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How to measure content marketing ROI the right way (HubHeroes, Ep. 13)

How to measure content marketing ROI the right way (HubHeroes, Ep. 13)

“How do we measure the ROI of our content marketing?” It seems like a simple question at first but, hoo boy, it’s loaded like a baked potato.

On its surface, the answer to that question is easy:

You can effectively measure content marketing ROI when your marketing, sales, and leadership teams are aligned on what success looks like (and the KPIs by which you'll measure it), and you have the marketing and sales automation in place (e.g., HubSpot Marketing Hub and HubSpot Sales Hub) to produce the attribution reporting you need to prove the ROI of your content.

However, when you peel back the layers exhaustive inbound jargon in that, the key players in the content marketing ROI conversation also have other much deeper worries and concerns that I hear a lot from my clients:

The content marketer:

“I need my boss to see that the work I’m doing is actually making a difference. Whenever I share numbers, it’s not uncommon for people in leadership to not see the growth as having a real impact on the business. I can’t connect the dots between the wins we’re seeing on the marketing side to actual revenue - what if one day they decide the work I’m doing is an expense, and I get cut?”

The marketing leader:

“I’m under a lot of pressure from sales and leadership to deliver with our content marketing – I need to demonstrate that my team is delivering qualified leads to sales that should be converted into closed deals. But somehow I’m always swimming upstream proving the value of the work they’re doing. If I don’t start showing that value soon, I may be on the chopping block - or my people might be.

I also need better reporting because I need to know, in real-time, what is and isn’t working, so I can make pivots faster to optimize the results we’re getting.”

The sales stakeholder:

“We need leads that are actually qualified, not just marked as qualified by marketing. Plus, if we're investing all of these resources in creating content, it only makes sense that we're making sure we're doing more than just 'increasing brand awareness,' because 'awareness' alone doesn't close deals.”

The business owner:

“If I’m going to invest in inbound and HubSpot, I need to know what we’re doing is actually working. Every dollar and cent we’re spending on marketing right now needs to count, we can’t afford waste.”

If any of that sounds familiar, you're in the right place. In this completely wild episode – trust me, this is NOT your usual episode of the HubHeroes, friends (more on that later) – we dig deep into every nook and cranny of the content marketing ROI conversation. 

How do you get everyone – marketing, sales, leadership – on the same page about what success looks like? What should your technology stack look like to effectively measure the ROI of your content marketing? Those are just a few of the questions you'll get answers to ... 

Here's what we cover in this episode ...

  • Overcoming the misconception that marketing is an expense and not a profit center, as well as why this myth persists.
  • Why content marketing ROI is such a pain point for most organizations and what to do about, depending on where you're starting from.
  • The most common mistake folks make when they first start out with the content marketing ROI reporting conversation and how to avoid them.
  • From a non-technology standpoint, what needs to be true within an organization for effective content marketing ROI reporting to be possible.
  • ....and from a TECHNOLOGY standpoint, what needs to be true within an organization for effective content marketing ROI reporting to be possible.
  • What a smart content marketing ROI reporting cadence looks like ... or should you even have a cadence? (There's some debate here!)

And then there was one other big surprise bombshell we dropped in this episode!  

This week's HubHeroes bombshell

When you tune in this week, you'll notice something wildly different. While I'm 100% here, spitting HubSpot fire like usual, there's someone else who will now be permanently joining our ranks as a HubHero ... the one and only Liz Murphy:

The HubHeroes Podcast-Liz

Now, some of of y'all may be familiar with Liz, as she's been in the inbound and HubSpot world for years – most notably as the previous editor-in-chief at IMPACT. (She's also graciously contributed some great content nerd knowledge here before about blog outlining and developing a content strategy.) Today, Liz is out on her own as an independent content strategist and brand messaging therapist through her consultancy, Buona Volpe

And she's also agreed to be the permanent HubHeroes Podcast facilitator and ringmaster on each week's episode. Why did we make this change? Well, I'll be honest with you, it's a pretty vulnerable story on why I decided we needed to do this, and I talk about it at the start of this episode, so tune in to find out ... 


This episode is ridiculous in how much actionable goodness is packed inside of it. So, instead of listing it all here, just trust my guy, Devyn, and watch Christopher Penn's INBOUND 2016 talk on building the data-driven customer journey. It is a must-watch for anyone (in any seat) who cares about content marketing ROI.


HubHeroes Community

A Totally Unforgettable, Unhinged HubHeroes #INBOUND23 Recap (HubHeroes, Ep. 52)

A Totally Unforgettable, Unhinged HubHeroes #INBOUND23 Recap (HubHeroes, Ep. 52)

Hey, everybody! It's Liz here, your friendly, neighborhood content strategist and co-host of the HubHeroes podcast. Now, you may be wondering why I'm...

The Ultimate HubHeroes Sales Enablement Strategy Round-up (Best of the Podcast)

The Ultimate HubHeroes Sales Enablement Strategy Round-up (Best of the Podcast)

Look, there's been some speculation that this particular charismatic HubHero (with volume control issues) was unable to attend HubSpot's...

hubspot forms contacts strategy conversions cro

HubHeroes Lampoon's Wild, Wacky, Winning HubSpot Forms Adventure (HubHeroes, Ep. 51)

In our world, where HubSpot, inbound, and content reign supreme, it's easy to overlook probably THE MOST ESSENTIAL HubSpot tool that exists. No,...

Meet your HubHeroes

Liz Murphy


Agency vet, content therapist, messaging strategist, HubHero wrangler.

Devyn Bellamy


HubSpotter, partner enabler, strategy wizard, BLACK@INBOUND.

Max Cohen


HubSpotter, senior solutions engineer, CRM evangelist, a millennial on TikTok.

George B. Thomas


HubHeroes leader, growth catalyst, guardian of humans, HubSpot expert.



There's a big change coming to HubHeroes, folks

George B. Thomas (00:00:00):

Well Hub hero community, this is not the intro that you're used to because we have to sit down and we have to have a conversation because every now and then in life, you realize that you have to make a change. So what I need you to do is understand that the real episode is gonna start in a little bit, but we have to have a conversation. Sometimes when you're trying to do the best you can do to serve a community, you come into a time where you realize maybe you have been doing them a disservice. Let me explain. The other day, I was on a meeting with my most fabulous content strategist, Liz, and she was asking me questions about a piece of content that we wanted to create. And in the middle of just talking or what I thought was just talking, she got a look and the look, well, honestly, it scared the shit out of me.

And at that moment she said, Where is this? During the Hub Heroes Podcast? To which I asked her, What do you mean? She said, Dude, you're spitting fire. And here's the thing, we talked about it and we realized together that for the first 12 episodes of Hub Heroes Podcast, I, your boy, George B. Thomas, have been in facilitator mode, Meaning I've been trying to get the baton to pass back and forth between myself and Max and Devin and create an amazing podcast experience for you, the listener. But I haven't been able to fully give all of myself. And if this is the first episodes you're listening to, one thing that you'll learn in the future is I really love to give 100% of myself to you the HubSpot community. And so when I heard those words, I knew that something needed to change. And so in the episode that you're about to listen to, I get to not be a facilitator, but I get to, as Liz so eloquently said, try to spit some fire to help you be a better HubSpot user.

