Revenue Marketing: What It is and Why It Matters

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Kayla Carmicheal
Kayla Carmicheal


91% of marketers are confident that their making marketing decisions will positively impact revenue. Are you one of them?

Marketers developing a revenue marketing campaign

As marketers, we're well-versed in the main goals of internet marketing: to generate leads and new business. Revenue generated from online marketing justifies why we include online channels in our marketing efforts.

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How then, do marketers come up with a winning online marketing strategy that directly ties to their revenue goals?

If you're unsure of the answer, we've got you covered. In this article, we've outlined the steps that you can take to plan successful revenue marketing campaigns.

Let's explain revenue marketing a little bit more.

If you were to implement a revenue marketing plan, you would look at your revenue goals first instead of your business goals. For example, if the business has a goal to attract 10,000 new customers, but the revenue goal is to make $150,000 more than last quarter, a revenue campaign would strategize all the ways the team could generate $150,000 — ideally from 10,000 (or more) new customers.

Benefits of Revenue Marketing

Marketing efforts are typically broken down into four broad categories: Traditional marketing, lead generation, demand generation, and revenue marketing.

Many companies move through marketing efforts in this order. Traditional marketing comes first and includes a focus on building your brand — generating name and product recognition in the hope of driving sales later on.

Lead generation comes next. Here, marketing teams look to pinpoint high-value leads that are likely to take action and drive sales. Demand generation follows, and sees marketing and sales teams working in tandem to create multi-channel campaigns that bring interested B2C and B2B buyers to your site or sales platform.

Revenue marketing looks to scale up lead and demand generation processes by tying them to specific metrics and making them both reliable and repeatable. Effectively implemented, revenue marketing offers three key benefits.

Increased Customer Focus

Traditional marketing efforts are all about finding ways to boost demand by making products or services more appealing at scale. Revenue marketing flips the script to focus on what customers want.

What do customers want from the product? What would make them likely to buy more? Buy less? What non-product areas — such as speed of customer service response or the ability to easily navigate websites — have an impact on the likelihood of conversion? By focusing on the cultivation of long-term customer relationships, revenue marketing can help drive sustained sales.

Enhanced Team Alignment

Marketing and sales teams are often at odds. Where marketers look to positively raise brand profiles at large, sales teams are more concerned with the specifics of individual conversions. As a result, efforts from these two teams may work in opposition rather than tandem, in turn frustrating both outcomes.

Revenue marketing, meanwhile, helps put these teams on the same page with a singular focus: The customer. By getting everyone on board up-front — from sales and marketing team members to C-suite sponsors and even IT if needed — companies can align goals and outcomes across their organization.

Improved Goal-Setting

Speaking of goals, revenue marketing prioritizes — you guessed it — revenue, rather than leads, prospects, or potential demand. By tying success metrics to the generation of revenue from specific sources, it’s possible to create goals rooted in the reality of current sales volumes rather than predicated on predictions of potential customer action.

1. Customer Data Acquisition

First up? Data acquisition. Here’s why: The more businesses know about their customers, the better they’re able to create marketing and sales strategies capable of driving action. Effective acquisition starts with permission — make sure customers know what’s being collected, and why — and gets up to speed with data analysis tools capable of deriving patterns from real-time data sets.

2. Stakeholder Alignment

Given the scope of revenue marketing efforts, it’s also critical for companies to ensure stakeholder alignment. This means taking the time to sit down with relevant team members and create a strategy that gets everyone on board. Not only does this provide a roadmap moving forward, but sets a tone of collaboration from the outset.

3. Process Definition

Process comes next: What does the big picture revenue marketing campaign look like, and what specific processes will help achieve the goal? This often involves discussions around demand management, targeted marketing efforts, and the use of customer data to drive personalized campaigns.

4. Technology Implementation

From email newsletters to mobile apps and social media sites, technology is instrumental in effective revenue marketing. As a result, it’s worth looping in IT staff as soon as possible to identify services and software — such as in-depth big data programs and powerful CMS platforms — that can help companies reach their revenue marketing goals.

5. Results Management

Last but not least? Effective results management. This includes pinpointing the key metrics you’ll use to measure success — such as total number of sales over a specific period or revenue growth year-over-year — and how these metrics will inform revenue marketing efforts moving forward.

Developing an Effective Revenue Marketing Strategy

It’s not enough to know that you need a revenue marketing plan — you need a strategy to achieve this goal. Not sure where to start? We’ve got you covered with our 4-step process.

How to Develop a Revenue Marketing Plan

1. Set SMART revenue goals.

To reach your revenue goals, you have to make them! If you're a little confused on how to start making them or unsure of how to set them so they're effective for marketing campaigns, let's talk about how you can set measurable goals.

