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Boosting Your ROI by Strengthening the Upper Funnel

CRM CRM, Consumer Insights & Activation, Data, Data maturity, Measurement 3 min read
Profile picture for user Hyunjin.Oh

Written by
Hyunjin Oh
Senior Enterprise Consultant

An arm holding a iphone sitting at a table with a notebook and coffee

As an Enterprise Consultant, there’s a question I often get from clients when we start working together on their digital marketing campaigns: how can we improve the return on investment? Let’s take, for example, an email marketing campaign. There’s an abundance of factors that go into achieving the highest possible ROI—from personalizing your message to optimizing email campaign journeys based on the campaign performance—but while everyone’s focusing on click-through and open rates, the key is often hiding at an earlier stage.

For one of our clients, their team had spent quite a good amount of time and effort building a series of email marketing campaigns in order to optimize online customer journeys. Some results were great: the CTR, for example, was extremely high considering the industry benchmark. So, how come the team was not able to demonstrate the impact of their investment just yet?

As soon as our team set out to analyze the email campaign data from top to bottom, a common issue sprung into view. It wasn’t really about the email content or the automation settings. The problem was at the top of their email campaign journey: the number of email leads put into the campaign pipelines was significantly low.

Before you start, consider your input.

Data from the 2022 ROI Report by Nielsen shows that increased investment in upper-funnel to mid-funnel marketing campaigns elevated brands’ ROI by 70%. Clearly, it is critical to create and strengthen a marketing system where you can maximize the impact of your input and draw the best outcomes. However, at times, we forget two of the main aspects of implementing a successful marketing strategy: the amount and quality of your input. Both should be satisfied, because without a decent amount of quality email leads at the top of the email marketing funnel, the outcomes will never suffice or provide the expected value for the team’s investment.

The Nielsen report also shows a significant, positive correlation between audience targeting and campaign ROI: high target reach campaigns (those that aim to reach a large number of people within a specific target audience) present a higher ROI than medium and lower target reach campaigns. Considering the power of the upper-mid funnel marketing, audience targeting in the upper funnel can lead to unlock maximized potentials of campaign performance. But in order to secure a healthy amount of customers at the top of the funnel, approaching the right targets in your upper funnel campaigns is pivotal. And here’s the good news: media campaign platforms offer a variety of options for you to fine-tune your targeting strategies by grouping customers into meaningful subsets.

When it comes to navigating the myriad categories and data points used for targeting, I follow a list of strategies and criteria to better target and activate audiences in marketing campaigns, which in turn helps to improve the upper funnel. Note that some strategies may not be viable, depending on the features of the media campaign platforms your team is using or the availability of the online customer data.

  • Demographics: gender, age, education, job title, etc.
  • Life events: critical lifetime milestones such as change in marital status, having a baby, or buying a house.
  • Affinity: specific interests of consumers while browsing online.
  • In-market: strong consumer interest in the products or services you are selling.
  • Previous interactions with your website or app: visited, viewed a product, clicked “add to cart,” logged in, downloaded brochures, etc.
  • Current customers: existing records in CRM matching with the campaign channels.
  • Likely-to-be customers: people who are sharing similar characteristics to the existing customers.

By segmenting target customers into the right subsets and serving them relevant content in marketing channels, your team will be more likely to have strong upper pipelines, leading to stronger performance down the funnel. And if your team has robust input and a solid marketing system, ROI improvement is just around the corner!


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The website has been translated to English with the help of Humans and AI