If you’re in B2B, you may consider taking a little different and more qualitative approach to ROI measurement. You can do that by using personal effectiveness of your thought leaders to estimate ROI against the time and money you put into a marketing programme.
Thought leaders are most valuable when they can increase the size of the funnel, the speed of flow through the funnel, or improve organisational effectiveness in delivering consulting, e.g. through less time and resources from your side because clients will have higher acceptance of your services and advice.
The objective of any marketing effort is ultimately to support and ideally increase business. Thought leaders using content marketing – being potentially educating and engaging to 1-on-1 dialogue – must have one or more of the following objectives:
- Brand image reinforcement (qualitative)
- Consultative acceptance (qualitative)
- Maturing of target audience (qualitative)
- Creation of new leads (quantitative)
Image reinforcement – Any unsolicited request for proposal that your company receive is ultimately the results of your company’s past accomplishments. Your brand image is built through performance, reputation and visibility. A strong market mindshare obviously encreases your brand recognition. Therefore knowledgable spokes persons and opinion makers do not only enhance their ”personal brand” but also that of the company they represent.
Consultative acceptance – Businesses that create content to serve the industry by the identification of new initiatives or sharing of ideas can create a name for themselves in the industry. Sharing of knowledge and generating awareness for the benefit of the entire business industry inspires the element of trust. A business that markets content simply to benefit the market, to better the industry—apparently in the absence of self-interest—empowers itself by enabling others. In this regard, we can qualitatively measure content marketing ROI in terms of acceptance i.e. how receptive other businesses and your customers are to the content and messaging your business conveys, in the present and in the future. Content marketing in the present can create a lasting impression of your business on other businesses and incline these businesses to refer back to you for advice and engagement.
Maturing your target audience – Content Marketing can expedite the sales cycle from the starting point of registration to the ending line of sales. Thought leadership engagement prepares the ground for all your subsequent direct marketing and sales activities. Marketing communication and sales approach to a ”pre-engaged” audience has significantly higher quality and outcome thus reinforcing the reputation of how you operate your business.
Creating new leads – do thought leaders have the power to generate new business for your company? Of course they do! Ultimately, your content marketing efforts should result in the harvesting of new business contacts. We can measure the creation of new suspects and prospects in terms of the increase in followers or the number of likes, downloads, etc., and the increase in qualified leads on the size of your sales funnel.