Marketing Operations Toolkit: Marketing Return on Investment (ROI)

By Triggerfish MarTech on August 6, 2020

Here at Triggerfish we strive to help companies form a Marketing Operations mindset.

This means moving away from a project-driven or “set it and forget it” way of thinking and evolving your marketing function to operate on a weekly, monthly and quarterly basis.

Your MarTech will never be “done”, so instead of reaching for the holy grail end result, think about identifying the right things to work on and making incremental progress over time.

To help organisations start thinking operationally with respect to their marketing function, or help them build a marketing operations team, we have created this 12-part blog series. We will be covering everything from Sales & Marketing alignment, growth marketing, digital strategy, creating ROI, cross-functional teams, and much more!

See the full series

Today, Creating a Marketing ROI

Marketing ROI, also known as benefits realisation, is the amount of revenue that a business earns which is attributable to marketing efforts. In other words, you need to be able to quantify the financial impact of both the money you spend – and the impact on the business as well.

Doing this requires discipline – you need to create a model and stick to it. Benefits realisation helps you build a pathway to understanding the ultimate benefit is not ever going to come out of the box straight away. No marketing effort pays off immediately, so your job is to understand when you’re on the correct path to generating ROI even when you’re not there yet.

Doing this job – and achieving benefits realisation – often means pursuing organisational change. It means developing the ability to take risks, and it means getting executive buy-in from someone with access to budget.

Creating a benefits realisation matrix

At Triggerfish, we use what’s known as a benefits realisation matrix. It’s got two axes and three categories of benefit that we can realise with any single change. The categories include:

  • Innovation: Spending money on new things
  • Status Quo: Refining identical activities and budget priorities
  • Optimisation: Removing expenditures and activities

The matrix is then built up in four layers. The bottom layer is about observable benefits, which is this idea where if we're all qualified professionals in a given area, we understand our customer world. We know what we're trying to get done as a business, and we're in different departments. If we see these things changing behaviour-wise, we can observe those changes in the organisation in either doing new things, doing things better, or stopping doing things, then we're on track.

Once everyone agrees on observables, we can start thinking about measuring them. Metrics represent the next layer of the matrix. We want to understand how to measure the observable items below and make them quantifiable.

Which metrics to measure

Next, we want to understand which metrics are good metrics. For example, a conversion percentage. Which conversion rate is attainable? Which conversion rate will drive enough business to sustain the company? Now that you’ve agreed upon measurements, it becomes much easier to think about which measurements will reflect well upon the organisation.

Finally, the last layer is financial metrics. Since you’ve agreed on things to observe, how to observe them, and what the observations mean, you can at last start thinking about dollars in versus dollars out.


We strive to provide companies with a best-in-class experience that can supercharge marketing efforts and realign them towards business goals. If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you transform your marketing approach, contact us today.