What is (and isn't) changing with Liz as our new facilitator and host

Now, before we change into this different type of podcast, just know Max will still be on the show. Devin will still be on the show, Special guests will still be on the show. Liz will be on the show, and she will actually be the facilitator helping us create the best content for you, the HubSpot user to be able to use moving forward.

Now, I don't just want you to jump into the episode and be like, What is happening? So I actually need you to meet Liz and all of her awesomeness. So what we're gonna do is do a short introduction where you get to know Liz. By the way, Liz, ladies and gentlemen has been sitting here quietly the entire time listening to me, and I believe preparing to almost even tell her own version because I like to water things down occasionally. But Liz, how the heck are you doing, Liz?

Liz Murphy (00:02:56):

Greetings, lessers. Attention fives a 10 is speaking. No, I'm just kidding. Hi, George. My favorite part of how you watered down that story was what I actually said to you was you looked at me and said, Oh, I'm not sure I like that face. And because my head was in my hands and I said, I have never been so inspired and effing infuriated in my entire life. Well, what do you mean by that, Liz? Where is this? George? Where is he? And ladies and gentlemen, that's why we're here today. Hi, I'm Liz. You will get to know me

George B. Thomas (00:03:30):
And I do want them to get to know you. So I have a few questions that I've prepared. So first of all, why don't you explain to the Hub, Heroes, listeners, kind of who you are, what you do, and now as of recently, where you actually do it?

Liz Murphy (00:03:45):
Oh, that's right. Okay. So I have actually been in the HubSpot and Inbound community since 2014. I worked at Quintain, which was a partner agency in the HubSpot world. I worked at Impact as the editor in chief there for a number of years. Again, an elite partner agency. Most recently I was at a boutique marketing firm based in Tennessee as the head of brand and content. And now I am on my own. I have been lucky enough over the past almost 10 years or so to specialize as a content strategist. Some people call it a content therapist, George. I think you can attest to that, cuz sometimes they yell at you, but I promise you it's because I love you, mad at you and I love you. But no, what I really work to do is I work with purpose driven brands, entrepreneurs, business leaders, industry thought leaders, as much as I hate the term, it is a real thing to create the content they need to make money, drive revenue, spark a movement, build a business, whatever it is that they are trying to do, whatever work they're meant to do on this earth, I help them find the words and the content strategies and the brand messaging and the stories that sell to do it.

So yes, now I do that on my own. I own a small consulting firm called Buona Volpe because, well, that means good Fox and Italian, and I wish I had some sort of fancy story around it, but really it's just because my lawyer, Michael Gottlieb told me I needed a name someone else didn't have. I didn't wanna make up a word. I'm part Italian and I like foxes, and here we are. So yeah, that's a little bit about me. I have been very passionate about inbound since day one.

I had a similar moment to you, George, that you had when you went to Inbound in 2012. And it was this whole idea of like, Hey guys, what if we stopped being intrusive butt heads with advertising and instead educated people so they could make their own decisions? I'm like, Wow, that sounds great. Tell me more. That's where I am. That's what brings us to today where I was yelling at you two weeks ago and now I'm on your podcast.

George B. Thomas (00:05:52):

Yeah, I absolutely love it. And here's the thing, one of the things that I loved when we first started the podcast is that we got to know people a little bit better Now, Hub Heroes, listeners, I hope you realize that Liz can actually bring the fire. Liz understands the inbound ecosystem, the HubSpot world that we're talking about. So this is gonna give her the ability to unlock questions and go in directions that maybe a newbie type person wouldn't allow for this podcast. So it was a perfect fit. But at the beginning of our journey with Hub Heroes, we got to learn about Devon and martial arts, and we got to learn about max and paintball. And hey, let's not forget, we got to learn about me and my peanut butter and pickle sandwiches, which by the way,

Liz Murphy (00:06:40):

I have grievances about

George B. Thomas (00:06:42):

That, which I absolutely still love to this day, but don't knock it till you try it. But Liz, here's the thing, I'm super curious. Outside of the HubSpot eco inbound system, what is Liz's passion about? What's your like, Oh, this is kind of my little hidden or unhi passion.

Liz's inbound origin story actually started with a layoff ... and beer?

Liz Murphy (00:07:00):

So for those who do know me, this is not hidden, but most people do not realize this. So when I got into inbound, I actually had a problem. I had two now, two competing personal brands. There's Liz Murphy, content strategist speaking it, inbound speaking at marketing, prop speaking at all these different places, making content strategies. And also Liz Murphy, the beer writer for six years of the Capital Gazette in Baltimore Sun. And what's so funny about it is my beer column is actually how I landed my first inbound job. I was working at a digital publisher. I had just become the beer writer for the Capital, which is based in Annapolis, Maryland, which is where I lived now, owned by the Baltimore Sun. And I met Kathleen Booth, who at the time owned Quintain Marketing, the inbound agency. I met her by accident. A friend of mine invited me out to lunch and I'm like, I don't want to go out to lunch.

I want to sit in the dark and cry because I just got laid off. She's like, Just come out for lunch, it'll be fun. So I changed out of my pajamas into cleaner pajamas, lept down the road to a local restaurant, only to find that the entire staff of Quintain marketing was there having just done the Mid-Atlantic Inbound marketing summit. And I'm like, Oh my God, if a lightning strike could just happen right now, that would be great. And I turned to my friend and I said, I am so excited to see you and everyone you work with looking like I just got dumped. So Kathleen comes walking up if you've met her, her, she's one of the most beautiful women I've ever met. Five Foot 11 Boss Lady, absolutely incredible. After leaving now the special VP of marketing at Pavilion, she looks at me and goes, You're Liz Murphy.

And I said, Yes, you write the beer column, don't you? Yeah, I don't like beer. I'm like, Oh my gosh, I want to sink into the floor and become one with the carpet. This is just a great day. And then she said, But I really like your writing style and I never miss a column. I'd love to talk to you because we're struggling to create content, and I'm wondering if any agency owners are out there still wondering how to do it. That is a common problem. And thus, my Little Journey was born. So the backstory is, is that I was a beer writer for about six and a half years. That's how most people know me. In fact, people in the beer community were surprised to find out that beer writing is not a full-time job. And I actually had a full-fledged career as a marketer. It's they're baffled. They're completely baffled by it. I also was emotionally allergic to olives until the age of 36.

George B. Thomas (00:09:37):

Oh wow. Yeah, I love me some olives. But here's the thing. More importantly, Hub Heroes, listeners, I hope you understand a couple things. One, anybody who loves beer is cool. Also, anybody who likes to go out in public in their pajamas and be comfortable is amazing. And hopefully you can tell too that Liz is a masterful storyteller and is gonna add a ton of value to episodes moving forward. Now, this is the other thing that I want to end with before we kick into the actual episode, Liz, because everybody gets a cartoon. Max's Batman, he's got his tool belt of amazing, useful, actionable items around hubs, spotted inbound. Devon is Deadpool. He can be the funniest dude who then immediately starts to just spit stuff that makes your brain explode. And of course, myself, I'm Aquaman. I just love to swim in the sea of HubSpot, goodness, and call all of the animals into do the things that they need to do to make people successful. I asked you so that we could get your character created, who your favorite superhero was. I would love for you to share with the hub, heroes, community who you picked, and if you can, why you picked that individual.

