Does marketing really lead to more sales? If so, how, exactly?

If we had a straightforward answer to that question, entrepreneurs, small businesses, and large companies alike would have everything they need to build highly efficient growth-strategy blueprints. We could automate all aspects of marketing and save a lot of money as a result.

It can take years of experimentation to find your path through the forest.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on whether you see the world from a glass-half-full or a glass-half-empty perspective), marketing is much more complicated. It can take years of experimentation to find your path through the forest.

So does marketing increase revenue? Here’s how to answer this question for your own business:

1. Ask Your Customers

At the end of the day, attribution models will only take you so far with marketing measurement. It’s impossible to track every consumer touchpoint, especially as companies begin to evolve into multi-device buyer settings.

Instead, just survey your customers every so often to see whether your marketing decisions have impacted their decisions to make a purchase. Ask questions like, “Do you find our blog to be a helpful tool for discovering new products to try?”

If you want to know whether your content makes an impact with customers, just ask them.

2. Figure Out Which Actions Influence Revenue

The road from campaign ideation to implementation, conversion, and purchase is often long and winding; that’s why so many companies have trouble connecting the dots between marketing and revenue.

So how do you build a bridge to a more complete revenue picture? The answer is simple: describe the outcome of your marketing programs in terms of human behavior. Use the “common sense test” to connect the dots between those outcomes and marketing ROI.

Related: 4 Simple Marketing Templates for Analyzing Content 

These customer behaviors are most likely to influence purchases:

  • Engagement. The amount of time spent on your website or with your content is a sign that your audiences are interested. Take a look at what parts of your website are sparking the most interest. See if you can connect the dots between the actions you’re driving and the paths to purchase.
  • Click-throughs. Are audiences clicking through your content to learn more about your brand? If so, you’re looking at a positive marketing sign—audiences are showing interest in your products and services.

3. Determine How You’re Improving

It’s not always about revenue. When you reduce your costs, you’re able to increase your bottom-line performance benchmarks as a result. Conserve costs so you can devote more budget to improving your marketing (and as a result, increasing ROI).

Remember: you can control how you optimize revenue, just know what actions to focus on. Increase your revenue by prioritizing your impact.

Ritika Puri

About Ritika Puri

Ritika Puri is an entrepreneur who founded Storyhackers, a company that helps business create impactful and inspiring content programs. She enjoys writing about data, teaching others things that she’s learning, and helping other business owners succeed. In past lives, she built enterprise analytics programs and created revenue streams for an ad tech company. She is also an advisor to a mobile app startup, Sortly.