The technology investments that a modern company requires in order to keep up with its competition are often massive. Depending upon the needs of your company, you may invest in many different areas, including:
- High-speed cloud hosting
- Digital advertising on search engines and social media
- Social media managers and online content writers
- Marketing automation platform
- Customer database solutions
- Online credit card processing and other e-commerce services
It may feel as though your technology expenses increase every year. So how can a business tell what the are actually getting for your money?
Where digital marketing expenses are concerned, many companies rely on a customer's last click before he or she purchases a product to attribute the purchase to a specific advertising campaign. With most technology investments, though, determining your return isn't actually that simple.
Last Click Attribution
Last click attribution is a simple way of determining the ROI of online marketing campaigns. Suppose your company has an online marketing campaign running on multiple channels such as Google, Bing and Facebook. Each advertisement a unique tracking code.
If someone clicks one of the advertisements and purchases a product, you can use your website's analytics platform to find the tracking code and determine which advertisement the customer clicked before purchasing. If you assume that the last advertisement the customer clicked was the one that earned the sale, you're using last click attribution to determine your ROI.
Some cloud-based marketing platforms such as Adobe Marketing Cloud have the ability to perform more complex attribution of your marketing efforts. Is the last advertisement that a customer clicked before buying really the one that earned you the customer?
What if the customer had previously seen your company's website because you published an informative blog post that was shared on social media? After reading the blog post, perhaps the customer saw a banner advertisement that kept your company fresh in his mind. Finally, the customer saw an advertisement on a Google search results page, clicked it and purchased a product.
What actually earned your company the business -- the blog post, the banner ad or the search engine ad? Complex attribution analyzes the online behavior of your customers to see the actions that result each time your company touches a customer across multiple channels.
If your company engages in large multi-channel marketing campaigns, complex attribution can calculate your ROI more accurately than last click attribution.
Other Technology Purchases
It is relatively easy to calculate the ROI of your marketing expenses because marketing leads directly to sales. With other technology purchases, calculating the ROI is often more difficult. How much did that upgrade to cloud hosting
How much did that upgrade to cloud hosting really improve your company's bottom line? If a technology purchase doesn't lead directly to sales, you'll have to calculate your ROI in other ways.
Reduced Burden on Staff
Any technology purchase that reduces productivity bottlenecks on your staff gives you the ability to allocate those resources to other projects.
Suppose, for example, that you move your company's web hosting and CRM database from internal servers to the Cloud. Since the cloud provider will handle server management for you, your internal IT staff can spend its time tweaking your cloud setup for better performance or redesigning your website to provide a better user experience. You may even be able to reduce the headcount of your IT department.
Suppose, for example, that you move your company's web hosting and CRM database from internal servers to the Cloud. Since the cloud provider will handle server management for you, internal IT staff can spend time tweaking your cloud setup for better performance or redesigning your website to provide a better user experience. You may even be able to reduce the headcount of your IT department.
A technology upgrade can often reduce the amount of time needed to perform certain tasks. Integrating your website's content management system with your CRM database is an example of a technology upgrade that can be a great time saver for sales staff.
Integrating your CRM and CMS systems give you the ability to create profiles detailing the pages that customers view on your website as well as their interests and purchase histories.
Your sales staff can use the information in your customer profiles to make better marketing decisions. They'll also spend less time arriving at those decisions because they won't need to access multiple systems for research.
Ongoing Cost Reduction
Any time you make a change to your company's existing technology, you can calculate your ROI by weighing the cost of the upgrade against the ongoing cost of maintaining the old technology.
Upgrading the operating systems that the computers in your office use is one example. Millions of computers still run Windows XP. Even the United States Navy still uses Windows XP, paying Microsoft millions of dollars for ongoing support.
Upgrading to Windows 10 might be a significant expense for your business. However, the expense might pale in comparison to that of continuing to support legacy software with security holes.