How to Explain Content Marketing ROI to Win (or Keep) Buy-In

Proving content marketing ROI can seem like a daunting task for real estate marketers, but finding and analyzing the right metrics effectively is crucial to measuring ROI, and ensuring buy-in.


  • Talking about marketing as if it’s an art rather than a science does a disservice to your department and to your brand as a whole.
  • Make sure your executives understand the nature and goals of your marketing strategy.
  • The right metrics will help you track ROI, and justify executive buy-in.

Accountability and showing a solid return on investment (ROI) is everything when it comes to ensuring that your business is allocating adequate resources to marketing your brand and properties. And let’s face it, too many executives think that marketing is, at best, about supporting sales or, at worst, a department that exists to paste logos onto coffee mugs.

Writing for Marketo, Content Marketing Specialist Bryson Runser points out that as an “informed marketer, it’s your duty to infuse credibility into your organization by way of meaningful metrics that tie directly to your top and bottom line.” While the C-suite famously cares nothing about internal marketing metrics like Facebook likes or click-through rate, metrics are crucial to the success of marketing real estate. Not only that, effective use of metrics is the best way to establish the function and importance of the marketing department within your organization.

Get your audience on the same page

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of proving content marketing ROI for the C-suite, it’s important to acknowledge that content marketing hasn’t been around all that long. It’s only in the past decade that the real estate industry has been reshaped by digital and content marketing. This means that you can’t necessarily count on the fact that your organization’s higher-ups understand exactly what content marketing is.

Take the time to make sure your executives understand not only the definition of content marketing, but also how it will help your real estate brand grow and your business achieve various specific goals. Content marketing expert Julia McCoy suggests using approachable metaphors, such as “content marketing is a vehicle, and content marketing strategy is the engine. The vehicle takes you to your destination only if the engine is in good shape.”

Numbers don’t lie

One of the main aspects of the “crisis of accountability” is a problematic view of what marketing is: “if marketing leaders insist that marketing is an art and not a science,” Runser writes,”then the department will remain isolated from other groups.” Establishing that content marketing is not only dependent upon data, but can also be measured, is key to changing that perception.

“Marketing must be able to justify their expenditures as investments in revenue and growth,” writes Runser. Of course, it’s partly a chicken-and-egg issue, since getting to the point of being able to talk about expenditures in this way does require investment from the top of your business.

We know that measuring the impact of content marketing can be tricky. But it’s not impossible. The first step is determining the right metrics to track. For more detailed ideas and analysis, check out this post, which details how to determine and use metrics for real estate marketers to measure the impact of content marketing on brand awareness.

Why are you reporting?

Collecting and reporting on content marketing ROI can feel like you’re spinning your wheels and collecting meaningless data. But it’s crucial to keep metrics focused on the main goal: to enable you and your business to make decisions that improve your marketing efforts. “This is the difference between backward-looking measurement and decision-focused management,” says Runser.

Data for the sake of data doesn’t do any good. Data should be used to shape insights, which in turn informs priorities and actions for your business. We’ve written before about the dangers of vanity metrics, which have no bearing on your bottom line but can give you an inflated sense of success.

It’s very easy to fall into the trap of meaningless data collection, especially when marketers are often struggling to prove their worthiness to the C-suite. But using metrics to improve marketing’s performance will go a long way towards winning over executives. “[B]y aligning data measurements with your company’s strategic objectives,” Runser writes, “it will be easier to allocate resources by revenue impact.”

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