Before you set out to conduct online marketing strategies, your goal should be clearly defined and understood by the team working on the campaign. The easiest way to do that is to make sure your goal(s) is SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based.

For a little refresher on SMART goals and how they pertain to setting revenue goals for marketing campaigns, let's walk through an example.

Let's say a marketing team for a company is generating $10,000/month in revenue through online and traditional marketing efforts, but wants to generate more revenue through beefing up digital campaigns. They have decided on a goal to double their revenue.

While doubling revenue is a fantastic goal, it doesn't have any basis for how to get there. To make this goal SMART, the team can add some terms to make their path a little more clear.

So, instead of the marketing teams' goal being "Double revenue," it can be restructured to, "Through an online marketing campaign, the goal is to double revenue in six months by using channels chosen based on previous ROI data."

This goal gives a time span, is specific, relevant to the task, and measurable. While doubling revenue is a high goal, SMART goals can change; they're merely a guide to making sure your goals are reachable.

Begin by planning out your revenue goals. If you are still shaky on SMART goal making, HubSpot offers a free template you can download to guide you while writing them.

2. Audit your current website and marketing ROI.

Marketing analytics software can be used to measure the number of visits, leads, and generated sales you earn for each of your marketing channels. For example, HubSpot's Marketing Hub offers the tools marketers need to measure the success of their digital marketing campaigns, such as website metrics.

When you want to determine the initial ROI of online marketing efforts, using analytics tools is extremely critical. These tools have customizable settings that you can configure, so the platforms only track the metrics you care about.

If you want to use your revenue goals to inspire your internet marketing plan, the metrics that will be useful may vary based on your business goals, but here are a few that are especially helpful: SEO metrics, ROI from pay-per-click (PPC), your blog's conversion rates, and social media engagement.

Those metrics will tell you how your marketing efforts are ranking on Google, how many people are clicking on your ads or campaign offers, how helpful your content is to readers, and how your brand is perceived by its audience.

In general, if you intend to make money from a marketing channel, it's important you continue to measure and iterate your strategy based on that channel's core metrics. Once you know your analytics, you can use that data, paired with monthly revenue data, to estimate the conversion rate you aim to earn with your next campaign.

3. Conduct research to determine actionable steps.

If you're unsure of how to determine actionable steps in your plan, it's always helpful to do some research.

I know, I know: you might not have the time to devote to copious amounts of research. However, by seeking out some information, you'll be able to uncover actionable steps that work for similar companies' revenue marketing efforts.

For instance, we've talked about how leveraging data can help build your online marketing strategy. Before you start planning, if you're unsure of where to begin, refresh your memory of must-haves when writing a marketing plan. This post is a good place to start.

You can also look into downloading a report from a company that used revenue marketing. For instance, HubSpot offers this study, which details how revenue marketing worked for a campaign, and provides highlights of the report for those strapped for time.

Additionally, you can look at a case study to get an understanding of how a revenue marketing plan looks from a bird's eye view. This directory of case studies is organized based on industry, company size, and company goals, so you can easily find a case study that illustrates the plan you're considering for your own business.

Don't forget to look into how using SEO can help make smarter marketing decisions. If you are confident in your SEO efforts, look at keyword and competitive data to figure out how much time and money you should invest in pay-per-click to hit your goals.

Finally, research can help you determine if you're following the best practices for lead generation and tracking. You can find new ideas for converting leads into customers using online marketing channels, such as blogging and email, as nurturing tools.

To gain an understanding of how your marketing efforts help one another, and how to structure a chronological plan, a little research is necessary.

4. Put it all together.

Once you've got an idea of your current return, have set reasonable revenue goals, and know a bit more about the channels and methods you want to use, it's time to put it all together.

When you're building your internet marketing campaign, keep in mind that every step in your plan should be based on revenue goals. If you're going to use Facebook Ads as part of your campaign, for example, it should be understood by the team why that method will help you reach your revenue goal.

Spend some time ensuring the content you want to create for the campaign will resonate with its audience, as well. Blog posts need to be valuable to readers (Keyword research helps you figure out what readers are searching for) and social media content needs to engage followers, for example.

During your internet marketing planning process, outline how you're going to measure success. Revenue is the obvious metric to measure, but what software will you be using? How are you going to interpret the revenue you earn?

Once you've worked through your marketing plan, you should have all the resources in place to write a marketing report or case study from your findings on your own. Who knows — your report could even turn into a valuable content offer for your next revenue-based campaign.

Realizing Revenue Goals

Revenue marketing combines sales and marketing efforts to create campaigns that go beyond lead and demand generation to link campaigns with reliable and repeatable ROI.

Best bet? Start with a clear strategy to help identify sales opportunities, pinpoint conversion-ready leads, and create metrics that effectively align campaign efforts with revenue outcomes.

Editor's note: This post was originally published in March 19, 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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Topics: Goal Setting

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