The Marketing ROI Calculator – The Simple & Proven Formula for Calculating True Marketing Cost, Value and ROI

Put Your Marketing Team & Your Marketers on Notice! Your company will start using this proven formula to measure true marketing ROI !!

Introducing…The Marketing ROI Calculator – The Simple & Proven Formula for Calculating True Marketing Cost, Value and ROI !!

  1. Having trouble figuring out the value of your marketing efforts?

  2. Need a proven formula to calculate true marketing ROI?

  3. Want to continue marketing efforts that work and provide net income and abandon those efforts that are a net loss?

  4. Seeking to implement an improved world-class and six sigma marketing process to increase your marketing effectiveness while decreasing your marketing costs?

If you answered “yes” to any one of these questions, read the rest of this blog that delivers the true marketing ROI formula to help develop measured ROI driven marketing!

{Note: this is just one of many formulas variants I have developed for calculating marketing ROI and the actual one to implement will depend on the type of marketing you are performing}. 
The Marketing ROI Dilemma

The Marketing ROI Dilemma

Before we get into the main marketing ROI formula, I want to point out a relevant quote and sentiment from John Wanamaker who was an American merchant, civic and political figure, considered by some to be a pioneer in advertising and marketing. To that end and related to this topic, John Wanamaker once had a famous quote to illustrate his frustration with the inability to determine if his marketing and advertising spend was truly effective and if it was producing the expected ROI. This famous quote is as follows:

John Wanamaker & His Famous Marketing & Advertising Quote

John Wanamaker & His Famous Marketing & Advertising Quote

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The following blog content is focused on introducing the proven formula, in use by some advanced marketing companies across the US, for calculating marketing and campaign ROI designed to drive sales orders. The marketing ROI formula will be broken down in sections and then by individual fields. We will cover how the formula is used, what internal six-sigma marketing processes need to be put in place to support the population of this formula and how each field is calculated or derived.

Introducing the Tried and True Full Marketing ROI Formula:

Complete Marketing ROI Formula

Complete Marketing ROI Formula

This formula consists of a pre-launch campaign section illustrated in yellow above and a post-launch campaign section for the entry/update of actual campaign post-launch effectiveness and ROI.

Let’s now review each section in detail as follows: Pre-Launch ROI formula section:

Campaign Pre-Launch Marketing ROI Formula

Campaign Pre-Launch Marketing ROI Formula

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The first column of the pre-launch marketing ROI formula (“Campaign Number”) should be a uniquely identifiable campaign number or code being updated from your marketing automation system and the 2nd column (“Campaign Description”) should be the main goal of the marketing campaign (Customer: acquisition, retention, up-sell, cross-sell, branding or awareness, urgent business alert of crisis communication, etc.).

The 3rd column of the pre-launch marketing ROI formula (“Campaign Quantity”) is the campaign quantity being delivered to your customer audience (i.e. number of e-mails being delivered, mail, texts, etc.)

Campaign Quantity

Marketing Campaign Quantity

The 4th column of the pre-launch marketing ROI formula (“Materials and Labor Cost”) is critical to the ROI formula and will likely require a few marketing process changes, as well as IT system changes. A true six-sigma structured process marketing environment will require your company to track all labor hours and materials cost associated with the planning, development and launching of any and all campaigns. This requires that you create a work breakdown structure (WBS) to appropriately track hours and materials associated with each campaign you conduct. By doing this you will finally have the fully loaded cost for each campaign such as creative hours spent, strategy planning time, cost of materials (for direct mail, outsourced text or e-mail, etc.). The cost shown is the per-unit cost to send the campaign or 34 cents for each delivered campaign item.

Marketing Materials & Labor Cost

Marketing Materials & Labor Cost

The 5th column of the pre-launch marketing ROI formula (“Total Mktg. Cost”) is merely the unit cost expanded out to the total cost of the campaign (10,000 x. 34). If your delivered item is a single unit campaign quantity like web landing page, your campaign cost simply becomes the total labor hours used to develop this page and you can skip both columns 3 & 5.

Total Marketing Cost

Total Marketing Cost

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The 6th and last column of the pre-launch marketing ROI formula (“Plan Campaign Dates”) is the expected campaign execution dates that the orders (shown in the post campaign section) will be tracked against this particular campaign.

