Marketing ROI for the C-Suite

Marketing ROIHow does your marketing measure up? And, what does the C-suite really want to know. When talking about Marketing ROI for the C-suite, they typically are going to be very bottom line oriented.

The CEO, CFO, etc in the C-suite want to know if it worked.  What did it cost? What is the return on investment (ROI)? How many sales can be attributed to it?

ROI is a measurement used to evaluate the efficiency of an investment or compare the efficiency of a number of different investments. Most times the C-suite is trying to directly measure the amount of return (or sales) for a particular investment (marketing tactic, ad or overall program), relative to the investment’s cost. Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) particularly like to talk about ROI. CFOs don’t like to spend money that they cannot account for! This article will share ways to improve marketing ROI.


The C-suite wants more leads. A lead encompasses the contact information and in some cases, customer demographic information. Sometimes leads are looked at differently by sales and marketing. Today we are going to focus on marketing leads. This is typically a potential customer who has expressed interest in a product or service by visiting your storefront or making contact online.

Qualified Leads

If leads are important, then qualified leads are even more important. These are prospects who have expressed interest in your product or service and also pass a set of lead qualifications. This can mean that they meet your buyer persona for income, have specific demographic and behavioral qualifications.


Customers are what we all want. The purpose of marketing is to reach as many potential customers as possible by building brand awareness, engaging with them, proving industry knowledge and experience and ultimately driving leads and sales. As marketers we want to make our target audience realize that our product or service solves their problem. In other words, it’s what they need.

Have a Plan to Measure

What are you measuring? Include website traffic, email marketing, advertising, promotions, events, SEO and social media. If it is part of your marketing plan, measure it.

Define Marketing Goals

What are your goals? In order to know what to measure, and prove marketing ROI, you should know what your goals are.

  • Increase website traffic
  • Improved interaction & engagement
  • Create transparency & authenticity
  • Heighten brand awareness
  • Gain more leads
  • Garner attendance
  • Create better SERP Results
  • Improve reputation

Marketing Process

What is the path from the time a buyer sees product information on a social media site or an advertisement on Google or a different website? How do they eventually get to the website?

To improve the C-suite’s understanding of marketing ROI, help them to see the marketing process. What is the path the buyer takes from the time they see product information on a social media site or in an ad? How do they eventually get to the website?

Data and analytics show the steps. By tracking everything, you can see the sales funnel fill up along the way. Determine the tactics that are most effective and continue to improve them, while also finding those that need to be tweaked for better performance.

Website Success

What are some of the ways to judge website success? We are going to take a bit of a deeper dive into all of these topics as you read further. However, here are some initial ones to consider to prove marketing ROI.

  • Traffic
  • Time on Site – average time per visit
  • Completed contact forms
  • Download driving directions
  • UX / heat map, etc.

As we dive deeper into each of these metrics. Keep asking the questions:

  • What are we measuring?
  • How can we make marketing decisions from this data?

Website Traffic

It is important to look at website traffic a variety of different ways. Looking at just a day or two of traffic, or even just a week at a time probably won’t show the trends you need to see to make educated decisions.

  • Month over month – is traffic down this month from last month, why? Is this cyclical? Did you remove products from the site?
  • AND year over year – is this year better than last? Are you trending up month to month
  • Most industries are cyclical – is spring traffic stronger than winter traffic?
  • Where does the traffic come from? Where does the most successful traffic originate? Organic, Direct, Referral, Social or Ads
  • New versus Returning traffic – does the returning traffic stay on site longer?
  • Mobile traffic – how much of the traffic is mobile? Mobile traffic has increased over the past few years and is typically where most traffic originates.

Website Top Content

  • Top landing pages – where does traffic coming to the site land?
  • Top content – what pages show up with the most traffic time and time again.
  • Top blog posts or news items –
  • Top products

Website Time on Site

  • How much time do visitors spend overall on your site?
  • How much time on individual pages?
  • Where do they spend the most time?
  • What can you learn from where they spend their time?
  • Has this changed?
  • What can you do to influence it?

Web Contact forum

  • How many are completed and is this up or down form last month?
  • How many are abandoned
  • How do they arrive at this page?
  • How much information do you ask for?
  • ARE you asking for the right information? Too much information? Are you asking if you can text?

Website Downloads

  • Driving directions – important metric for builders
  • Home plans – for builders
  • Product brochure – for suppliers
  • What else might be important?

Website User Experience

User experience is abbreviated as UX and says that UX focuses on having a deep understanding of users, what they need, what they value, their abilities, and also their limitations. It also takes into account the business goals and objectives of the group managing the project.

In short, it’s about how we can make the experience of the visitors as meaningful and valuable as possible. And there are a variety of ways to look at this. Heat maps are a good way to start drilling into where visitors look most often, and what content is popular.

A good user experience means that a visitor went to your website, browsed through several pages, understood the site’s purpose and found what they wanted.

There are lots of factors that influence user experience on your website. They include value, usefulness, navigation, accessibility and even credibility. When looking at UX for websites and determining marketing ROI, the goal is to reduce as many obstacles as possible and don’t get eliminated. Think of how many times you give up due to slow site load time, or a shopping cart that isn’t easy to use. You want your site visitors to have a seamless visit, not have to figure out how the site works to find what they want.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is a powerful tool.  How many successful deliveries did your message get? What is the open rate? How many clicks did the email get? Look at the following metrics to determine marketing ROI.

  • Click Rate
  • Open rate
  • Click through rate
  • Unsubscribe rate
  • Complaint rate
  • Conversion rate – home may people did what you wanted them to do?
  • Bounce Rate
  • Forward/ Share rate
  • Campaign ROI – $$$$ per click
  • List Growth Rate


Where are you advertising and what types of reports do they provide? For your digital ads, have you added additional digital tracking to your website?

How many results/leads/ clicks did you get last month? What was the reach of the ads? The number of impressions it generated? How many link clicks and what was the cost per result? How do your results compare with industry averages?

Events & Promotions

Whether hosting an event or promotion, how many participants there are is important. Using a hashtag makes this easier to track.

  • Number of attendees or participants
  • Sales numbers
  • Social media activity – before the event, during photos, after photos
  • Survey attendees after the event
  • Revenue vs overhead costs
  • Clicks to promotions or events page

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search Engine Optimization is a measure of the organic traffic on your website. These are the people who find the site by searching for your product or service, but don’t necessarily know the name of your company.

  • What percent of your traffic is organic?
  • Can this be improved?
  • What keywords send traffic to your site.

Social Media

For measuring social media, we look three places — on the native site, on any app or scheduler being used and in Google Analytics.

On the native site, how many followers or Likes do you have on each site? Are those increasing or decreasing? Impressions, reach and engagement – are these up or down? Is their one particular post that accounts for the bulk of the actions on a site? Look at these same metrics on any social media scheduling sites such at Hoot Suite,, Sprout Social, etc. Look for best times of day to post, as well as demographics of site visitors, etc.

Are you using social media to send buyers to your website? If so, how effective is that? Look at your website analytics to see what they do on your site, where they go, how long they stay.


This is where the rubber meets the road and the budget meeting the checkbook. How do you present all of this info to your CFO in a way that they will understand it?

Start by creating an executive summary that summarizes the highlights of each tactic being reported on. Then for each tactic, make sure to include charts and graphs and break down individual tactics into a cost per action.



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