Liz Murphy (00:10:50):

Why I'd be happy to do that. Georgie, I picked Wonder Woman for a couple of reasons. Number one, I am a six foot tall brunette. She makes six foot tall brunettes. Cool. Am I someone who is like Wonder Woman in that she is beauty? She is grace. No, I fall as easily as I breathe. That's not one of my superpowers. However, one of the things I love about Wonder Woman is how so much of her superpowers are derived from things you cannot see, or they are driven by truth, content, strategy works. And content strategists are effective when their work is so powerful. It seems effortless. Like no one was there behind it. A great message on a website. Have you ever pulled up a website and you look at a line and it hits you right in the stomach and you're like, Man, that looks so easy.

Why couldn't we do that? That's because there was a very smart and beautiful content nerd behind it, My little friends. Same thing with revenue generating content strategies. It looks effortless at the surface, and there is so much going on underneath that you do not see. And the other thing I like is truth. I like truth. Authenticity is dangerously becoming a word that marketers are about to ruin. Marketers, please stop finding words and using them all the time. It's like you're becoming like the people who say, I love you on a first date. And I'm like, No, do not. I'm leaving you weirdo. But truth is so important because so much of what makes great content marketing is rooted in truth, authenticity. Sure. But truth, when you speak truth, when you quote spit fire, that's when you really start getting things that are not just value are actionable. Those are the things that actually make you go, Holy canole, I can immediately put this in my business and see a difference. Truth is where it's at, folks. So that's why I picked Wonder Woman. Also tall Go Tall women. Woohoo.

George B. Thomas (00:12:43):

Yeah. I absolutely love the fact that you picked Wonder Woman. And by the way, might I just say I Liz, think you're beautiful. And every time I've seen you on stage, it has been graceful and amazing the way that you interact with the humans that are there to learn. Now here's the thing. We're gonna get into this actual episode around a very interesting topic. So Liz, why don't you just share with the Hub Heroes Podcast listeners what they're about to listen in on.

Why we're talking about content marketing ROI in this episode

Liz Murphy (00:13:14):

I am very excited about this episode. So this week we are answering the big question, How do you measure content marketing roi? I find this question absolutely fascinating because on the surface people are talking about, Oh, results and reporting and what dashboards do you need and what needs to be talking that? And those are all things we're absolutely going to be getting into this episode. But as I noted to George, when he and I were talking about my vision for this episode, why I find this question so fascinating is that it's loaded like a baked potato. When people are asking how to measure the ROI of their content marketing, there is always a mega undercurrent of fear. You have the content marketer who's sitting there publishing content for months, thinking things are going great, seeing leads and traffic, and, and all of a sudden their boss one day pops their head and goes, Hey, do you have new reports so we can actually see the roi?

And you're sitting there going like, Wait, I'm sorry, what? I thought we already had that. You're the marketing leader who's getting stressed out because sales and leadership, no matter how many numbers you show them, still say you are an expense, not a profit center, not a revenue driver. And those are huge, massive problems. Or you're the business owner sitting there saying, I invest. I wanna invest in this. I can see the big vision, but if I can't measure it, especially right now in this economy where every single dollar and cent in your budget has to count, there cannot be any waste. You have to be able to see if your content marketing efforts are working. You have to know in real time if they are or aren't. So you can make a pivot or turn the faucet on harder where it's working. So that's why we're having this conversation today because content marketing ROI is not solved with a single dashboard and it's not solved with a single report. It is solved with everybody getting together, talking it out, and hugging it out. And George having absolutely god awful takes about sandwiches.

George B. Thomas (00:15:10):

Oh yeah, love me some God awful sandwiches I guess. But ladies and gentlemen, are you excited as I am Hub Heroes? Are you ready to take this journey down the content ROI road? Well then without further ado, let's

Liz Murphy (00:15:25):

George get out of my way, <laugh>, because now it's my turn.

George B. Thomas (00:15:29):

It absolutely is.

Liz Murphy (00:16:47):

Without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Hub Heroes Podcast. It's going to get weird and wild and actionable.

Liz Murphy (00:16:47):

Welcome. Hi, I'm Liz Murphy, content strategist, content therapist, and we are here for another episode of Hub Heroes. And I am stoked because we're gonna be answering one of my favorite questions today, which is how you measure the ROI of your content marketing. And I'm asking for all of my friends out there, and by friends, I mean me, gentlemen, I need your help. But before we get, but we're here. Oh, you're here.

George B. Thomas (00:17:14):

We're we're here. We're here to help you.

Liz Murphy (00:17:16):

Max. Devon, are you both here as well? I'm

Max Cohen (00:17:18):

Here, but I might also need some help on this one.

Liz Murphy (00:17:21):

<laugh>. Oh boy. So this,

Devyn Bellamy (00:17:23):

I'm here. Oh, and I'm kind of an expert in this.

Liz Murphy (00:17:24):

 Okay. So Max needs an intervention. Devin needs a mic. And George, we're gonna see what happens with you today. I'm really excited. But before we dig into today's topic today, I thought it might be fun. So we've been kicking around the HubSpot and an inbound block here for a little while now, right guys? Yeah. What is the worst piece of advice you have ever gotten about reporting ROI of content marketing? Max, your face right now. <laugh>. Do you need to go take a walk, run a lap,

The worst piece of content marketing ROI advice you've ever gotten

Max Cohen (00:17:55):


Devyn Bellamy (00:17:56):

I mean, I don't even know if I've ever gotten any good advice on this, to be honest with you. I mean, the conversations that I hear about people talking about ROI for content marketing, it's just another one of those things where I feel like everyone has their own definition. Sometimes you're measuring the impact of the effort. Sometimes you're literally saying, How much revenue did we drive and how much did we spend on the stuff to get there? And then every sort of shade in between. So I just don't think I've ever gotten any good advice around it. It's just a lot of conversations that have just made me confused and cringe a

Liz Murphy (00:18:30):

Lot. I love what you just brought up there, and we're gonna get into that because I think a lack of shared definition around ROI is gonna be a huge theme today. George, you're already, you're rusting around. You're ready to get in the ring. All right, tell me, hit me with it, brother.

George B. Thomas (00:18:43):

So it's not so much as I've gotten this advice because I hit the game so early, it was like the beginning of content marketing was becoming a thing and being birthed, but the worst advice that I've ever heard given was write it and they will come, which is absolute bull crap because I have run into CEOs who have written articles, seven Salads our CEO Loves, which does absolutely jack squat, and actually brings us to the point of, well, how do you prove your content roi? Well, not write about salads. That's what you don't do. So if you're listening this, which you have to be because you're like, What is gonna happen today? It is not a thing of you just write it without a strategy. It's not that you just write what makes you feel good. It's not that you just write some random thought because you were driving past a billboard and got inspired by God himself. You have to have a reason to be writing about the thing. So worst advice, ever write it and they will come

Max Cohen (00:19:41):

Last. Bad advice that I got wasn't even so much bad advice. It was a bad question. It was the wrong question. The wrong question is how many views did it get? Did it go? Yeah, <laugh>.

Liz Murphy (00:19:59):

I would like to officially put out there that the words viral authenticity is up there too. Those can just go, Marketers can just stop saying those words now. Just no thanks.