Planned Campaign Dates

Planned Campaign Dates (that orders will be tracked against)

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Let’s now review the last section of the marketing ROI formula in detail as follows: Post-Launch ROI formula section:

Campaign Post-Launch Formula

Campaign Post-Launch Formula

The first column is the actual campaign dates that the campaign executed in order to compare it to the planned campaign dates

To obtain the 2nd column of the post-launch marketing ROI formula (“# of Orders”) will require your company to develop the process of direct campaign attribution so that when customers order an item based on a campaign, those customers are incented to provide the campaign code (e.g. in exchange for a small discount) they viewed that drove them to order the item. By making this marketing process change, you have a direct way to track which campaigns drove which orders, by how much, etc. Car rental companies are excellent at this since every coupon is tracked with an encoded code such that they know exactly where the coupon was obtained, what campaign it was associated with, etc.

Number of Orders Associated with Campaign

# of Orders

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The 3rd column of the post launch marketing ROI formula (“Actual RR %”) is the redemption rate (RR) or simply the number of orders driven by the campaign, divided by the campaign quantity launched (column 3 of the pre-launch form).

Rate of Return for Campaign

Rate of Return

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The 4th column of the post launch marketing ROI formula (“Avg. Order Sold”) is the average order sold which is populated by your order system and is simply the total value of all orders divided by the number of orders. In this case the total of all orders is equal $2,175 (this becomes the 4th column, “Bookings”) divided by 15 orders = $145 average per order.

Average Order Sold (AOS) $$

Average Order Sold $$

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The 5th column of the post launch marketing ROI formula (“Bookings $$”) is simply the number of orders multiplied by the average $ per order or, in this case, 15 orders x $145 per average order = $2,175.

Bookings $ from Orders

Bookings $ from Orders

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The 6th column of the post launch marketing ROI formula is the Average Cost of Goods Sold (“COGS %”). In this case, the company has calculated that, historically, the cost of an average order is approximately 30% of an orders value. Another way to state this is that average margins are 70% and 30% is the cost to produce an order.

Cost of Goods Sold (Avg.) %

Cost of Goods Sold (Avg.) %

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The 7th column of the post launch marketing ROI formula (“COGS $”) is simply the COGS sold percentage (30%) multiplied by the total bookings $$ value ($2,175 x 30%) = $652.50

Cost of Goods $$

Cost of Goods $$

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The 8th column of the post launch marketing ROI formula (“Contribution $$”) is where we finally calculate the total ROI of the campaign via this simple 2 step process:

  1. Add the cost of the labor to produce the campaign as calculated in column 5 of the pre-launch formula to the cost to produce the orders that the campaign specifically drove.

  2. Subtract the total value of orders from #1 above.

Using the example shown in the full marketing ROI formula above, we first add the pre-launch materials and labor cost of $3,400 to a Cost Of Goods Sold (COGS) cost of $652.50 = ($3,400 + 652.50) = $4,052.50 We then subtract this total campaign cost from total bookings value of $2,175 = -$1,877.50.

Contribution $$

Contribution $$

The 9th and final column of the post launch marketing ROI formula (“Cost Per Order”) is simply the total number of orders divided by column 7 (“Contribution”) to determine how much each order is benefitting or costing the company when produced. In this case it is a contribution of -$1,877.50 divided by 15 = -$125.17.

Cost Per Order

Cost Per Order

Per the last section, it is important to note that, the greater the number of orders, the more likely the cost will go from a negative contribution to a positive. This occurs because you have generated enough bookings $$ to exceed the cost of the overhead associated with the labor cost to develop and launch the campaign.

Break even for this campaign would be to sell at least 34 orders where the contribution finally turns positive of $51 and the cost per order becomes +$1.50. Selling beyond 34 orders becomes pure profit for the campaign and adds to the bottom line contribution.

This sample below shows the equation using break even orders (“# of Orders”) of 34:

Campaign Break Even Example

Campaign Break Even Example

I have helped numerous companies across the US implement, not only the marketing ROI formula/equation, but an entire world class & six-sigma marketing process that accompanies the ROI formula.   Implementing this six-sigma marketing process includes implementing a marketing and campaign work breakdown structure (WBS), campaign tracking codes, a set of governing marketing performance metrics and benchmarks and much more.

Once this six sigma process architecture is in place, companies are able to implement a full closed loop marketing process and enable full marketing ROI and effectiveness tracking for any/all marketing initiatives and programs as well as the associated marketing campaigns. In addition to those benefits, companies experience an increase their marketing process repeat-ability and predictability as well as automation of numerous manual marketing tasks, leading to decreased marketing costs and decreased marketing cycle time.

