How to Improve Marketing ROI with Data

2024.04.01 03:02 PM By Joshua Taddeo, Principal Consultant
Man holding a tablet with a graph tracking ROI improvement

With today's technology, organizations of all sizes have more information than ever before. The detailed information available today helps leaders make better decisions for their marketing investments. While some business owners get overwhelmed by what's required to turn this data into actionable instructions for their team, the importance of doing so cannot be understated. If you're trying to learn how to improve Marketing ROI with data, you'll need a variety of tools.

In this article, we will be going over a range of tracking systems and tools to gather the necessary data to improve ROI. Below, we'll cover the data collection/aggregation and analysis tools required at each succeeding marketing stage to reach your company KPIs. Finally, we will bring it all together to show you how to integrate all the steps discussed. We will also highlight the people necessary to make this process work.

Data Tracking Tools for Improving Marketing Decisions

Guaranteeing a return on investment in marketing is nearly impossible (no matter who says otherwise). However, making sure you have the correct tracking in place to turn data into actionable insights can be done. We help organizations implement the myriad of tools and processes required to ensure marketing decisions are rooted in accurate data. You can only guarantee that the adjustments made to your marketing strategy will improve your ROI over time when you track and analyze the necessary data. Anything else is just guesswork. Guesswork will ensure you lose market share to competitors who use data to make better marketing decisions. Below is a shortlist of tools required to track the results of your marketing. While not every tool is necessary, you'll likely need to combine one from each or most categories to the full range of required information.

Crowd Sourced Feedback for Strategic Marketing Planning

Before you even begin marketing, you should gather information on the designs, offers, and target audiences. There are several tools to help your organization get feedback on proof of concepts or marketing offerings ahead of launch. Crowdsourcing data from your target audience provides vital feedback so that you spend less time and money on testing after launch. Below are a few options to gather the data you will need:

● FocusGroupIt

● Survey Gizmo

Keyword Research for Strategic Marketing Planning

Another critical aspect of premarketing research is keyword research. Keyword research is essential for more than SEO. Understanding the intent and value behind specific searches allows you to connect the solutions your organization provides to the customers asking the questions. It also gives you rough values and expected volumes so that you can create a mix of products/services aimed at reaching your revenue goals.

A good starting point to begin gathering data is through several Google Tools:

● Google Trends

● Google Adwords

● Google Search Console

Additionally, a quick Google search will bring up a myriad of tools (both free and paid) to enhance the primary access you get with Google's free resources. These tools provide information on the searches you are researching as well as recommend other potential matches for you to target.

● Soovle

● Ubersuggest

● SEMrush

● Ahrefs

Call Tracking for Exact Marketing Attribution

Once you have prepared your ads (but before you launch), you want to make sure you have a way of tracking their results. One of the most direct means of attributing marketing results to the right channels is through Call Tracking numbers. Today there are multiple tools to track what marketing channels are driving the most conversions. Here are some of the tools we have implemented for clients:

● Call Rail

● Invoca

● Phone Wagon

● What Converts

Multi-Attribution Marketing Tools

Today's marketers know that a final point of interaction for the user's conversion is just one part of the customer journey. There was likely a myriad of interactions along the way to converting the customer. That is why the smart money in marketing is moving to multi-attribution reporting. Unfortunately, it's still a significant expense to track as much data as needed to assign all touchpoints in the customer's marketing journey. So, we wanted to include some of the more affordable options which you should test with your team. Make sure you find out what works best and what might improve the data before moving on to enterprise-level software.

● Google Analytics - Now Included Under Conversions > Multi-Channel Funnels

● PixelMe

● segment


● Kochava

● Statcounter

Landing Pages Tools

Another vital marketing tool to build before launch is implementing well-designed landing pages. Maximize your conversions by driving the marketing traffic to specific pages that match the user's intent. Having specific pages for marketing channels also helps define the lead source. Additionally, it allows you to monitor visitors and implement A/B testing to increase conversions.

● Landingi

● Leadpages

● Lander

● Instapage

Conversion Rate Optimization Tools

Many of the landing page tools or marketing specific channels will have ways of optimizing for conversions. However, should you need another option, there are a few which run a wide range of pricing.

● Crazy Egg

● UserTesting

● Five Second Test

● Decibel

● Optimizely

● Inspectlet


Website Visitor Tracking, Heat Maps, & More

Another valuable tool in both optimizing the user experience and collecting all potential marketing sources for a lead is website visitor tracking. Some of the tools above for conversion rate optimization include these tools as well. Review all the options before choosing as you may want to select an option that offers a combination of these requirements. Using these tools allows you to map back an IP address through all site visits to see if there were additional sources during the customer journey up to the point of conversion. They also provide some tools that help optimize the pages based on monitoring how users engage with the page.

● Mouseflow

● Hotjar

● Lucky Orange

● Clicktale

Data Collection & Aggregation for Improved Decisions

Image of globe and dollar signs with pinpoints representing data collection and aggregation representing

Now that you've implemented marketing tracking tools, you'll need another set of tools for data aggregation and analysis. It's vitally important to keep track of all possible marketing data. Marketing data can include general information on the market and target audiences. The data should also include all leads and opportunities you generate, even if you don't end up connecting or making the sale. 