Max Cohen (00:20:10):

Yeah. And for those of you who may be curious, it's like, But aren't, isn't that what we're going for? We trying to be viral. The thing is that virility is great if you have a monetized channel and all that matter to you or views, and the more eyeballs you get, the more money you make. Great. Good for you influencer. If you are not an influencer, if that is not the goal of your channel, then what you're doing is entertaining what are called vanity metrics, metrics that are there to make you feel good and look good and sound great. We got 350,000 thousand unique visitors that, wow, that's amazing. How many of them converted? How many of them bounced? Were any of them actually relevant eyeballs? Because I can pay Russian bots to give me that many views. It's views don't matter what happens with those eyeballs, it's what matters.

Liz Murphy (00:21:04):

I'm gonna be perfectly honest, guys. I think we could just end the podcast right here. No, I'm just kidding. That is fantastic because here's how I always like to address that. When somebody says, Well, I wanna go viral, I'm like, Do you wanna catch a cold or do you wanna make money? Those are two wildly different things when it comes to content marketing. In terms of the worst advice I have ever gotten, it's, I understand sales is upset, but we know these leads are qualified.

George B. Thomas (00:21:26):

Oh, hell no, no, no, no, no, no, no. Hang on. I gotta throw down here, because I think that part of this conversation as we move forward is gonna piggyback on something that again, years ago, because this whole go viral thing is just the most obnoxious conversation I think any company can have internally is simple. I'm a simple guy. I like to come up with simple things. And so years ago I went that I'm not going viral. I'm going value. And when we think about not going viral, but going value, what I want us to realize on this whole, the side that I'm gonna play on, I don't know about you gentlemen or Liz, but the side I'm gonna play on is when you come down to measuring your content roi, fundamentally you have to try to figure out if you're trying to be successful or significant and out of significance, will you be successful with your content? I'm gonna stop it right there.

Liz Murphy (00:22:15):

I think we all need to take a moment and absorb all of that. No, but you bring up a really good point there because that's really where I wanna get to with today's discussion today. I think when people take a look at content marketing, roi, they're immediately running to the tool. They're immediately running to the technology. And yes, that is a very important part of the conversation. And Max, I know you got a ton to spit on that, but we also have to start today's conversation with the people. Part of the problem, and a couple of you have already touched upon this, which is lack of shared definition, people not being on the same page, people running off at a thousand miles per hour in different directions within the same organization, all in pursuit of this elusive roi, which I'm pretty sure people just only know how to spell.

So let's start there. Let's start with the big question ... 

Why do you think reporting on content marketing ROI is a pain point for most companies right now?

Devyn Bellamy (00:23:07):

We think return on investment, I think there is plenty of technology that will show you what the return is because we have a lot of technology that helps us measure our revenue. If you look at HubSpot, for example, your sales reps close deals, and those deals have money attached to 'em, it's pretty easy to understand the return, and it's pretty easy to tie it back to a campaign you ran. It's why we have attribution reporting and things like that.

But I think a lot of time people have a hard time identifying or defining what investment means because there is monetary investment, there's dollars. You go and pay writers or dollars that you pay for your software, there is dollars that you pay the people who are salaried employees of you, but also they spend differing amounts of hours on this project and the other project and these other things that they're doing.

They're working from home, so you can't quite monitor 'em like you could before. But also investment can mean a lot more than dollars. It can mean effort, it can mean a change in strategy. It can mean the things that you're sacrificing and no longer doing because you're going full bore into this whole inbound thing. I think a lot of people get really hung up on how are we calculating that because it's kind of difficult to have a universal understanding of what the investment part actually means because people budget things differently. But yeah, I think that's a big piece of it that confuses the shit outta me, and I'm sure a lot of other people too. I

Liz Murphy (00:24:26):

Wanna go to you, George here for a second to respond to that because here to quote modern day philosopher, George B. Thomas, here's where my brain goes. So where my brain is going is that we even need to take a step back further for a moment because when I'm talking to a lot of marketers, yes, it is about this disconnect between what is investment actually mean, But if we even take a step back further, a lot of times marketers and marketing leaders are asking this question.

There's so much anxiety wrapped around it. It's not just the day to day of the reports and showing this piece of content led to this revenue. There's often this vibe that marketers are an expense, not a revenue generator, not a profit center. And George, I know you spend a lot of time working with marketing and sales teams and leadership and getting them on the same page. Can you talk to me and talk to all of us a little bit about what you see there, that lack of alignment that really starts the ROI conversation? Well,

Calling all CEOs and business leaders, George needs to talk with you about content marketing ROI

George B. Thomas (00:25:25):

I definitely can talk about alignment, but I wanna take a step even further back because what I wanna do for a second is I wanna talk to all the CEOs. So Liz, if I do my thing here and forget what the original question is, you can bring me back. But we have to fundamentally understand and CEO C-Suite, I'm talking to you right now, what fricking kind of marketer do we have in the seat? Because here's what I'll say. If you actually do a survey on the marketers in your building, I would guess that 75 to 80% of them are going to be creatives. They started out in journalism, they started out as designers, they started out as developers. They have a creative brain. Now let's talk about the original conversation here. Reporting ROI on content, return on investment. Creatives many, many times have a hard time with math.

We are talking about numbers, people, and I want crayons. So if you're looking at your organization wondering, why can't marketing give me the ROI of content because you're asking Picasso to use an abacus. And so what I would say to you is realize that you need a reporting strategist to actually take care of the data, the numbers, and prove these things that your creative marketers when aligned with sales, can actually drive more revenue than you've probably ever imagined because they're not freaking stressed out about the math test next Friday at two o'clock in the boardroom.

Max Cohen (00:26:51):


Devyn Bellamy (00:26:52):

How you doing

Liz Murphy (00:26:53):

<laugh>? What's funny though? I kind of disagree. Oh, I kind of disagree first, and I wanna tell you why on

Devyn Bellamy (00:27:00):

The podcast ever. Let's go Fire pack. Let, let's go get up. <laugh>.

Liz Murphy (00:27:07):

Five years ago, I was that content strategist, obsessed with my art and with the creativity piece. But I was more effective when I didn't say, Well, I'm just not good at math. Don't make me do it. Oh,

George B. Thomas (00:27:21):

I don't disagree with you, I don't disagree with you. Now, what I'm saying is I'm not saying that we as marketers can't change. I'm not saying that once we are aligned in a direction that we should go, that we can't get there. What I'm saying is fundamentally, there's not many my words, not the people out there listening, many C-suites say, Hey, this is what I need you to start to focus on. They just are like, Why don't we have it? And I'll, I'll go with you, Liz, because here's the thing I'll never forget. When I actually started working at Impulse Creative, my buddy in Powell, Remington beg looked at me on a meeting and said, Dude, when you get math under your belt, you're gonna be an unstoppable marketer. So I don't disagree with what you're saying right now,

Content strategists need to stop clinging 100% to the art of content entirely ... and get better at math

Liz Murphy (00:28:02):

But I think the thing is, is that I think a lot of content strategists can sit here and say, This needs to get easier for me. And part of me wants to also say, You need to level up a little bit. So when I took over content at Impact, I sat down and I told you this story. I met with Nick Sal, our buddy, he was on the sales team there, Melanie Collins. And I sat there and I said, Hey, just ballpark it for me. How much of our content do you use in the sales process? And Nick is the sweetest guy, and he did not wanna hurt my feelings. So after about two minutes of saying very, very nice things that told me nothing, I said, So how much? And he went, Oh, at least one to 2% of our content. And I about fell through the floor.

