executing marketing campaigns for our clients. If you want to know more about our marketing campaigns reach us out:

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