Measuring ROI is marketers’ biggest business challenge, TagMan study shows

Forty one per cent of marketers believe reporting accurate ROI of all marketing activity is the biggest challenge currently facing their business, according to research by TagMan, a leading global tag management system, marketing data, and marketing attribution provider.

The study of over 200 senior digital marketing and e-commerce professionals across travel, retail, FMCG and financial sectors, was conducted by Finder Media to examine marketers’ current perceptions on marketing agility and marketing attribution within the digital sector.

It found 49% of marketers are not sure how they currently reward marketing partners such as technology vendors, email service providers and publishers, across different channels; while 55% of respondents still measure the success of display campaigns by click-through rates. The survey also found 35% of marketers find it a huge challenge to understand how different channels are working together, whilst 34% said the operational management of marketing systems is a big issue within their business.

Another key finding in the research survey was many marketers are still struggling to leverage big data and social media within campaigns. 59% of respondents said they believe big data could have a real impact on business revenue and profits, yet despite this, 36% admitted they still do not understand big data and 31% cited ‘data overload’ as their biggest business challenge. When it comes to social media, 43% are not confident that their social media investments are driving ROI, with a further 32% of respondents unsure of the value of social media.

Jon Baron, CEO of TagMan, said: “The aim of the study was to drill down into what brand marketers really think about how their jobs have changed, and it has uncovered some incredibly surprising results. Being able to understand what ROI your marketing spend is generating should be at the heart of a digital marketer’s focus, giving them the ability to interpret, value and respond to the data available to them. One of the more unexpected results that the survey returned was that digital marketers still considered e-mail as the most useful form of digital advertising. Insights generated from a tag management system’s holistic view may provide digital marketers with a greater perspective and highlight other more lucrative channels.”

TagMan customers weighed in on the study with their first-hand views on marketing agility and the challenges they are overcoming.

Peter Sensier, Waitrose’s online marketing manager, said: “Our goal is fairly straight forward, we want to better understand the required mix of budget, targeting and messaging for each channel as part of one customer journey. With that knowledge we believe we can better plan our activity across bought, earned and owned channels. That said, we recognise there are many different variations of the customer journey, so this is not so much an exercise of identifying the one exact path for all customers but rather identifying patterns in the channel mix that have the greatest positive effect on sales performance.”

Chris Allison, online sales manager at Air New Zealand, said: “[Tag management systems allow us] to react and employ an efficient and effective test and learning process which enable us to use our customer’s conversion data to sew a thread through the non-linear customer journey.”

Fergus Boyd – senior Manager, e-business strategy at Virgin Atlantic, said: “Marketing agility means making marketing decisions and responding to customers and market conditions in a timescale that allows value to be extracted. With all this in mind, we’re looking to review our sales attribution model in a big way to better understand the value of our marketing channels and how they contribute to sales. We know we need a blended mix of marketing channels and that they all add some value, but next steps are to optimise the mix across the funnel. Our focus is to extract insights rather than just extra data, as better insights lead to better decisions.’

Ron Brien, TagMan SVP, global marketing, said: “Marketers have access to an expanding arsenal of advertising channels and marketing technologies to help them ‘Win the Fight’ on Wasted Digital Spend.  By examining both marketer perceptions and quantifiable data, we hope to help marketers fight through biases and sub-optimal investments to understand the true impact of channels like Facebook, Mobile, Display Ads, Affiliate, Email & PPC so they can capture the minds of consumers, and convert prospects to customers.”

The full study (Marketing Agility: Win the Fight against Wasted Digital Spend) and findings are available to download today at