I wanted to sink and become just into the tile, never to be revived again. And the reason why I'm bringing up this story is this, is that I get it. I know it's not a native skill set, but I think it's an underdeveloped area where content strategists need to level up their game. Because what will happen is that the longer they wait to develop proficiency in the tools and the reporting mechanisms that need to exist to show that the content that they're creating makes the money, the harder it's always gonna be to prove your value.

George B. Thomas (00:29:15):

Okay, Devon's leaning in. Devon's leaning in, I now I need to know what he's thinking because you unlock something for Devon right there. Well,

Marketers are stuck on vanity metrics and struggle to attribute value to their work

Devyn Bellamy (00:29:21):

You both have, and I've been sitting here quietly taking it all in. I can tell you the exact moment I went from being just an artist also knowing how to use the Abacus. It was inbound 2016, believe it was day two. And I was sitting down at Christopher Penn session and it was called Building the Data Driven Customer Journey. And it was about 20 minutes and 30 seconds into his speech when he completely departed from where we were going and says, Hey, how many of you guys know how to add values to your goals? And it was like, boom. And so it wasn't just about the capability or the capacity, it's just flat out just didn't know how. A lot of marketers, the reason why it's a pain point is because we are stuck in the vanity metrics and we don't know how to attribute value to what it is we're doing.

We don't know how to take credit for some of the things that have traditionally gone just to sales. And that's when this happened. And thankfully, if you go on YouTube and look up Inbound 2016, Christopher Penn building the data driven customer journey, you too can experience this life changing moment that I had when he walks through the equations to calculate lead values and then how you can turn those numbers into content and data that's digestible for the C-suite. And that is where there's a major disconnect between what we're doing, which is colors and words versus what CC wants, which is fiscal validation of your importance within the company. So it's one thing, if I can tell you that we had 300 people fill out a form, It's another thing, if I can tell you the dollar value of every person who filled out a form, how much of that person is worth to us based on our sales conversion rates.

And then I can tell you that if sales wants to increase their capacity and increase the number of people that they close based on their conversion rates, then what they're going to need is this additional number of people coming in from marketing. And guess what? I don't see that happening unless you give me money to spend on marketing and pay per click and Facebook and LinkedIn ads. And then you can make the case by this is our ROI because this is what we've spent on marketing and this is the dollar value that has come back that is directly attributable to our marketing efforts. Thanks to my knowing of the math and my ability to use

George B. Thomas (00:32:11):

HubSpot. So first of all, before we move any further, we have to give all of the Hub heroes, listeners a big fat warning. If you're listening to what Devin said and you don't know who Christopher Penn is, warning, warning, warning, he is one of the most nerdy mathematical for fun, sits in programs, Python, and does Google Analytics for standing on his head on one finger while balancing a plate. This dude is like the ninja of freaking data from, I think it's Trust Insights, I think is the company him and crap, it doesn't matter. Just be warned, you're, you're gonna swim into the deep end of the pool when you hang out with Christopher Penn.

Liz Murphy (00:32:54):

So make sure you check out the show notes cuz I will definitely be digging up that link on the YouTube Burnetts to share from inbound 2016. So we talked a lot about the people problems, the soft side of it. So Max, I wanna go to you, We'll start with you. I know you look so excited and scared. We'll start with you and then everybody else can chime in on the people side, What needs to be true to effectively report on content marketing

Reporting on content marketing ROI isn't a perfect science

Max Cohen (00:33:21):

Roi? I feel like people just need to understand that it's not gonna be a perfect science. And I think everybody needs to just come to a common understanding of what the R means and what the I means. I mean that's like the biggest thing because I think as you go levels down, the definition of that changes because people are responsible for different things. The marketing leader is who's responsible for the marketing budget. They clearly know what the I is, but maybe the marketer creating the content and coming up with the ideas and launching all the campaigns doesn't have line of sight into that. And their eye is just the effort that they're putting in. And so I think in order to have a serious conversation about it, I think the team, the company has to come up with their own definition of it. Your definition and your metrics of success that you build is ultimately what matters.

If you can prove it has a positive impact on the business, when that number is high, and now when it's low, trying to scour the internet and see what everybody else is doing in terms of their definitions of it, again, you're just gonna find a million different ones. So I'd say in terms of what needs to be true is does everybody have a shared understanding of what ROI actually means? True. Then that's what needs to be true regardless of what the definition is for you guys. Cause if there's anything that we've ever learned, having any of these conversations is that words mean different things to different people. And that's fine. It's okay everyone just chill out. It's okay if it's not the same definition, just make sure it is with the people who matter. But

Liz Murphy (00:34:56):

I wanna point out one thing that Max said there that is so important, I want to underline it in Sharpie, you're making an assumption not only externally outside of your organization, that everybody has the same definition. It is so important critically that everybody gets together. You get around the campfire at your own organization and everybody says, Do we agree this is what success looks like and this is how we're going to measure it. Now, George, I see you digging trenches with the pacing you're doing. Spit it, brother. Let me hear it. What do

We need to talk about belief here for a second, because belief is so important to this conversation

George B. Thomas (00:35:25):

You got? Yeah, so immediately when you ask that question, the word that came to my mind is belief. Meaning belief in themselves or having somebody in the C-suite that believes in them. Because here's the thing, I go back to years and years, Years ago when Marcus Sheridan said, Hey, we're gonna start a podcast. I didn't believe in myself. I said, That's the dumbest idea. I hate my voice. But I had somebody above me that said, I believe in you, we're gonna do this anyway. And it became one of the greatest strengths of all times. See, here's the thing, Two veins I want to go down right now. One is the fact that you have belief in yourself that you can actually create the content that's gonna get the impact or the return that you want. Because as soon as you second guess yourself, you're gonna write half-ass content instead of going all the way in to what it could be, the magic that you could be creating.

The second vein I'll go down is belief. And the fact that you can, and going back to a earlier conversation, turn yourself into whatever kind of marketer you wanna be. HubSpot talks about T-shaped marketing that happens over time. Sure, you're great at design. Maybe part of it is you're great at math. Maybe another part of it is you're great at seo. Well, you can't be great at everything, but you can be really deep and great at one thing and know a little bit about the rest. But you have to believe in yourself that you have the capability to actually learn the things that you need to use in the future to be successful. I

Liz Murphy (00:36:43):

Don't know about you guys, but I feel so uninspired. George, we're gonna have to work on you. I hope that

George B. Thomas (00:36:51):

You can't do that. You can't do that right? When I'm about to take a drink, you're not allowed to do that. Jordan,

Max Cohen (00:36:57):

<laugh>, <laugh>,

Liz Murphy (00:36:57):

George, just some feedback and we're gonna leave this in the podcast. I hope you take this feedback in the spirit in which it's given. I really struggle to under <laugh>, I hope. I really struggle to understand where you stand on certain issues. So if you could just be a little bit more forward with your opinions, that would be incredibly helpful.

George B. Thomas (00:37:14):

I'll try moving forward. Moving forward, do better. Thanks. Thank you for your

Liz Murphy (00:37:19):

Feedback. Thank you. We'll set a KPI for that one. Now, Devin, I loved what you were saying earlier about really calculating these different lead values, but let's talk about your version of this answer. What needs to be true people-wise in order for that to happen? Because people can go and watch that inbound 16 talk. They can start getting excited about these things. But what internally do you see as the thing that needs to be true?

