Measuring Marketing ROI

How do you know if your marketing budget has been well-spent?

In many cases, you don’t. But that’s not the fault of your in-house media department or your advertising or PR agency.

The most likely cause of confusion goes all the way back to the original task assigned by management to the marketing team: an inability to relate tangible business outcomes to measurable marketing/communications objectives.

Going Back to the Beginning

By hiring Brand Central Station’s Mike Bawden to evaluate the R.O.I. generated by the marketing spend put behind a specific brand, you are asking someone with over 35 years’ experience to call upon both his business background and marketing talents to provide an objective review of someone else’s work.

Easy, right?

You’ll find the first thing Mike does is to have a one-on-one interview with key management who are ultimately responsible for the success or failure of the brand. Mike will review the charge given to the marketing team and ask the questions that (probably) should have been asked in the first place.

The end result, most often anyway, is a willingness by senior management to re-evaluate their expectations and be more open to the ultimate findings of the study – whether they’re good or bad.

Then the Hard Work Begins

Armed with a clear set of business objectives from senior management, Mike then conducts a review and audit of the marketing department’s output over the same period (usually a 12-month period). A timeline is reconstructed from all available materials (i.e. correspondence, purchase orders, invoices, etc.) and everything is systematically documented.

Once the objective review is completed, Mike then takes the time to review and make notes on the creative output produced during the evaluation period. That review may include interviews with vendors and in-house personnel to gain insights as to why certain creative or production decisions were made the way they were.

All Data Points are Compiled

Following the collection of all the data and its subsequent organization, Brand Central Station produces an in-depth report for review with management. The report usually includes an “overview” of 3-8 pages in length that can be shared with the marketing team.

If an in-person presentation of findings is requested for the entire team, one can be created and provided either live (in-person) or via recording/web.

Costs and Timeline

The cost for a project like this depends on the scope requested and the estimated number of hours spent conducting the research and compiling the information. In the past, such reports have run as low as $3,000 (for an evaluation of PR story placements over a 6-month period) to $25,000 (for a creative review over a 2-year span for a copyright lawsuit).

Time is billed at $150/hour + expenses.