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Measuring Marketing ROI vs. Measuring Customer Value & Equity

Hierarchy of Marketing ROI Analysis (Levels 1-4)

Hierarchy of Marketing ROI Analysis (Levels 1-4)

In this blog we cover the following topics:

  1. The four (4) levels of sophistication in measuring marketing and customer ROI
  2. The three traditional levels of marketing ROI that focus on spend vs. return
  3. The calculations for measuring campaign ROI, Brand ROI and Customer Spend ROI
  4. Why measuring customer value and equity is a far better measure than traditional marketing ROI
  5. How Customer Value and Equity Covers the Measurement of ALL customer facing activity – marketing, PR, sales, customer service, community relations, etc.
  6. What your company needs to do to increase its sophistication of measuring market and customer insights

The following chart depicts the capability levels for measuring market ROI and customer value.

Level 1: Campaign centric ROI is the measurement, at a campaign level, of campaign costs vs. campaign return (customer spend vs. campaign return)

Level 2: Brand Centric ROI is the measurement, at a brand level, of brand return for all conducted campaigns (roll up of campaign ROI to a brand level)

Level 3: Customer Spend ROI is the sum of all brand and all brand campaign ROI at a customer level.

Levels of Marketing ROI Measurement (Levels 1-4)

Levels of Marketing ROI Measurement (Levels 1-4)

The following chart defines the first three levels of marketing ROI and points out the pros and cons for utilizing each method. The downfall for all three methods, as indicated at the bottom of the chart, is that they rely on historical spend vs. forward looking measures as are found in Level 4 – Customer Value and Equity Measures.

Traditional Marketing & Customer ROI Methods (Levels 1-3)

Traditional Marketing & Customer ROI Methods (Levels 1-3)

The following chart depicts the calculations for determining campaign level and brand level ROI that, if done correctly, should roll up to a customer level (Level 3 – Customer Spend ROI). The detailed definition of the highest level (Level 4 – Customer Value & Equity) is covered just below in this blog.

Levels 1 – 3 Focus on Spend vs. Customer Value and Equity

Levels 1 – 3 Focus on Spend vs. Customer Value and Equity

The following chart defines the components of Level 4 ROI analysis – “Customer Value and Equity”.  This level includes the roll-up for Customer Spend ROI, but also includes insights that predict customer future behavior as well as defining how valuable the customer is to the company beyond what they spend.

For example, a customer who is referring 2-3 customers to the company per week, participating in customer focus groups is a far more valuable customer than another customer with equal spend with your company.  

Similar to company stock value, the measurement of customer value and equity is a far more robust way to measure the value of the customer base, how likely they are to remain a loyal customer, etc. 

Customer Value & Equity Calculations, as shown below includes several different indices such as Customer Contribution Index (CCI), Customer Perception Index (CPI), Customer Referral Index (CRI) and Customer Loyalty Index (CLI). These indices help determine the overall health of the customer base vs. merely customer spend as is associated with levels 1-3 (spend focused).

Customer Value and equity calculations take into account the level 1-3 spend ROI measures, but utilizes a balanced scorecard approach in that the indices above are weighted against the spend vs. ROI measures. For example, if Brand A has a high ROI but also has a bunch of irate customers unwilling to partner and participate in brand activities, then this is indicative of a brand that, while doing well now, will experience a great deal of future customer churn, negative social comments, brand tarnishing, etc.

Level 4 Marketing ROI Analysis - Customer Value & Equity

Level 4 Marketing ROI Analysis – Customer Value & Equity

The following chart further defines the difference between focusing on spend ROI analysis vs. focusing on customer value and equity.

Value of Focusing on Customer Value & Equity

Value of Focusing on Customer Value & Equity

The last chart provides some real examples of the difference between focusing on spend ROI analysis vs. focusing on customer value and equity.

Examples of Differences Between Spend ROI  Focus vs. Customer Value & Equity Focus

Examples of Differences Between Spend ROI
Focus vs. Customer Value & Equity Focus

The bottom line here is that if you are focusing on Level 1-3 ROI calculations, you have a short-term and myopic view of the health and value of your customer base and are missing the strategic and longer-term insights that enable you to determine customer, company and brand future value and earnings.

Any company thinking about acquiring another should perform this robust customer diagnostic to determine if they are inheriting a group of angry/upset customers that will defect after a merger or a set of extremely valuable customers with positive customer equity who will take the stock value of the merged company to the stratosphere.

Contact me to find out how to move past traditional marketing ROI measurement and how to evolve into developing more robust customer value and equity insights for your company.  

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