What internally needs to be true (from a people standpoint) for content marketing ROI reporting

Devyn Bellamy (00:37:45):

One of the biggest things is your team's ability to be detail oriented from a technical aspect. Because one of the biggest challenges that we have as marketers is proving our worth more than outside of the vanity metrics and showing that what we're doing is actually making us money and not just making us popular. And in order to be able to do attribution, you gotta be on your game from technical standpoint.

So having tracking URLs on everything, any time someone clicks on something, I should be able to attribute that click somewhere within our analytics. Now, if you're going pure Google Analytics, that's fine. You just, you're gonna have to put UTM codes on everything on emails. You're gonna have to get fancy with having different phone numbers that get attributed from different sources. And there's programs in SaaS companies out there that provide that. But at the end of the day, you're going to need to be able to track every action to a customer and every customer, how they got in the door, know how they got in the door before they spent the money.

You're going to hopefully have had eyes on them in some capacity, even if it was in an anonymous capacity before they get in. But if you want to be able to walk in to C-suite and ask for money, and I'm not just talking about a raise, I'm talking about money to do your job though, the raise is nice. You're going to need to be detail oriented and be able to keep an eye on your data. A lot of us are artists, I would dare say most of us are artists with art itself like colors than with words. And if not with words and colors, then with movement and video. But at the end of the day, what separates a good marketer and a good artist from a great one is your ability to show the fiscal impact of your actions through that being a technical person.

Liz Murphy (00:39:57):

Devyn, every time you speak, I just wanna be like, Okay, so I guess we're done here. That pretty much covers it. That was, I would like everybody to hit that little go back 15 seconds button a few times. And I want you to listen to that three times and let that really sink in because that detail orientation is so critical because it sounds like you're talking about technology, but it really starts with a detail-oriented mindset. The one thing I would say here before Max, guess what? We get to talk about technology. Are you excited? Yeah, yeah. Oh yeah. Oh yeah. That's his love language.

Yeah. Yeah. So the one thing I'm gonna throw out there for me on the people side that needs to be true is that the thing I have trained anybody who ever worked with me on my content team or whenever I'm hiring and training a new content manager, is this, your first job is not content. Your first job is relationship management, which means you show up and you give a damn, you need to give a damn about sales. You need to give a damn when they're hungry. You need to give a damn about the business objectives that your C-suite has. You need to show up every day and say, I see my sales team as hungry. I care about that. Let's talk about how we actually enable you. Stop just saying the word, say sales enablement, and actually do it. It's a Feb.

Max Cohen (00:41:11):

This is actually straight out of my manager's feedback, cuz we just had reviews over at HubSpot, and I am not afraid to share this because it is relevant to all of us. Our jobs as marketers, and this is a direct quote from my manager, Shout out to Katie Lambert. Our job as marketers is more than just showing up and getting the job done. It's also about communicating and stakeholder management. It's about being involved. And even if they're asking questions that don't make sense, because you understand we're not there yet when they say, when is this piece of content gonna go out? And then you say, the product isn't even done yet. I don't have all of the, I don't have a loose spec sheet from the product team. I don't have enough information to put out this piece of content. Instead you can say, You know what, gimme two weeks. I'm just waiting on X, Y, Z, and then we're gonna be able to handle it. But to us as marketers, as creatives, it sounds like we're pushing it off, but to the numbers people, it's more of a, okay, whew. That checkbox has been checked off in my mind. I can move on to the next

Liz Murphy (00:42:21):

Thing. Somebody's actually taking care of me and my needs. The sales team, they are so malnourished, Nobody cares. No, everybody's like, Go make a bunch of money on your own on an island. Good

George B. Thomas (00:42:33):

Luck. So I have to jump in here because you're talking about caring Liz and what I would say, whether it's looking up at the C-suite or whether it's looking directly across the room to your sales team that you're serving, Yeah, that's a dramatic pause on purpose is the fact that the word that everybody has to have, especially marketers, is having empathy or being empathetic to the things that the people around you have to do. They are trying to swim across the entire ocean. You have 75 boats and you're like, you can't have mine. When you could actually give your sales people a boat and some oars and they could freaking roll around to success. And you know what? If you lead with empathy and you're serving your sales team, when they hit that success point, guess who they're gonna high five, The marketer that's kicking ass and taking names and now everybody's like, No, no, no, no, no. It's not really about the expense, it's about the team cohesively working together to drive revenue. Hey

Liz Murphy (00:43:31):

George, you wanna say the word humans just once? It's

George B. Thomas (00:43:34):

About the humans, people. Oh, it's about the, They're freaking humans, people.

Liz Murphy (00:43:38):

There it is. Guys, we got a few little too long into this without him saying it's about the humans. I don't know if anybody else was feeling wildly uncomfortable, but I was. But now forget the humans. Humans are dumb. Let's talk robots. Let's talk about, Did

George B. Thomas (00:43:51):
We really just say that on the podcast? <affirmative>? Yep. Yeah, Noah, leave that in. Holy

Liz Murphy (00:43:59):
Crap that what's up? Humans are dumb. Robots are awesome. Let's kick some butt now. Okay, so we talked about the people side of the equation, but we have people who are going to be detail-oriented and using ABAs and things like that. But what needs to be true on the technology side? Because you can have, let's say we're in a perfect world, your organization now, everybody went on a retreat. There were no trust falls because we've all moved beyond the 1980s and we're not doing that anymore and said C-suite, marketing, sales service. We're all on the same page about what success looks like. We all have shared definitions. We get back to the office what needs to be true from a technology standpoint.

What technology needs to be in place for effective content marketing ROI reporting?

Devyn Bellamy (00:44:35):

You have to have your reporting set up in a way that makes sense to you and is actually giving you actionable data. For example, if you are looking at HubSpot <laugh>, we all like HubSpot. I mean we'll talk about HubSpot for a second. You need to be able to organize your data in a way that's telling you the story you're trying to understand in order to be able to start to even think about what sort of an impact that your efforts are driving. So I always think about the campaign tool in HubSpot and there's a story that I tell behind it to get people to understand why it's there. Cause a lot of people don't use it for what it's intended to be used for those of you who don't know, there's a campaigns tool in the marketing hub. And basically what that allows you to do is take all of the different things that you build when you're creating a campaign.

Things like landing pages to collect your leads, other website pages that might support it, the emails you're sending, the workflows you're building, the social media posts that you have, the ads you're running, all these different things that you're building in order to create what we would loosely define as a marketing campaign. And it puts it all together in one place so you can see how all this stuff is performing. But the cool thing is that since HubSpot's also a crm, you also get some data about the deals that are closing, that your sales team is using. Now you gotta make sure your sales are being able to be reported back to you in some way, which is why the campaigns tool is great cuz it just looks at that deal object. When you have a way of collecting information about a certain campaign and how that's performing and then being able to identify the sales that it's actually leading to.

What needs to be true is you have to have a way of marrying that information together. So the campaigns tool in HubSpot is a very lightweight example of something that you can use in order to do that. Cuz you can look at the campaign, you can say, here's the stuff we built, here's the new contacts we created, the new leads we got the existing folks we touched, but this is how much revenue was driven because of it. Right? Does that give you ROI yet? No, but it gets you close. It gets you close because now when you're that lone wolf marketer that was like, Hey, we're gonna stop just using billboards and TV ads and we're gonna actually try to give an honest run at this inbound thing. And your boss comes and asks you, Hey, you're spending a lot of time writing blog posts and doing ticks and running these ads on the Facebook and doing all this stuff.

