“What’s the ROI for this campaign?”
As a marketing professional, it’s a question you’re used to hearing from your agency clients. They want to know that the money they’re investing into their marketing activities is paying off.
Yet proving the worth of your agency’s work can be an uphill battle. In fact, 28% of small- to medium-sized businesses say they have no transparency in how their budgets are used by their agency partners. Even further, “generating a positive ROI” is at the very bottom of the list of reasons why businesses love working with external agencies.
But demonstrating ROI for the marketing efforts you support for your clients doesn’t have to be a guessing game. By effectively tracking campaigns across different promotional channels, providing clear attribution with the right marketing tools, and managing performance expectations on a consistent basis with client check-ins, proving the value of a multichannel strategy will become second nature.
Why Multichannel Marketing Muddies the ROI Waters
Demonstrating ROI isn’t a new or unfamiliar challenge for marketers, with 61% of marketing leaders admitting that they aren’t even confident in their own ROI data.
Recently, though, the puzzle has become increasingly intricate as multichannel marketing continues to gain traction. While using a combination of communication and marketing channels is undeniably effective, it adds a new layer of complexity when it comes to proving ROI.
Marketing Campaigns Are More Complex Than Ever
Previously, many marketers and agencies relied on a “last click” attribution model, where the final, non-direct touchpoint with a customer is given the credit for the entire conversion.
That doesn’t hold water in today’s multichannel landscape. Marketing messages are spread across numerous outlets and the customer journey is filled with varied interactions and exposures.
A customer might see your client’s paid advertisement on Facebook and click through to the website. They might return a few days later through an Instagram post and opt-in for an email offer. They might finally take action a few days later after receiving an email nudge and pick up the phone to call for more information or to book an appointment or service.
Why should that email announcement get all of the glory for that conversion when there were numerous other channels and marketing activities that pushed the customer over the finish line? That’s one of the biggest challenges of multichannel ROI: figuring out how to get multichannel attribution right.
Customers Have More Options (And Flawed Memories)
“How did you hear about us?” is a question that many businesses have defaulted to in order to understand where customers are coming from. However, when it comes to multichannel marketing, customers’ answers to that question can be misleading.
Why? When a customer has several touchpoints with a business, they might not even remember how they first became aware of the brand. Was it the paid Google ad? Or did they stumble upon a blog post? Did a friend mention it? Which one actually came first?
When asked, customers will likely give into the psychological concept of the “economy of effort,” meaning they opt for the easiest or most straightforward answer to save time and energy. That gives businesses and their agencies faulty data about how customers actually got there, which makes it that much tougher to prove ROI of various channels and even entire campaigns.
Analytics Aren’t Unified
Today, effective marketing is all about data, data, data. Agencies have access to more information than ever before — but simply having the data isn’t the same as actually using it to make decisions and prove your value to your clients.
Unfortunately, 29% of small businesses say they don’t like working with external agencies because they don’t have any analytics to back up their value propositions. Research from Gartner found that marketers say that data influences only 54% of marketing decisions.
So where are things falling apart here? If we have the analytics, why aren’t we using them?
For many agency teams, it’s a lack of accessibility and unification. Marketers use an average of 12 tools (yikes!) to support data-driven marketing, which means the information they need to demonstrate the ROI of their clients’ multichannel campaigns is spread through various dashboards, spreadsheets, and platforms.
In short: Getting the analytics they need is time-consuming, cumbersome, and most importantly, ripe for errors and misattribution.
3 tips to Prove Multichannel ROI to Agency Clients
Answering the inevitable ROI question about multichannel marketing can be enough to make you put your head down on your desk.
But, there’s good news ahead: You absolutely can prove the ROI of your multichannel marketing campaigns to your agency clients — provided you take the right steps.
1. Set Clear Goals And Targets
In order to prove a solid return, you and your agency clients need to be aligned on what a campaign is trying to achieve.
Decide with your clients on the goals of your marketing efforts, which could:
- Build brand awareness
- Increase current customer engagement
- Address objections or remove barriers
- Drive sales or signups
This part isn’t unique to multichannel marketing. Working effectively with clients means you need to agree on what targets you want to meet. What does success look like for this campaign or marketing effort?
For multichannel marketing specifically, it can be helpful to get granular about your objectives. You might have a goal for the entire campaign (e.g., build brand awareness for CompanyXYZ) as well as more targeted goals and metrics for each channel you’ll use (e.g., get 2,000 new email subscribers).
That will help you ensure that each piece of the multichannel puzzle is living up to expectations — and you can make any necessary adjustments from there.
2. Establish Clear Attribution Models
Multichannel attribution doesn’t need to be so overwhelming and complex if you have the right tools in place.
To truly prove the ROI of multichannel marketing, you need visibility into the customer’s entire journey and all of their touchpoints — not just the last one that happened before a conversion.
CallRail helps agencies demonstrate value and wins to their clients with a variety of features and tools like:
- Call Tracking: With source tracking and multichannel lead attribution, your agency and your clients can understand every single one of a buyer’s interactions and their path to purchase — and better understand how multichannel marketing efforts are playing out.
- Form Tracking: Paired with Call Tracking, Form Tracking can help connect online and offline touch points throughout the buyer’s journey. From clicking on ads to downloading content from your website to making a call, you can see all interactions in one place, organized in a timeline to refer to now and in the future to best manage the relationship.
- Conversation Intelligence: Useful feedback about multichannel marketing campaigns can get missed or lost in phone conversations. With CallRail Conversation Intelligence, transcribe your calls through AI to analyze them for the words and phrases you want to target.
Understanding multichannel analytics shouldn’t feel confusing — and it definitely shouldn’t involve exporting data and pulling information from dozens of different tools. A unified solution like CallRail makes it that much easier to demystify the attribution process for your agency and your clients.
Read this case study to learn how better data helped Einstein Industries boost client ROI.
3. Regularly Review Analytics With Clients
Clients come to your agency for your wisdom and expertise. But understanding the analytics you’re collecting is another piece of the puzzle they need help with.
Small business owners say the fact that their agencies review analytics with them at a regular cadence is one of the top-cited reasons they love working with external agencies. Needless to say, it’s a part of the process that shouldn’t be skipped or glossed over.
Make the time to regularly review the analytics of multichannel marketing campaigns with your clients. Don’t send a monthly report and expect them to wade through the data and fend for themselves; talk in detail about what’s working, what isn’t, and how you’ll use that information to make strategic improvements and changes.
Doing so proves to them that you’re committed to making their campaigns as successful as possible (and, as a result, boosting their ROI).
Prove Your Value to Your Clients
The ROI conversation isn’t going away. It’s going to keep coming up and it will continue to become increasingly complex as marketing happens across more and more channels.
But here’s the thing: Your clients need your help to figure out multichannel marketing. Even better: A whopping 96% of businesses say they’re actually open to paying their agencies more for this kind of consultation support.
In order to attract and keep clients, the onus is on your agency to prove that you’re worth the additional spending — and the tips above will help you get there.
Want to learn even more about how you can show your agency clients that they’re getting their money’s worth? Download our essential guide for agency marketer’s to prove ROI to clients.