To keep track of all that data, you need a system for Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and a database for Business Intelligence (BI) Analytics. Additionally, as that database grows, you will likely need to include some tools for big data analytics. Having these tools are vital to breaking down the information you collect to make more informed business decisions.

Data collection from your marketing tracking systems need a place to aggregate for analysis. Below is a list of great CRMs; however, make sure to research your options extensively. Some very popular CRMs don't provide significant value for their cost. Make sure your CRM integrates or, better yet, includes the tools and reporting you will need for your data.

Some CRMs rely on third-party apps. These applications are great as they expand functionality and allow you to choose what's essential to your organization. However, they quickly increase your monthly costs. Take a look at some of the tools you plan on using outside of your CRM to make sure they integrate. Focus on the prices of those integrations to understand the actual monthly cost of choosing your CRM. Additionally, some CRMs cost a lot of money to set up and maintain if you aren't well versed in system administration or coding.

Every time you choose any CRM with add-ons, you're making it harder and more complicated to change systems in the future. You are locking your team into these choices for quite a while. So make sure you consider all your options before you start or move your organization to a new CRM system. Check out our list of researched CRMs to learn more about their abilities to find a match for your company.

Data Analysis for Accurate Marketing Decisions

As your data grows in your CRM or database, the reports and analytics built-in may not be in-depth enough or allow you to gather the right insights. Once you have a large enough dataset, it may be time to consider data analytics tools to help you report on, configure, analyze, and visualize that data. It's not enough to have the information collected if you can't use it to make smarter decisions. These tools will help you see the patterns and focus on areas where your organization succeeds. It can also help show you the gaps in your performance or areas to target where you aren't currently focusing your marketing efforts.

You may notice that some of the CRMs above have specific analytics tools that work with their programs. If you are choosing a CRM that doesn't have native integrations with data analytics tools, don't worry. Many of these tools can organize your data from exported files. Though it is nice to have real-time updates and to cut out any "middlemen" software or processes that might otherwise be necessary. Try to optimize the tools you choose by selecting the ones that provide the majority of your requirements in tandem with supporting software.

How to Use These Tools for Business Insights

Man writing notes using data insights and holding a light bulb

At this point, you've tracked, aggregated, reported, and analyzed the data. But now you need to gain actionable insights from all the tools you've used. So where do you begin? Ask your team essential but straightforward questions like:

● What are the marketing trends do we see in the data?

● Are there specific marketing channels or locations where our marketing and sales are performing the best? If so, what aspects of that market are significant, and can we find other markets with similar demographics?

● Are specific ads, offers, creative, or copy driving more leads?

● Are the value of those leads better, or are we receiving junk leads that don't convert into genuine sales opportunities?

● When considering the costs of our marketing efforts and the labor each requires, how would we adjust ROI to consider intangible costs that affect profit?

● Can we build a marketing persona based on our most successful clients?

● Once we have that persona, are their other target demographics outside of that specific set of traits?

● Should we focus on those individuals or areas where we don't have enough exposure or try to expand our most successful markets?

● Do we have or have we implemented the right tactics or resources to compete in those markets where we aren't currently succeeding?

Make sure your data exposes the answers to these questions with statistical significance. Otherwise, adjust your tracking, data input, or analytics tools to answer what's most vital to your organization.

Using Data for Better Marketing Strategy and Return on Investment

Once you accurately track, collect, report, and analyze the data, you now have all the information you need to make better decisions for your marketing dollars. There are only a few things to do once you have all the data properly analyzed. You should cancel what's clearly not working. You should attempt to improve the channels with average results by testing more creative, ads, or offers.

Most importantly, you should increase investment in the strongest categories. However, make sure you are consistently tracking, analyzing, and adjusting. Successful marketing channels come and go. Trends build and then fade. Preferences grow and wane. Nothing lasts forever, and additional investment doesn't always yield a similar return on investment.

The Marketing Bell Curve

One of the most important aspects to understand (especially when increasing spend) is that all marketing channels have an ROI bell curve. If all other things remain the same, there is a sweet spot in your spend that provides the maximal return. At that point, decreasing investment will decrease return on investment, but increasing will have a similarly negative impact on return on investment. If you've noticed a drop off in performance after increasing investment in a particular channel, make sure you have given it enough time to normalize after the increase. 

A sustained lower result long after your average time to close should be adjusted. It could mean you have already achieved your optimal spend for that particular channel (for the time being). You may want to consider going back down to the previous spend levels to maintain a higher ROI. Maintaining the highest ROI is crucial if you are focused on efficiency instead of growth. If you are more focused on growth, another type of analysis is required. In that case, you may want to continue inefficient channels if they are adding new customers and revenue.

Partner with Marketing Data Experts for Optimal Results

As you can see, building, integrating, and optimizing the tools and strategies to improve your marketing results is no longer as simple as creating an ad in the Yellow Pages. The world has grown increasingly complex, but your business decisions don't need to be. Partner with Universal Creative Solutions, and we can implement the best data tools to optimize your marketing return on investment. Contact us for a free consultation on your existing systems or to start from scratch.