Now you actually have a pretty lightweight way of saying yeah and see how all this stuff I'm doing is actually leading to sales and deals being closed. Again, you're not necessarily fully outlining what the investment is. The tools get in there. By the way, they're doing a lot of work behind the scenes to make it so you can actually input money you're spending on this stuff you're building to actually give you a true roi. Cuz we know what the R is, right? We can track what the R is. So that's one thing. The of the most amazing tools in HubSpot though I think right, is for tracking ROI and you could do it in a very literal sense, is the ads tool. So when we think about technology ads, tool's, another great example with the ads tool. We literally know what you're spending on your ads and then we know which deals are closing because of those ads and it gives you a literal roi, but it's an ROI specifically on just your ad spend, what's not in that equation?

How much time your marketers are spending on writing the copy and developing the imagery and all the other stuff that content's leading to. But you can at least hyper focus on just the ad spend itself. What sort of return we get in there. Again, I'd say really think hard about how much you wanna measure it because there's so many different ways to look at it. You really just gotta focus on what's important for you to track. But again, you gotta set your technology up in a way where you can actually answer the question on is the impact we're trying to make, actually having the impact that's intended.

Liz Murphy (00:48:23):

I completely agree with that. One of the things that I always like to point out to people when they're sitting here trying to unpack this technology puzzle around ROI is I always start with, well is your marketing automation and your sales CRM talking to each other? Cuz if that link is not there, it doesn't matter because here's the thing, cupcake, if you have your marketing intelligence in one silo and then your sales stuff in another and they are not talking to each other, how on earth are you going to connect those dots? That is a very quick way to constantly make marketing look like it's a fun thing we're doing. Whenever someone brings up brand awareness, they're like, Well, we're just, we want brand awareness. Why? So they can become your friend and go to brunch. You want someone to be aware of you, so then they give you money at some point. Let's be clear here about what that means. But that thing, I'm so surprised how many times I run into folks that are like, I'm really struggling to report on roi and those two things are not connected. Devin, I saw you vigorously head nodding what you got on your mind. Oh

Max Cohen (00:49:27):

No, that was it. Oh,

Liz Murphy (00:49:28):

I love when people agree with that. Are you just telling me I'm Right? Yeah, your systems.

Max Cohen (00:49:32):

Love that. Basically, yeah, if your systems aren't talking to each other, what are you even doing? Just like you need to have clear alignment between your marketing and your sales team. Clear communication between your marketing and your sales team. You need to have clear alignment and clear communication between your CRM and your marketing automation system. And if you are not using one or the other, then you're not even ready for the ROI conversation yet. You're still in startup mode, lemon stand mode, whatever you want to call it. You're not ready to have that conversation of how much money is my marketing team making? And that is, if you're struggling to convince C-Suite to make that spend, that would be the conversation I would have with them. It's like at the end of the day, we need to know how our marketing efforts are impacting sales and we need to know what we need to change, what iterations we need to make in order to increase those good leads and in order to increase the amount of money that we're making. And in order to do that, we're going to have to spend on the proper software in order to get it. And you can go through a laundry list of different systems which may or may not talk to each other. Or there is one particular SaaS company that may be able to help, that has crm, that has marketing automation, that has service, all of it tied in together along with your CMS and <laugh>. It's free to start with

George B. Thomas (00:51:03):

Yeah, it sounds very much like HubSpot. Just gonna throw that out there. But I have to say a couple things.

Liz Murphy (00:51:10):

Oh, that was my third

George B. Thomas (00:51:11):

Guess. Yeah, I have to say a couple things here. One, Liz, this must be your special day because I too agree with you. I literally wrote down on my notepad when Max was talking, I wrote down the words all in one, everything is in one place. And I also wrote down when Max was talking about campaigns, the most magical thing that lives on the right hand side of your campaigns dashboard is influenced revenue because you can point to influenced revenue and show the C-suite. This is what this bad boy is doing. Now I also have an answer to this though, and it's, it's gonna sound not about technology, but it's about technology. And that is, well, it's about buy-in ladies and gentlemen. It's about buy-in, right? You have to have a software solution, marketing, sales, CRM service, whatever. That is easy to use. And there's two things that I want to talk about around this.

One, it has to start by being built, which HubSpot is doing a kick ass job on. The second thing is it can't be boogered up, which every HubSpot audit I've done shows that somebody is buggering it up somehow. You're adding things that you don't need to add. You've got multiple properties that are the same thing. You've got integrations from three years ago that nobody's using. Liz held up a sign I didn't have a chance to read cuz I was concentrating on the thing that I'm actually trying to talk about. But ladies and gentlemen, it's about buy-in. So booger up your HubSpot and pay attention to what HubSpot's doing with their new updates. Which by the way, shout out to my dude Kyle Jerson on fricking daily updates with all the crazy stuff that HubSpot's doing to make it an amazing tool for you.

Devyn Bellamy (00:52:57):

I don't know how that man sleeps Also, what a plug for the operations hub. George, you're trying to sling some Operation Hub deals, huh? Yeah,

Liz Murphy (00:53:06):

George, that was me holding up a George Spitting fire alert. That's all that was. Also colorful. Multiple usages of booger and booger. Yeah, I didn't know it was such a flexible word.

George B. Thomas (00:53:19):

Well, boogers Are flexible. Don't you match

Devyn Bellamy (00:53:26):

Solid. Dad joke.

What should a content marketing ROI reporting cadence look like?

George B. Thomas (00:53:40):

Oh, we're losing it. So here's the thing. What's funny is, Liz, the way that I'm gonna answer this is probably dramatically different than the way that Max or Devon or yourself might answer this because you used the word cadence, which means it feels like something that somebody would say, Well, you check this on Tuesdays and this you check every two weeks and this you check on 30 days, and this should be every quarter. It's a mathematical equation that you should follow, and then you're gonna automatically equal success of reporting cadence. Man, I check it all different all the time, but I'm always looking at it. I'm always looking at what I just did and what I did six months ago. I'm always looking at all a sudden something will peak up and all of a sudden there's a social like splattering about it, and it was like a post from three months ago. Well stop. Look at it. What happened? More important than the cadence is diagnosing when these things ping a little bit and taking time to actually reverse engineer what the freak did I do that actually got this action of success so I can repeat it again. And then the K just becomes all the time because you're just jamming.

Liz Murphy (00:54:51):

I actually completely agree with you, and the reason why I asked that question is because I think a lot of folks get hung up on, it's a monthly report and it's a weekly report, and yes, reporting matters and all of those fun things matter, but I love what you just said there. One of my favorite things that I used to do when I was at the editor in chief at Impact is we had a sales channel in Slack, and somebody would be like, Ta da. Oh my gosh, guess what? I just closed X deal for X amount. And then I was like, Oh, this seems like a great time to show the value of content. And so I would go digging into our little crm and I would say, Thank you so much for sharing. Let me tell you about every single piece of content this point of contact consumed.

I would tag every single person who wrote it, and I'd say They just read this pillar on Google Ads by Jason Lindy. Then they converted on a form and asked to talk to us. They talked to Mark. And then after that, they read these three articles by Zach Basner, and then this guide by Jen Burrell and da da da. Congratulations guys. Your content netted us however much that deal was worth, and I would do it whenever I would get a spare moment. But I love what you said there, George. It's something you should be looking at all the time. You should always be looking for moments for everybody to be a winner.

