Often regarded as a soft science, the ROI of marketing programs can be difficult to measure. There are many reasons for that, but here five of the most prominent:

  • Programs are often put in place without measurement vehicles.
  • The company is doing "reactive" marketing without a strategic road map.
  • The focus is on measuring individual programs, not on the big-picture marketing campaign.
  • Sales is pressuring to institute quick programs to achieve quarterly goals.
  • There is a disconnect in C-level support for proactive, coordinated strategic marketing.

A lot of tech marketers have put benchmarks in place and are providing quantification for some of their programs. But they are looking for ideas to improve their measurement strategies and to better justify their programs and campaigns.

Here are essential tips that should form the basis of the initial stages of your quantifiable marketing strategy.

1. Measure something

Start somewhere. If quantifying marketing programs is still outside your comfort zone, you aren't alone. The initial results projection for some programs will be an inexact science. Estimate where you must.

Do your best to isolate factors and ensure measurement strategies are in place. Use past benchmarks when they are available and best practices industry standards to project your results. The more quantification you do, the easier it will be to make it part of your process.

2. Get buy-in

Marketing is typically siloed—separated from the rest of the organization. It tends to be a service-oriented function, operating as a delivery mechanism for the sales or other departments. In too many environments, marketing is not given full accountability—or freedom—to impact the organization. The focus tends to be on measuring "intangibles," and there is no formal measurement process in place.

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Becky Sheetz-Runkle is a business-to-government marketing expert at Q2 Marketing (www.q2marketing.com) in Fairfax, Va., and the Tech Marketing Examiner on Examiner.com.