By Ale Melara
Businesses use a wide variety of techniques to catch a customer’s attention and draw them to their doors or online platform.
But how does a business know which of these marketing strategies is making a difference and which is just totally missing the mark?
That’s where closed-loop marketing and reporting comes into play.
In this article, I dive into the purpose of closed-loop marketing, explain how it works, and explore which closed-loop marketing metrics your team should report on if you want to boost your marketing ROI.
What Exactly Is Closed-Loop Marketing?
Closed-loop marketing uses data to track your customers’ entire buyer lifecycles from beginning to end. By connecting the marketing plans and strategies with the final sale, organizations can “close the loops” along each step in a buyer’s journey and as they flow through different sales, marketing, and customer service efforts.
Backed with the right tools and informed by the right types of data, a marketing team can follow and record a visitor’s behavior and see which elements helped and which added friction to their experience. This data is also constantly funneled into customer relationship management (CRM) software and, paired with website data, it lets your team follow potential customers along their journey and get a pretty picture of the process of becoming a customer.
Sure, there are catches. But for the most part, closed-loop marketing metrics provide clear, measurable data that helps boost conversion rates and demonstrate marketing ROI that can go right back to your boss or client.
HubSpot put out a great visual on exactly how this works in four steps:
Source: HubSpot, How Closed-Loop Marketing Works
How Does Closed-Loop Reporting Work?
The magic ingredient of closed-loop reporting is the tracking code. Tracking codes, such as UTM parameters, are added to the end of your URL to identify the visitor’s source of origin.
You end up with a URL that looks similar to the example below (I’ve bolded the UTM code in the URL):
That little string of characters on the end of the URL allows you to track your visitors throughout their journey with Google Analytics or the marketing software of your choice.
From Theory to Practice: Tracking Closed-Loop Marketing Metrics
If you take a step back, closed-loop marketing isn’t as daunting as it sounds. In fact, organizing your marketing data around its principles and steps can provide the actionable information your team needs to boost its marketing ROI.
Here are five types of closed-loop marketing metrics to get you started:
1. Visitor’s Source
Identify a visitor’s original source at the point they land on your website, which will show you whether they came in through social media, email, another website, or another digital gateway. This identification is also known as first-touch attribution.
With this information, marketing teams can focus their efforts on refining those sources that are working well and restrategizing around those that aren’t getting the results they expected.
2. Visitor’s Behavior
Track what the visitor does once they arrive so you can gain a better understanding of what elements are influencing their decision to buy or not.
A powerful related metric is conversion rate, which measures the percentage of leads or website visitors who take a desired action, such as making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or downloading a resource. Tracking conversion rates at various stages of the sales funnel helps identify areas for improvement and optimization.
3. Cost per Lead (CPL)
It’s one thing to bring in a new customer. It’s quite another to spend way too much time and resources to snag that one sale.
That’s where closed-loop marketing can help with cost per lead (CPL). CPL measures the average cost of acquiring a single lead through your marketing efforts and is calculated by dividing the total marketing spend by the number of leads generated.
Monitoring CPL helps teams assess how well different marketing campaigns and channels are performing, which can guide them in allocating their marketing budgets more effectively.
4. Customer’s Potential
Also known as sales-qualified lead (SQL) scoring, pulling data that can help to filter and sort through different customers can be a huge boost for your sales team. Using data shaped by a closed-loop marketing approach can help to track the number of SQLs generated from marketing efforts, provide insight into lead quality, and help evaluate the alignment between marketing and sales.
5. Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
CAC measures the average cost of acquiring a new customer. It includes all expenses related to marketing, advertising, sales efforts, and other activities to identify how efficiently your marketing process helps with acquiring new customers after they move through each stage of the funnel. Marketing teams can take this to the next level by comparing the CAC to the lifetime value of a customer (LTV) to determine the profitability of their marketing efforts.
The Fast Pass for Marketing Metrics Success
Ready to elevate your marketing game with these metrics and so much more?
Then it’s time to ensure your team is firing on all cylinders with our Goal Setting and Reporting Template Bundle. Using these resources, your team will have the tools and know-how to refine your marketing objectives, showcase your progress, and develop the strategic clarity your organization needs for sustained success.
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This post was originally published in February 2017 and has been updated since.
About the author
Ale Melara is a Sr. Content Marketing Manager based out of El Salvador, Central America. Ale is our very first LATAM employee. She's worked remotely for the past 5 years and she's had different roles in sales and marketing. In her free time, she works on creating educational videos around digital marketing for her "Inbound Nomad" social accounts where she promotes traveling the world while being a full-time marketer. Read more articles by Ale Melara.