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MSP Best Practices: Capturing the Right ROI

Posted by Thomas Mayhew on Jun 9, 2016 9:13:50 AM
Thomas Mayhew
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cloud-169276180  1 We hear the term “return on investment” (ROI) on a regular basis from marketing teams, but it seems as though not many people understand what it means or how to manage expectations before investing in a marketing strategy. More often than not, I hear of proposals being submitted to vendors, through programs such as assistance with market development funds (MDF),  that are created with zero details around ROI or anything deeper than “awareness” from a goals perspective. Proposals like these are simply a mixture of activities like happy hour-style events, search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) campaigns, sales incentives, etc., with little thought being put into tangible ROI. I often wonder if anyone asked what the goal was before developing a “strategy”?With the amount of available vendor funding for MSPs, it is more important than ever to understand and think through results that will drive success for your business in order to take your share of those dollars.

What I find missing from many ROI calculator equations is any mention of the work needed on the front-end of planning and executing a marketing campaign. Before anyone can tell you what activity is the best to invest in, they should able to speak to the most pressing question every person should ask: why?

Why choose an email over a web advertisement? Why target 500 customers vs. 5000? Why is the campaign built to cover one month vs. one quarter, or the entire year?  If there is not a sound reason, based on the ideas mentioned above, then it begs another question—why am I even doing this?

The end goal of most campaigns is to increase sales. While there are certainly many campaigns geared at increasing overall brand awareness, signing customers up for some type of loyalty program or another type of qualitative metric, sales is often the driving factor.

Some things to consider as best practices on predicting ROI and presenting expected results on the front end include knowing the timeframe of the campaign you want to launch. This allows you to set a baseline when measuring results. If you are running a one-month campaign in December and you want to increase sales, you would use the sales from November (any trends being taken into account, of course, for seasonality), or use the sales from December of the previous year. To accurately define your baseline, you must have identified a target audience first. Also, knowing your customers is extremely important. What trends can you identify—like average order size, seasonal buying patterns and geographic regions. These all play a key role in developing your campaigns and predicting ROI. 

There are obviously some assumptions that are made long-term, but if you have done your research and built a solid plan based on that research, you will be more successful in not only predicting ROI, but delivering on it. Marketo has done a good job of describing how to use analytics to build better marketing proposals and can serve as a great resource.


Tom Mayhew helps manage the Tech Data Cloud and Service Provider go-to-market strategies, and works closely with vendor partners to identify, understand and act upon market trends to build out more successful marketing plans. 

Tags: MSP Best Practices, Marketing Best Practices