8 in 10 Marketers: Proving ROI is Only Going to Get More Important

Adobe-Future-Importance-of-Proving-ROI-Sept20132 in 3 CMOs are feeling pressure from the board to prove marketing’s value, a recent study from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business revealed. While 8 in 10 US marketers responding to a new Adobe survey believe that marketing has value and that value can be measured, about two-thirds agree that there is now more pressure to show return on investment on marketing spend. Most don’t believe that pressure will be going away anytime soon.

According to the study – which also found a lack of confidence among respondents in key marketing areas – 8 in 10 marketers feel that it will be much (29%) or somewhat (50%) more important for their marketing function to prove business impact and/or ROI in the next 12 months. This view appears to be commonly held across marketing staff (82%) and decision-makers (76%), as well as by digital marketers (75%) and marketing generalists (80%).

Proof of ROI isn’t growing from a position of unimportance, either. Currently, 83% of marketers indicate that it is extremely (39%) or somewhat (44%) important for their team to prove business impact and/or ROI, with those figures also relatively constant across the various segments.

Nevertheless, marketers don’t believe the focus on ROI is going to dissipate anytime soon, and as a result mark this among their top challenges. Asked how concerned they are about a range of marketing issues, 77% respondents that they are extremely or very concerned about proving campaign effectiveness, and 75% concurred with respect to demonstrating marketing return on investment. Those were the top responses behind reaching customers (82%) and understanding whether campaigns are working (79%).

When asked what they are most concerned about, marketers tended to rank proving ROI as their 3rd-biggest concern behind reaching customers and understanding whether campaigns are working. For digital marketers, though, demonstrating ROI ranked second behind reaching customers.

With fewer than half of respondents indicating that it’s easy to to prove ROI to management, it appears that marketers have their work cut out for them.

See here for marketers’ main problems calculating ROI, and the toughest questions they face on the job.

About the Data: The data is derived from a survey of 1,017 US marketers fielded between August 26 and September 11, 2013 by Research Now. The margin of error at the 95% confidence level for the total sample is +/- 3.1%.