Is 2019 to be the year of ROI for Digital Marketing?

Digital Marketing

January 22, 2019

Written by Craig Freeman, Innovation and Development Director

Looking back on last year, are you able to sum up what you achieved with your digital marketing efforts? Are you proud of what you achieved? Are the key stakeholders within your business impressed with what you achieved? I hope so.

If that was not quite how last year went then be assured that you are not alone. Digital marketing is complex and it seems to be getting more so. I don’t mean digital marketing in the sense of publishing some Tweets about an article you found interesting, cobbling 300 words together for a blog about a new hire or getting some likes on a LinkedIn post about Christmas Jumper Day. When I talk about digital marketing, what I mean is strategic-led activity with clear objectives that add tangible value to your business.

That is what I’m talking about when I say digital marketing is getting more complex. To be honest, it has always been hard, but for a long time it has been easy to give the impression of success. You produce a lot of content, you reach a decent number of people with that content, you increase your followers consistently, you’re winning. However, if you dig a little deeper into the data that goes beyond the vanity metrics, you might find that you are only giving the imitation of winning.

3 reasons why I think you need to focus more on ROI in 2019

So why do I think that 2019 is going to be the year when we are asked to focus much more on the return on investment from digital marketing activity? Well, for three core reasons really.

  1. Budget holders (most of them anyway) now understand that digital marketing has the potential to bring real value and contribute to business development. Digital marketing has reached a level of maturity as a sales, marketing and communications tool. It’s not the ‘new kid on the block’ anymore. Therefore, the minute that they understand that, they will start asking more challenging questions and expect to see clearer, more tangible returns.


  1. Marketing and business development teams are becoming one and the same, and digital marketing channels cross both disciplines perfectly. This means that expectations for marketing activity have moved on from pushing out high-level brand messaging, to activity that helps to build relationships, engage, open doors and, more directly, support lead and business generation.


  1. I am not going to say the ‘B’ word, we hear it enough everywhere else as it is, but the political and economic situation is leading to the financial services sector showing a little more caution. Budgets seem to still be there to be spent but they are not being handed out easily. Teams are required to demonstrate clear strategies and plans to show how they will achieve the defined objectives.


This is resulting in a much deeper level of consideration of how digital and wider marketing and communications channels are used and optimised with clear markers of success. Ultimately, this makes it much easier to measure returns. Reporting can then be built to track the specific metrics that indicate whether activity is working or not.

So, while marketing teams might be having to work harder to achieve what is expected of them, they are being forced to think more strategically, which in the long run will actually make their task easier and more rewarding.

If you are unsure how best to develop a more strategic approach, we’d love to talk you through our Strategic Marketing Framework. Learn more here and let us know if you’d like to set up a chat.