How to Attribute Marketing Campaigns to Revenue

A misconception still exists about marketing campaigns, and it’s due for debunking. Many organizations still look at marketing as a cost center. The reality is that it’s a revenue generator. A strategic marketing strategy drives traffic, leads, and conversions. However, it’s still a correlation that enterprise teams struggle to connect. So, what’s the best way to attribute marketing campaigns to revenue?

The answer isn’t one thing: it’s many. It requires developing campaigns that are trackable and measurable against revenue goals. Let’s dive into how to do it.

Demonstrating Content Marketing ROI Is a Significant Challenge

When creating any type of campaign for your content, you should always start with the goal. Then define the tactics to reach it. That seems simple enough, but it’s often hard to track the specific impact of content on revenue. In fact, the majority of B2B marketers don’t characterize their ability to do this as “excellent” or “very good,” according to the CMI (Content Marketing Institute).

cmi research - demonstrating roi - marketing campaign revenue

Image: CMI

Also, content marketing goals aren’t always specific to revenue generation. The same study found that 42 percent of marketers said they achieved a goal of revenue or sales with campaigns. That goal was well behind others like creating brand awareness, building trust, educating audiences, and enhancing loyalty.

While those goals aren’t specific to revenue, they all impact it. Revenue, especially in the case of longer buying cycles, doesn’t just happen! There’s an entire process that must occur, where buyers are researching, considering, comparing, and learning. This process requires lots of content. B2B buyers, on average, consume 13 pieces of content before they want to speak to sales.

So, you have to pave that path to sales with relevant, compelling content. Otherwise, prospects will abandon your business as an option.

In considering how marketing contributes to revenue, you have to measure everything. However, that’s not always easy!

Attributing Marketing Campaign to Revenue Requires Measuring Everything

While marketing ROI isn’t easy to calculate, most marketers (91 percent) think they’re making decisions that will positively affect revenue. Much of this falls into the bucket of demand gen content.

These campaigns focus on lead generation. But, as we learned, a lead often needs nurturing and attention to deliver revenue. As such, you need to track and measure that lead through the customer journey to ensure marketing receives the credit for the acquisition and subsequent ARR (annual recurring revenue).

The basics of measuring will be your content analytics, which often comes from multiple sources. To measure the “right” metrics to determine their attribution to revenue, you also need to do things like:

  • Include conversion CTAs at the end of content, depending on the funnel stage. If you don’t continue to lead the visitor to do what’s next, they’ll leave your website.
  • Determine the source of traffic to landing pages, including organic (i.e., social media, email marketing, SEO) and paid (i.e., social media ads, display ads, sponsored content, native advertising, SEM).
  • Track the percentage of new traffic, users, and clicks associated with organic search.
  • Tag links from content to a conversion with unique URLs. For example, a blog post that identifies and addresses a challenge could have a CTA at the end to request a demo of the product. You want to know that the last thing that prospect did before converting was read that post.

With these analytics on the performance of content in terms of delivering ROI, you’ll primarily be defining the MQLs (marketing qualified leads) passed to sales. Now, it’s in the hands of sales, but marketing is still supporting revenue.

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Post-MQL, Marketing Continues to Influence Revenue Capture

In the B2B world, your marketing efforts may convert someone into a customer. You can count that to your contributions. As you know, that’s not how it works most of the time. The customer journey is no longer linear. It can take much longer the more complex and expensive the product or service.

That means you pass off the MQLs to sales. Marketing is still driving the process, though, because you’re doing things like:

  • Continuing to educate and engage the prospect through email nurture tracks
  • Providing sales with sales enablement materials like comparisons, case studies, presentations, email scripts, product sheets, and more
  • Offering a consistent stream of content that’s relevant and helpful.

When running your monthly reports, you should include more than just MQLs or direct conversions for marketing campaign revenue attribution. Since you’re still tracking the MQL based on the emails they open, the links they click, and the content they consume, make sure they’re part of your report. It’s not about taking credit away from sales; it’s about showing that it’s a concerted effort of both departments to generate revenue.

Revenue Attribution Is More Useful than Conversion Tracking

First, conversion tracking isn’t bad, and you shouldn’t stop doing it. But it isn’t an indicator of revenue. Conversions don’t mean that the prospect will become a customer. Revenue attribution gets to the heart of how tactics and campaigns directly influence if the prospect buys.

If you have all the tracking parameters in place, you can put definitive numbers on a campaign’s ROI. You’ll know what your cost was in each campaign and the conversions. From those conversions, you can locate which ones became customers and the revenue associated. That’s the number that proves content’s value and informs you of what campaigns work and which ones don’t.

Marketing Campaign Revenue: Can You Prove ROI?

In parting, keep in mind that the way to attribute marketing campaigns to revenue is all about your ability to track all your efforts. That can be overwhelming and hard to do with many disparate systems. You’ll be able to do this more easily with content marketing software that aggregates all your data into one dashboard and runs your entire content operations. Find out how such a solution can make calculating ROI much more manageable by trying DivvyHQ for free!