George B. Thomas (00:56:13):

It's interesting you sent my brain in an interesting direction with that, Liz, and that is if you keep, fundamentally, you're listening this and you keep getting asked, What's the ROI of our content? Maybe it's because you're not being obnoxious about telling success stories of all the things you've historically done. So to them it sounds like crickets. However, over on the left hand side of the business, it's a raging bonfire that everybody's like roasting marshmallows and hotdog by and having a big fricking party, but the C-suite isn't getting the story.

Max Cohen (00:56:44):

The thing is, when it comes to reporting any kind of report, you need to be answering a question. You don't wanna be generating reports for the sake of generating reports. You don't want to be talking for the sake of talking. You want to use data to tell a story. And if there's no story to be told, then why you're looking at the data, you should step back. And even if it is as simple as did our content marketing efforts impact any deals in the pipeline currently? Then it's like, Okay, cool. That's a great question. Now if it's just like, Okay, we're just gonna run this monthly report because that's what I did at my last job, then no, you're, you're wasting everyone's time. And in box capacity, what you should be doing is building your cadence, your reports themselves, and the content within them in order to inform and fill in the holes of a story and to be able to answer questions.

There's just so much that can be done with data that you can go down a rabbit hole of cool things like, Ooh, look at how our things perform on full moons that fall between the second and third weeks of the month. And it's like at that point, you're doing baseball statistics. That's not what we're doing. What we're doing is just trying to make informed decisions on our next move because marketing with all the numbers that's behind it, it's still an art, not a science. The target is moving because at the end of the day, for all of the numbers that we're talking about and all the data that we're dealing with, this is all done in order to help us better connect with what?

George B. Thomas (00:58:28):

Oh, humans. Humans, yes.

Liz Murphy (00:58:32):

<laugh>, not cyborgs,

George B. Thomas (00:58:33):

Leave humans, cyborgs, humans,

Liz Murphy (00:58:36):

<laugh>, nothing more than humans.

Max Cohen (00:58:39):

Artificial intelligence.

Liz Murphy (00:58:43):

Leave this in. Beautiful. And on that note, gentlemen, let's pretend for a moment that I'm a hub, heroes, listener, and I have the attention. Wait, you're not span and retention.

George B. Thomas (00:58:55):

Oh my God. Oh God. You No, just, sorry. Go ahead. <laugh>

If our listeners remember nothing else about content marketing ROI from today except for one thing, what should it be and why?

Liz Murphy (00:59:01):

Max. Why You gotta out me like that? So let's pretend for a moment that Max is a polite young gentleman drinking liquid death, very nice and on brand. Fabulous. Fantastic. Let's pretend for a moment. I have the attention span and retention of a concussed drunk gold fish.

George B. Thomas (00:59:24):

Oh, wow.

Liz Murphy (00:59:25):

And I will only remember one thing from this episode. One thing, what should it be and why?

Max Cohen (00:59:34):

Just report what actually matters.

Devyn Bellamy (00:59:36):

Oh, that's easy. Inbound 2016, Christopher Penn building the Data Driven Customer Journey. Fast forward, watch the whole thing, but especially highlight at 20 minutes, 30 seconds.

George B. Thomas (00:59:50):

I wish I had a succinct answer, but I don't. But it is a one thing that I think is important, and as I listen to everything that we talked about today, the word abundance keeps coming to mine. And so I would beg you the marketer out there that's listening to this, the C-suite that's out there, the sales service, operation, whoever the heck you are, the humans that are out there, that you would create content, that you would report, that you would communicate out of a mindset of abundance versus scarcity. Because the power that you'll have as an engine of believing in yourself and that you're already there, the reporting, the roi, the content will be 10 x anything that it could be. If you're sitting there like Max said, and you're trying to always prove something instead of just being able to show something.

Liz Murphy (01:00:44):

My one thing is this, it's simple. Your sales and your marketing technology are either talking to each other or they aren't. I don't care how much your definitions are shared, I don't care how much your sales and marketing teams, they'd like each other so much, they go out to happy hours and go on trips to Tahoe together. It don't matter if your technology isn't talking to each other, Those dots will never be connected. Invest in the technology, or you're wasting your money. Full stop. And now it's Time Hub Heroes, listeners, for a new segment. This That's right. Every episode. Now I'm gonna ask a horribly awkward question of all of our hub heroes. Hopefully it will incite violence and confusion and memories. So here, are you Go. Are you ready for the first secret question?

George B. Thomas (01:01:37):

I'm a little scared right now. I'm just gonna throw that out there.


If you could give a piece of life advice to one superhero, what would the advice be? And to whom would you give it?

Liz Murphy (01:01:41):

Excellent. If you could give a piece of life advice to one superhero, what would the advice be? And to whom would you give it? Batman, Bruce Wayne Bubi. Get a therapist, my dude. What are you doing? Jumping around from building to building in latex. Your villains are your personality. You need a hug, you need a therapist, and a butler doesn't count. Every time you talk about your feelings, Alfred gives you a pen that does something fun. See a therapist, you have the money, do it.

George B. Thomas (01:02:16):

I would have to sit the hawk down, aka Bruce Banner, and I'd be like, You're sexy and you know it. And just believe in who you are. My dude, doesn't matter if you change back and forth, just be you.

Liz Murphy (01:02:30):

I love the violent contrast between myself and George, and I think it tells you everything you need to know about our relationship. Bruce Wayne, go get a therapist. Hulk, You matter. You're a star.

Max Cohen (01:02:41):

For me, it's Green Lantern. I would tell him to read more science fiction and fantasy because they is so limited on the constructs created by Will. You can do so much more with such a wonderful what you're always making guns and missiles and handcuffs and shields. You, there's so much more that you can make lean and lean in and get inspiration from others. Watch like Star Trek, Dr. Who, get out there, get inspired and just create something that's really gonna freak out your enemies.

George B. Thomas (01:03:14):

See the Green Lantern and the Wonder Twins should hang out for a while and it would open his mind. That's old school cartoon for people right there.

Devyn Bellamy (01:03:23):

I would tell Spider-Man to just clean up after himself. He's leaving a lot of web everywhere, right? And it's sticky.

George B. Thomas (01:03:30):

I could easily tie back to boogers right here. I'm just wanting everybody,

Liz Murphy (01:03:33):

And thank you.

Liz Murphy (01:03:35):

And on that note. Thank you so much for joining us on another excellent episode of Hub Heroes. Do not forget to subscribe, and most of all, do not forget to leave us a review. In fact, this week, I would challenge you, if you have not left a review yet, you should answer our secret question. Which superhero would you give life advice to and what would that advice be? And don't forget to talk about how pretty and right I am all the time. George, before we go, do you wanna say humans? One more time?

Max Cohen (01:04:04):


George B. Thomas (01:04:05):

Give it humans. Oh my

Liz Murphy (01:04:07):

God. Wow. Max say Cyborgs.

Max Cohen (01:04:09):


Liz Murphy (01:04:11):

Come on,

Max Cohen (01:04:13):


Liz Murphy (01:04:17):

talk to you all next. There's it week. Get outta my podcast. You can't stay here. Leave, go. Goodbye. It's over