Marketers Struggle to Measure ROI

While marketers prepare to expand their digital budgets, many continue to wrestle with proving and delivering clear ROI across all contact channels.

According to the average marketer, "synergy," "viral," and "best-in-class" are the most loathsome terms in the current business lexicon. Yet, while this distaste may seemingly precede dissatisfaction and lack of engagement, marketers throughout the U.S. are preparing more ambitious budgets than ever before.

Webmarketing123's "2014 State of Digital Marketing" report explores the top digital marketing goals and challenges facing marketers this year. The study, which polled more than 500 marketers across the country, examines both the strengths and the shortcomings of these burgeoning budgets to provide an overview of how most companies expect to allocate marketing spend in 2014. However, while marketers are eager to develop their strategies and extend their reach, many still struggle with delivering clear ROI-an issue that may limit progress in the future.

The following statistics highlight what's working, what's not working, and what's in the works for both B2B and B2C marketers across industries:

  • For B2B marketers, generating leads (41 percent), driving sales (27 percent), and improving awareness (17 percent) are the top objectives for 2014.
  • For B2C marketers, driving sales (40 percent), improving awareness (27 percent), and generating leads (18 percent) are the top objectives for 2014.
  • Despite the buzz surrounding digital marketing, the average marketer expects to allot only 25 percent of their total budgets for online investments.
  • Overall, marketers plan to spend more on content (63 percent) and mobile (75 percent) this year.
  • One in five B2B companies generated revenue from social media, while one in three B2C companies generated revenue from this emerging channel.
  • B2B marketers believe generating enough leads (21 percent), producing enough quality content (19 percent), and converting leads to customers (18 percent) will be their greatest challenges this year.
  • B2C marketers predict measuring and proving ROI (25 percent), converting leads to customers (22 percent), and integrating content across channels (14 percent) will be their primary obstacles.

Key takeaway: As marketers work to integrate emerging channels with their current offline spend, many will find themselves up against a proverbial wall as they look to deliver clear ROI across all avenues of communication. While 26 percent of marketers don't know which channel delivers the best leads, 33 percent are unsure as to which channel generates the most revenue, highlighting one of the greatest challenges to date-uncertainty. For most, the inability to decipher direct correlations between investments and outcomes will not only hinder progress at present, but also reduce the likelihood of management buy-in in the future. Marketers must also be aware that such issues may lead to the lack of overall company revenue growth. Thus, marketers must not only develop strategies that advance their own efforts, but also methods for monitoring and demonstrating ROI that will encourage C-level support down the road.