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A guest post by Irv Shapiro of Ifbyphone.

Admit it: Sometimes, you get knots in your stomach when you think about trying to attach measurable outcomes to all of your company’s multichannel marketing campaigns.



The (sort of) good news is that you’re not alone. Even veteran marketers are having a tough time finding ROI in the ever-expanding haystack that is today’s multichannel marketing environment.

But the unsettling news is that easy, online tracking tools and a shaky economy have created a C-suite expectation that every dollar spent must be connected to a quantifiable and measurable return.

Consider this: In a recent Ifbyphone survey, four out of five marketing professionals report that they are expected to deliver measurable results and outcomes for their campaigns. Yet only 29% of those marketers indicate that they can effectively measure ROI across all channels.

Sound familiar? It should, because a substantial portion of average ad spend (82%) still resides in offline channels---the kind of channels that can’t be effectively measured with quick and easy online tracking metrics.

When marketers are asked to identify the most difficult types of campaigns to measure, more than half refer to offline channels. Specifically, 33% cited public relations and 27% cited print ads as the most difficult campaigns to track, according to our survey, while only 6% referenced email marketing.

The need to attach accurate ROI to a full range of marketing channels isn’t going away soon. But there are at least three initiatives marketers can implement to improve their ability to identify return on both online and offline marketing campaigns.

1.
Fully Use Available Marketing Tools


In many cases, the difficulty in connecting ROI to specific marketing campaigns can be attributed to not using available marketing tools. According to the Ifbyphone survey, the most heavily used marketing tools include Web analytics (48%), email marketing software analytics (47%), lead counts from online contact forms (38%), social media monitoring (30%), and call tracking (27%).

Tools like social media monitoring and call tracking are gaining ground with marketers. While social media monitoring tracks an entirely new channel, call tracking is a way to measure traditional offline and online channels---including pay-per-click.

2.
Leverage Opportunities Presented by New Technologies


It has become increasingly important for marketers to maintain an awareness of new tools and emerging technologies, and be prepared to pounce on opportunities to use those technologies in the pursuit of more accurate ROI insights.

For example, Siri (Apple’s new voice-based digital assistant) transfers search functions from clicks to conversations. Instead of typing or clicking search criteria, users simply speak their requests, and the Siri application can intuitively create a connection to a brand.

From a marketing perspective, Siri creates new opportunities to understand the sources of sales leads and connect specific campaigns to measurable brand outcomes in their effort to forge more meaningful connections with consumers.

3.
Emphasize the Importance of Measurement Across All Channels


One of the most disturbing findings of Ifbyphone’s survey was the fact that while nearly nine out of 10 CMOs believe that every marketing campaign should be measured, more than a quarter of marketing assistants don’t see the value in marketing measurements.

This apparent disconnect between the C-suite and the front lines has important ramifications for both present and future marketing success. Through a combination of best practices, and proactive leadership and mentoring, executives need to educate tomorrow’s leaders about the role of accurate measurements in successful multichannel marketing programs.

At the end of the day, the best way to improve on marketing successes (and avoid marketing failures) is by emphasizing the need for accurate measurements across all channels. Despite the challenges, marketers and C-suite executives need to be relentless in their pursuit of new methods of evaluating the ROI of both offline and online marketing campaigns.

As CEO and CTO of Ifbyphone, Irv Shapiro is responsible for overall business strategy and corporate leadership. His business success has earned him several awards including as inductee status with the "Chicago Area Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame” and as gold winner in the Executive of the Year category for the Best in Biz Awards.

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