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Terminus Blog

October 8, 2020

Why the Unmeasurable Might Be the Key to Unlock ROI

Category: FlipMyFunnel Post

You’ve probably heard this phrase before:

What gets measured gets done.

Well, sometimes the reverse is true. 

And if it is for you, it might be killing your ROI.

So says Chris Walker, CEO at Refine Labs. He joined us today to talk about why shifting your marketing investment from performance to brand is the smart move.

What we talked about:

  • Why brand beats performance
  • The unmeasurables that provide real ROI
  • How to kill it with content

Why brand is best

At Refine Labs, Chris is working to change the way SaaS companies are spending their marketing dollars. 

It’s no secret that the go-to play for most SaaS companies is: 

Generate as many leads as possible, let your SDR team filter through them and whoever gets through will become an opportunity.  

“Anyone can push buttons and LinkedIn and get you conversions. The question is whether or not they’re going to buy something.”

But there are a few problems with this approach… 

And the most glaring one is that it’s no longer working. 

Buyers have changed. But most marketers haven’t and the ROI is dwindling. 

They spend a certain amount of money for a certain amount of leads, believing that the cost-per-lead is good. 

But is it? 

Take the ebook play: On average, 1% of ebooks downloads will convert to customers. 

So, that means your SDRs are following up with a thousand people and 999 of them aren’t buying. 

Chris is confident that he’s found a better way to get real ROI. 

But you have to think differently about how you measure your success.

The problem with measurements

When counseling companies on how to up their ROI, Chris invariably runs into one glaring mistake plaguing the marketing team… 

They’re obsessed with measurements. And, usually, the wrong ones.

For example, performance marketing relies on lead volume as the golden metric guiding marketing decisions — often, bad ones. 

“Marketers tend to do the things that they can measure, not the things that are most effective.” — Chris Walker

Chris thinks differently about measurements. 

His brand-based approach prioritizes killer content, clear communication and meaningful relationships over overworked SDRs, lead volume and attribution. 

To see why, you don’t have to look any further than this blog. Or the podcast from which it was derived.

If someone likes what Chris has to say and decides to buy, where is the attribution?

The truth is that so many key buying decisions are influenced by the unmeasurables: 

A LinkedIn post with some awesome advice. A chance meeting that builds rapport. And, of course, a podcast or blog appearance.

Just because it can’t be measured doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it.

And, to be clear, what Chris is advocating for is not abandoning all your metrics and flying by the seat of your pants. 

Keep your attribution software and your metrics — and look at all of them — but add another layer of common sense on top. 

Kill it with content

A big component of Chris’s approach is content, so it’s worthwhile to dive into how his organization has leveraged it for the benefit of themselves and their clients. 

Of course, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to killer content, but there are some things you should keep in mind.

  1. Every channel — and social media platform — has its own nuances. It’s important to tailor your content to each platform and audience.
  2. You need to keep in mind your goals. What are you trying to achieve on this channel?
  3. Measure success based on these goals. We already covered the problem metrics to avoid, but your goals should define what measurements you do look at — anything from audience enjoyment to requests for demos is a possibility.
  4. The focus should be on creating enjoyable content that drives outcomes for the customer. 

That last one is really important. 

Too many organizations make content out to be something anyone with a few metrics to look at can excel at. Worse still, they see it as a digital email-harvesting tool. 

“The point of content is for people to consume it — not for you to collect email addresses.” — Chris Walker

This mentality kills your content. 

And that’s bad enough by itself. But when combined with the fact that it’s based on a faulty premise… well, it’s just doubly wrong. 

Take email off of the pedestal marketers have exalted it to. 

Do you read marketing emails?

Yeah, neither do we. 

What we do read is advice on LinkedIn that helps us better do our jobs. We read blogs that unlock insights for our industry. We listen to podcasts that make us better. 

We flock to content that improves our lives and careers… 

And we’re willing to bet your customer does, too. 

This is a #FlipMyFunnel podcast. Check us out on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or here.

Written by Sangram Vajre

Sangram Vajre is the co-founder and chief evangelist of Terminus, the leader of the account-based marketing (ABM) movement transforming B2B marketing. Before co-founding Terminus, Sangram led the marketing team at Pardot through its acquisition by ExactTarget and then to Salesforce. Sangram is the author of Account-Based Marketing for Dummies and is the mastermind behind #FlipMyFunnel. Follow Sangram on Twitter at @sangramvajre.

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