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Grow Your Business Sales & Marketing

Marketing Measurement Still Doesn't Measure Up, Marketers Say

mcirometer measuring Credit: Dreamstime

Four out of five marketers say their executive management expects every campaign to be measured, but less than a third feel they can effectively evaluate the return on investment (ROI) of each channel, a new survey shows. The measurement mandate was strongest with midsize companies (100 to 500 employees), in which 93 percent of senior leadership thought marketing measurement should be mandatory.

More than 200 U.S. marketing professionals across a wide range of business-to-business and business-to-consumer industries were surveyed in a study by Ifbyphone, a marketing measurement provider, to uncover trends, limitations and expectations in measuring the effectiveness of marketing campaigns.

Expectations of marketing measurement carried across marketing roles, as well as company size. While the vast majority (87 percent) of chief marketing officers "strongly agree" or "agree" that every campaign should be measured, more than a quarter of marketing assistants said they didn't think marketing measurement is important.

The slipperiest slope for measurement was public relations, the survey found, with fewer than 20 percent of respondents saying that they can effectively measure the ROI of PR.  Other difficult-to-measure channels included search engine optimization, social media and tradeshows.

The easiest to measure included email marketing (47 percent), direct mail (41 percent) and online ads (40 percent).

The ability to track ROI may be tied to the limited use if available marketing tools. The survey found that the most-used tools include Web analytics (48 percent), email marketing software analytics (47 percent), lead counts from online contact forms (38 percent), social media monitoring (30 percent) and call tracking (27 percent).

Though a majority of respondents have these tools, measurement continues to be a significant challenge for marketers. The root may lie in education, rate of change in the market and a constant search for the right marketing mix, experts say.

"Businesses can only get better at marketing if they are held accountable for improving upon what didn't work in the past," said Irv Shapiro, chief executive officer of Ifbyphone.

Ned Smith

Ned was senior writer at Sweeney Vesty, an international consulting firm, and was Vice President of communications for iQuest Analytics. Before that, he has been a web editor and managed the Internet and intranet sites for Citizens Communications. He began his journalism career as a police reporter with the Roanoke (Va.) Times, and was managing editor of American Way magazine and senior editor of Us. He was a Captain in the U.S. Air Force and has a masters in journalism from the University of Arizona.