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For the first time in several years, marketers are being hit with the dreaded words: budget cuts. 

According to Gartner’s CMO Spend Survey, marketing budgets have officially stalled for the first time in three years. It’s becoming more and more critical to assess and report on the allocation of (a potentially dwindling) budget.

When was the last time you took inventory of how you’re tracking overall marketing budgets? Tracking budgets across a variety of marketing categories is the first step to tying spend back to results—aka the ever-challenging marketing return on investment (MROI) equation.

In a Harvard Business Review article, Amy Gallo (@amyegallo) highlights the following benefits of tracking MROI: 

  • Helps justify marketing spend
  • Aids in deciding what marketing campaign to put spend toward
  • Allows teams to compare marketing efficiency with competitors
  • Holds the marketing team accountable

However, Gallo also points out the ongoing challenges of calculating MROI, including lag time, incremental financial value and closed-loop reporting—just to name a few. On top of these challenges, it may feel intimidating to pull the correct metrics when starting from the ground up. 

Fear not marketers, for 2018 can be the year that your team finally defines and quantifies your MROI with the right metrics. First, you’ll need to compile your costs before calculating MROI. Below, we highlight five must-have marketing costs to track, followed by key metrics to calculate that will help you get one step closer to discovering your team’s MROI.

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By losing our biggest family golf championship, I stumbled upon an insanely powerful, free platform that lets you build your own marketing performance tools. 

The platform I'm referring to is the combination of Google Sheets and Google Apps Script. With it, I’ve managed to:

  • Connect sheets to data sources like Google Analytics through APIs.
  • Strategically build large data sets from multiple sources.
  • Marry marketing activities to performance metrics.
  • Build small algorithms to sort through and pull insights out of thousands of data points.
  • Allow multiple Google Sheets to communicate with one another.
  • And much more.

If you’ve got some coding background or are interested in learning to code, I’ve tried to incorporate everything you need to get started building your own marketing tools, including:

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It’s never been more important for marketers to understand their company’s business fundamentals. This sounds obvious. We should know—and understand—how our companies make money, right?

Apparently it’s time for a wake up call. A full 80% of CEOs don’t trust their marketing teams, according to new research from Kapost

Let that sink in. Our job is to develop credible, profitable connections with customers—and with the people that hire us.

We must do better. Marketers are under more pressure than ever to measure their impact and prove ROI.

To help achieve that goal, I’ve listed below six business fundamentals marketers should measure and how to measure them. This list is a starting point: You may need other or additional metrics depending on your company’s business model and / or available technology.

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Only 50% of all boardrooms are convinced on the value of social media, according to The Guardian.

But, from a marketer’s perspective, we understand the value social brings for brand awareness, positioning and more human engagements. In fact, 92% of marketers say social media is important for their business, and 80% indicate their efforts increased website traffic.  

If you can’t prove the ROI your social media efforts are delivering to the ones that matter––whether clients or c-suite executives––then it may be time to give your overall strategy a checkup. 

To ensure you’re delivering tangible impact and delivering value to your organization, build a custom social strategy that fits with your brand, industry and audience. Read below to learn the importance of performing a social media checkup, including 3 simple variables you can monitor to tailor social activity to targeted audiences. 

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The following is a guest post by Lauren Jung. Lauren is the co-founder of, an influencer marketing platform that enables brands and agencies to connect with the most relevant influencers. You can connect with her on Twitter or LinkedIn.

When brands and PR pros dive into the influencer marketing game, finding the right bloggers to partner with is key. From my own experience, people usually head on over to Google and search for influencers related to their industry. The more savvy marketers might use an influencer marketing platform to narrow down to the bloggers they feel are a good fit for their brand. Oftentimes though, they look for bloggers that have at least 10,000 followers across every social media platform. Any blogger with a smaller audience than their sought-after follower count is not even a consideration in their books. 

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By now you've undoubtedly heard it, especially if you're in marketing. It had to be the most overused statistic of 2014. Can you guess what it is?

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“Marketing is now, as it has always been, an art form. But the next generation of marketers understands it can be so much more. These innovators are rewriting what is possible when the art and science of marketing collide.”

[The Marketing Performance Blueprint is now available in print and digital. Visit the book site to learn more.]

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This article was originally published on the Marketing Score Blog. We decided to share it here as well because we think you'll find value in it too. Let us know what you think in the comments!

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Remember Magic Eye pictures? One Christmas, my uncle framed one for me and each of my cousins. It was one of the more memorable gifts that year because I was obsessed with seeing the hidden picture. The trick is you cross your eyes, squint and hum the theme song from Gilligan's Island.

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This article was originally published on the Marketing Score Blog. We decided to share it here as well because we think you'll find value in it too. Let us know what you think in the comments!


Where do your organizations’ best leads and sales originate?

Can you quantify how many daily, weekly, monthly or annual leads your business receives from each marketing channel? More importantly, do you know which channels bring your most qualified prospects at the lowest cost of customer acquisition?

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