How to Measure + Improve Yours


What is return on investment (ROI)?

Return on investment (ROI) considers how much you’re spending on a particular marketing tool or strategy and compares that to how much you’re earning from it. In short, it’s a way to measure the profit that something drives.

If you’re on this page, it means you have questions about the ROI of marketing automation tools. Maybe you’re wondering whether those tools are worth the investment, or maybe you already have one and want to know how to measure it.

We’ll cover several aspects of marketing automation on this page, including:

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How to calculate your marketing automation ROI

Let’s start by talking about how to calculate the financial ROI of your marketing automation. This calculation is quite simple — simply subtract your sales growth from your marketing automation cost and divide the number you get by your marketing automation cost. 

As a formula, it looks like this:

Marketing automation ROI = (marketing automation cost – sales growth) / marketing automation cost

Of course, the real trick is figuring out how to calculate marketing automation cost and sales growth. Each business measures those things differently, so it’s up to you to decide which expenses and earnings you count toward marketing automation.

How else can you measure the value of marketing automation?

When you think of ROI, the first thing that probably comes to mind is money. Typically, that’s the type of measurement that ROI is — a financial one. It’s a way of balancing expenses and earnings.

But ROI can be more than that. Financial ROI is the easiest one to track and measure, but when considering what you can get from a marketing automation tool, there are benefits beyond saving or earning you more money.

To demonstrate that, let’s look at a few of the biggest factors that contribute to the value of marketing automation tools.

Saved time

“For many marketing teams, time is as important as (or in some cases even more important than) money, so if automating a process can save you time, that has to be factored into the equation when looking at the tool’s impact.”


Nolan Barger
DataTech Solutions Technical Lead at WebFX

Using a marketing automation tool can save you a ton of time. That’s because automation can handle many of the day-to-day tasks that would otherwise occupy your employees’ time. They have time to work on other things while the automation handles mundane tasks.

Plus, automation tools can often achieve those tasks more quickly than human employees can, especially if it’s something as simple as moving numbers around or copy-and-pasting data. That means you can accomplish more tasks at once and accomplish them faster.

Fewer errors

Another contribution to marketing automation value is accuracy. Many of the tasks businesses automate have to do with data, particularly migrating data or making calculations. When it comes to these tasks, an automation tool is often better than a human employee.

That’s because humans have the capacity for error, which is bound to crop up at some point while working with giant datasets and copying-and-pasting numbers repeatedly. But a machine can do all of that without ever getting tired or slipping up with a calculation, saving your company a lot of headaches.

Increased innovation and creativity

Thirdly, using automation can boost your company’s innovation and creativity. Wait, what? Automation can increase creativity? That doesn’t sound right. But it’s true.

It’s not the automation that does the creating, though — it’s the other way around. The automation can take over all the least creative tasks. That leaves your human employees open to invest more time in abstract, creative projects like writing helpful blog posts and pitching new campaign ideas.

As a result, you might also experience better moods and less burnout across your employees, helping their creative spark to increase even more.

How to improve your marketing automation ROI

Now that we’ve talked about ways of measuring your marketing automation value, how do you improve it? If you calculate your ROI and find that it’s lower than you’d like, you need to know what you can do to bring it up.

Here are three tactics that reliably improve the ROI of marketing automation.

1. Use personalization

One way to increase the value of marketing automation is to personalize your campaigns as much as you can. Sometimes, automation can make your marketing overly generic, with the tool pumping out the same material to everyone.

You don’t want that because people won’t respond as well to it. Instead, find ways of personalizing your marketing. One major way to do that is to segment your audience, which involves breaking it apart into smaller groups based on demographics and interests and targeting each of those groups separately.

You can also have each email autofill the recipient’s name at the beginning, ensuring that each person gets an email addressed to them by name.

2. Plan for scalability

“Don’t forget when evaluating platforms to look at what else they offer. When I review software…I not only look at ‘does this meet our needs today,’ but ‘does this have the ability to scale with us as our business evolves in the coming years.’  If the answer to #2 is no, I’ll be exploring other options.”


Nolan Barger
DataTech Solutions Technical Lead at WebFX

When you get a marketing automation platform, you might only need it for a specific task. For that reason, you might focus solely on the tool’s ability to do that task, ignoring all its other capabilities. But when getting a tool, you should consider all the things it can do.

As time goes by, you may encounter other tasks that an automation tool could help with. When that happens, you want your current tool to be able to handle them so that you don’t have to go get a new tool each time a new problem comes along.

For example, maybe you’re initially only interested in automating data migration. But later, you find that you’re spending too long managing your email campaigns. If your automation tool doesn’t really handle email marketing, now you have to go get a whole new tool, when you could have gotten a tool that does both to begin with.

3. Track and analyze detailed metrics

Finally, it’s important to track various key performance indicators (KPIs) related to your marketing automation performance. ROI is obviously one of these metrics, but there are others that factor into things as well, including:

Observing these metrics will allow you to see what kinds of results your marketing automation is driving, meaning you’ll get a better sense of which areas need improvement and which ones are successful. Because of that, you’ll be more effective at optimizing your automation workflow over time.

MarketingCloudFX:The perfect marketing automation tool for your business

Now that you have a better understanding of the value of marketing automation, you may be wondering which automation tool is right for you. There are several different options out there, but we can make a recommendation right now: MarketingCloudFX.

MarketingCloudFX is WebFX’s proprietary marketing automation software. Whether it’s data unification, marketing analytics, email marketing, or something else, MarketingCloudFX can help you with streamlining it.

Plus, when you partner with WebFX, you’ll get more than just the tool itself — you’ll also get access to our top-of-the-line digital marketing services. Interested in partnering with us? Just call us at 888-601-5359 or contact us online today to get started!

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