If you’re a business owner, you probably keep a close watch on sales return on investment for all of your products or campaigns. But how closely are you watching your marketing ROI? Most business owners don’t realize that they need to monitor marketing return on investment just as closely, if not closer, than sales return on investment. If you’re not, there’s no way to truly gauge how well the business is doing. Contrary to popular belief, marketing and sales are not the same. Sales is but a component of a larger marketing model that includes development of new products and services, research on how well a product would do with target consumers, figuring out who those target consumers are, and then selling the product. Marketing also includes methods such as social media, advertising, and online content. Despite this important process, many businesses only measure the results obtained through direct sales. Unfortunately, this only gives a portion of the equation. Marketing Automation Many marketing strategies which businesses fail to measure may offer a much greater ROI than direct sales strategies, and yet they are often deleted from the equation. For instance, sales obtained through email campaigns or blogs may not always be directly included when determining sales ROI. Social media marketing is also often hard to measure, both in monetary ROI and in the acquisition of loyal customers through greater CRM. Why the lack of focus on marketing? The fact is, most business owners assume that sales ROI is higher than marketing returns. They invest thousands, sometimes millions, of dollars hiring and training new sales people, and developing new sales procedures to increase overall revenue. The problem with this way of thinking is that sales returns are limited. A company can only sell what their staff is capable of selling in a day’s time. To increase that number, more sales people must be hired and then properly trained. There’s also the potential for monetary losses when employees call in sick, or when certain people fail to bring in expected sales. The reality is that marketing returns are higher than sales returns. While marketing campaigns do also require the time and energy of talented employees, it doesn’t require hiring more workers to up the marketing ante. Once a campaign is developed and put in place, and once it’s been shown to be effective, it doesn’t require any more man power to implement a higher output in many areas. In fact, many marketing tasks can be automated to save staff time and energy. For instance, automated email responders can be set with pre-written messages for new and existing customers. This isn’t so with a sales force, which depends primarily on direct person to person contact with customers either in person or over the phone. Solutions How can you overcome this misstep in your own business? Factor in the benefits, both short- and long-term, when determining your ROI. You should also avoid being narrow in your thinking and include all marketing efforts and benefits. For instance, the time and effort required to interact with consumer via social networks may not present immediate monetary results, but it can result in more loyal customers and greater profits.