Return on investment (ROI) is front and center in the modern marketing organization as a way to measure and track performance. Every program, campaign, or technology should have this framework applied to it to answer the question, “What is the actual return on the investment I am making in hard dollars?” Content marketing is also core to the modern marketing organization, with dedicated resources doing nothing more than writing whitepapers, eBooks, blog posts, contributed articles, and more.
The list is long, and producing meaningful content requires both talented resources as well as a focus on what the target buyer persona is interested in learning as they go through the buyer’s journey. Connecting the dots between what marketing produces, sales uses, and the customer consumes remains elusive for most organizations. In fact, even mapping what pieces of content should be used at various stages of the sales cycle is often not in place. Broadly speaking, organizations do not apply the same ROI rigor to their content efforts as they do to a trade show or paid advertising campaign. There is still an investment being made, and with content, not a lot of great ways to know if that piece of collateral that the marketing team generated actually drove a deal forward or was instrumental in getting one closed. This great post from the Content Marketing Institute covers “Content Marketing ROI,” but when it comes to sales metrics, there is an admission that, “In many cases, that type of data is hard to track down, so value isn’t so easily correlated to a single asset.”
The true dollars and cents of content marketing come from sales metrics. While the rest of the metrics mentioned here are important, sales metrics are the easiest aspect of the ROI equation to understand.
The best content ROI model will be based on sales metrics, not social shares or times utilized in a campaign. Closing this loop from marketing to sales to customer is only achievable by using a sales engagement platform that understands this full lifecycle and provides the analytics to connect what is created to what is used to what closes deals. If you do not have this level of visibility in your organization, you are fundamentally missing the ROI calculation for your content efforts.
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