Which digital marketing strategy drives the most revenue? It's a question most marketers have asked themselves at one point or another. As it turns out, the majority of marketers aren't sure which digital channel is the most effective. Out of a survey of 600 marketing professionals, one-third didn't know which channel had the biggest impact on revenue (1).
Not surprisingly, the answers differ between B2B and B2C. For B2B marketers, 31 percent said email, 16 percent said search engine optimization, and 12 percent said paid search. Coming in last were social media at 4 percent and display at 4 percent.
For the most part, these results aren't surprising. However, it's unfortunate how many marketers aren't able to say what channels drive ROI. If B2B marketing departments want to be seen as revenue generators rather than cost centers, they will need to be able to demonstrate to executives where budget dollars are going and what the value of these channels is. To gain better insight into how different channels are performing, it may be a good idea to invest in more effective analytics platforms. As marketers have better insight into which efforts are successful, they will be able to hone their strategies accordingly and improve.
The best marketing channel?
Email is still the reigning channel for determining ROI because its at the heart of marketing campaigns, from lead nurturing to continuing customer engagement. It leads to eventual sales. Companies attributed 23 percent of sales to email marketing in 2014, up from 18 percent in 2013 (2).
While email was rated the best in terms of demonstrating ROI, any digital marketing strategy needs a combination of different tactics. Email is great for engagement, but it's not a way to get discovered. Rather, it's ideal for engagement. That's why SEO and paid search are still so important. These strategies deliver inbound leads. Then, once visitors have landed on your page, they can provide contact information that allows your company to stay in touch with them.
Marketing has changed a lot over the past few years. Being successful requires technology know-how and the ability to harness analytics to determine ROI and make improvements to campaigns. However, it's important not to put all your eggs in one basket. Just because email is the top channel doesn't mean it's the only one to use. SEO, paid search and other tactics remain important for a robust marketing strategy.