What Does Allocating Marketing ROI Have in Common with Duck Hunting?

A fair amount, as it turns out.

But, we’ll get to that a bit later.



Having believable ROI calculations is directly related to how successful you’re likely to be when it’s time for you to ask for more budget and more resources.

How big a deal is this? Well, in a recent HubSpot report, 8 of the Top Marketing Challenges Marketers Face, the surveyed marketers said, “proving the ROI of our marketing activities” was the number one reported issue.




It’s important, and it’s hard to do successfully.


Yes, ROI is a good way for financial marketers to attempt to isolate and understand the effectiveness of each particular marketing campaign or piece of content. But tracking the results, and by extension, the ROI, of every single marketing activity is difficult. It’s especially challenging if you lack a good two-way communication path between your marketing activities and sales reports. 

But we pay a lot of attention to it, because proving ROI often paves the way toward a successful argument to increase budget. It’s a simple equation: if you don't track results carefully, you won’t have demonstrable ROI. And if you can’t demonstrate ROI, no budget increase for you! (Spoken in the voice of the Seinfeld “soup nazi.”) 


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What does duck hunting have to do with it?


When you break it into steps, duck hunting is fairly similar to how most traditional outbound marketing is done. It helps to highlight the difference between the two approaches to marketing. That’s why I like to use it as an example.

Traditional outbound marketing basically involves:

  • Choosing your desired target
  • Creating your message
  • Choosing the proper times and places to run your message
  • Running your schedule
  • Hoping for a positive sales response

Bagging a few customers, as it were.


Duck hunting also involves:

  • Choosing your desired target (ducks)
  • Creating your message (buying ammunition for your shotgun)
  • Choosing the proper time and place (early on a weekend morning in a duck blind near a marsh)
  • Running your schedule (firing at ducks as they fly over)
  • Hoping for a positive response (a few fat ducks for your dog to retrieve)

All neat and tidy, right? Nope. There’s one major difference: a duck hunter chooses the best time to fire his shells, and does so only when ducks are present. The outbound marketer shoots off the media according to a fixed schedule. And, hopes the audience will be there to see/hear/read the message. Big, big difference.


In a way, it’d be as if our duck hunter fired random shots into the air in the hopes a duck might fly through the pattern! Not likely to be successful, is it? And if it is, what factor led to the success? The time of day? The location? The accidental timing of the shots? Or some other factor not explicitly tracked?



There may be a better way: inbound marketing.


And without getting into it more deeply here, we have a tool for you to see how you may be able to get a better handle on the marketing ROI of your chosen tactics. Download the ROI calculator, plug in your own numbers, and see first-hand how inbound marketing can help you start aiming your marketing where the ducks are!


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Topics: Blogging ROI Inbound Marketing Inbound for Financial Institutions