Chat with the head of a marketing department about priorities or goals and you are bound to notice a powerful pain point emerge within just a few minutes. Beneath the conversation about strategic plans to improve ad-copy and get publicity in major news sources lurk fears that even a best effort will not mean getting credit for revenue growth.

Marketers are constantly asked to be the most creative they can be, but not always given the budget to do so. At the same time, what determines success or failure is the ability to drive ROI. Without the ability to invest in creativity, the ability to drive ROI is limited. To the unbiased or external observer, the tension between the two and the difference between effective marketing and a floundering campaign almost seems a bit chicken-and-egg.

So, is there a solution? Well, yes and no.

No:

Every market is unique and ever target audience is different. In this way, there is no cut-and-dry solution or formula for success.  

Yes:

For the first time, marketers have tools at their disposal that provide a channel for creativity, a way to nurture customer relationships, and that also provide an accurate way to track success.

In 1980, a marketer could estimate the number of impressions that a newspaper or television ad acquired. From there, they could continue to guess how that impacted sales, customer acquisition and revenue. Because of this vague “tracking”, the marketing department was often the first to go in hard times.

In 2012, a marketer can use a variety of online tools such as Twitter, Facebook, blogs, mobile ads and QR codes, to name a few. These social media resources open up a new world of opportunities to build customer base and brand loyalty. What sets them apart, however, is that they have a built in way to track how engaged those potential customers are with the company’s brand.

Even further, if one of those potential customers ends up making a purchase, it is possible to follow his purchase path from the first tweet he clicked on all the way to the purchase he made. This gives marketers credit for the offline impact of their online marketing efforts AND provides “feedback” about what is working in the marketing campaign. If one blog post or specific Twitter updates lead to sales, an online marketing strategy can be almost immediately adjusted to prioritize what is most effective.

Did you know that 53% of people on Twitter suggest companies or products in their tweets?  In August 2010, users posted 65 million tweets each day. In August 2011, users posted over 200 million each day…

Did you know that 53% of consumers in an August 2011 study reported that blog content led to a purchase decision?

Marketers:  Effectively using the different online marketing options you have is an essential piece of your ability to increase your business’ success. In the coming weeks, we’ll discuss these strategies in more depth, including blogging, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and more. What would you like to learn more about?