With the growing adoption of blogging and social media as legitimate, necessary marketing initiatives, comes the growing demand for the need to track their effectiveness and prove they contribute to driving revenue. Obviously, this is a lot more challenging than tracking the results of a tradeshow, email campaign or webinar. When marketers request budget for social media and other soft marketing initiatives, many executives ask, “How do these initiatives drive revenue, and how can you track it?” Marketing Strategist Ardath Albee offers insight on tracking soft marketing initiatives and their impact on the bottom line in her post Marketing Metrics: The Hard and The Soft. She does a great job differentiating between hard and soft marketing and explains how combining the two is what ultimately drives revenue and transforms leads into buyers.
In her post, she explains that she is a big fan of marketing automation technology and the ability to score leads based on online behavior and demographics. This enables marketers to measure soft marketing initiatives and determine the quality of a lead based on the responses to those initiatives. Her point being, if you are able to track a lead’s conversations and interactions with your brand and put metrics to those, you can determine if soft initiatives increase the quality of a lead. Once a pattern is established, you can decide if soft marketing drives revenue.
Here is an example of what a lead scoring model would look integrating soft marketing initiatives: Joe Prospect is interested lead nurturing, he sets up a google alert for the term “lead nurturing”. You publish a “Best Practices in Lead Nurturing” post on your blog. Joe visits your blog, posts a comment, you send him an email inviting him to download a whitepaper on lead nurturing. He downloads the whitepaper, you send him a follow-up email, and he reads it. He then takes an online demo.
So in this model, Joe is getting scored not only on his response to hard marketing initiatives, such as filling out prospect pages and viewing an online demo, but also on his interactions with sales reps, blog visits and comments. His score would, in turn, be higher than a prospect who simply registered for a whitepaper and then later viewed an online demo. This progression also shows how soft marketing, such as online conversations, interactions and brand awareness, can be used to move a prospect through the process and make them more sales ready. If leads with higher scores under this model exhibit higher closing ratios, you prove the value of soft marketing initiatives.