A Startup Marketing ROI Framework

marketing framework

In the last post, I talked about the challenges in measuring startup marketing ROI. A lot of goodness takes place, but there are elements that can be difficult to quantify. For example, how do you measure the success of effective messaging or strong value propositions?

Today, let’s focus on how to tell whether a startup’s marketing efforts are heading in the right direction. I have created a framework to assess startup marketing ROI.

The framework looks at a variety of marketing activities and the metrics used to measure success. Some activities have hard metrics (e.g. pageviews, subscribers, comments, downloads), while others use soft metrics (e.g. value propositions that people understand). In a world obsessed with data and growth hacking, the reality is there are different ways to assess if marketing is working; some of them don’t involve numbers and metrics.

In a world obsessed with data and growth hacking, the reality is there are different ways to assess if marketing is working; some of them don’t involve numbers and metrics.

Truth be told, marketing is quasi-science and quasi-art. Sometimes, marketing works because it is well-planned and executed. Sometimes, marketing works due to luck and being in the right place at the right time.

For each activity within this framework, there are also questions to determine if the marketing activity is working, as well as tools that can be used to drive and measure success. You can use the framework as a rough guide to get a handle on success, but it may not meet the needs of every startup.

You can use the framework this way:

1. Metrics: There is marketing with hard metrics, and marketing with soft metrics. They are measured in different ways. Some measurements are precise, while others are based on feedback from a variety of sources..For each type of marketing activity, the questions set the stage to have an informed and engaged discussion about marketing goals and objectives.

2. Questions to ask: The questions set the stage to have an informed and engaged discussion about marketing goals and objectives. Given marketing is a subjective and objective exercise, it is important to scrutinize, explore and test each marketing effort to ensure strategic and tactical changes occur when needed.

3. Tools: By no means is the list of tools comprehensive, but it should provide some good options to measure marketing success.

Another important consideration when striving for marketing success is ranking and prioritizing activity. While there are many options, startups have to recognize each activity consumes valuable resources (people, time, and money). As a result, startups should embrace marketing that drives the highest ROI – be it brand awareness, demos, leads, sales, etc. This could mean doing a minimal amount of marketing, but it is better to do a few things well as opposed to lots of things in a mediocre way.

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Startup Marketing ROI Framework

For start-ups and fast-growing companies looking to jump-start their marketing, I offer strategic and tactical services. Everything from building marketing engines to telling better stories through messaging/brand positioning, and reaching audiences by developing engaging content.

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