Marketing budgets are full of wasteful spend. Especially with the heightened popularity of social media, companies are spending time and money without seeing a hard number ROI. Agencies are not providing adequate measurement to their clients and the result is wasted spend. Improving efficiency in your marketing budget begins with reducing this waste. The goal is ultimately to hold your budgets more accountable, and luckily, there are many ways to do this. I will go over a few of these tactics now:

1. Enhance tracking capabilities

When you sit down at a marketing meeting and decide your strategy, the most important component is how you are going to measure success. “Brand awareness” is difficult to measure, so it’s imperative to have goals that have trackable action plans. Brand awareness is lovely, but if you supplement this intangible “awareness” with key performance indicators, your campaigns will be able to show their true return on investment.

In order to measure, you must first implement the correct tracking. How are you going to tell who called after seeing your ad on Google or Bing? How are you going to assess what platforms drive the most conversions on your website? How can you tell if someone submitted their resume on your careers page because they saw a tweet from your brand? Answering these questions is easier than you think, as there are tactics to measure almost any online action taken by a user. Implementing the correct analytics + tracking code is the first step you must take in order to best assess your digital marketing initiatives.

2. Optimize toward business goals

Once you have implemented tracking code + analytics across all of your marketing initiatives, it will then be time to assess what is succeeding and what is failing. Optimization is an everyday practice. That’s right; you should be optimizing campaigns constantly. If you are running a remarketing display campaign, check to see which ads and which platforms perform the best. Find what actions users are most likely to complete on your website according to these variables. Do not accept visits; optimize toward your most important conversions.

This will help keep your marketing focused on driving your business and will help reduce wasteful spend. Refining your target audience might mean garnering fewer transfers to your site, but these visitors will be more likely to complete the action you want. If you have trouble staying focused in the midst of hundreds of metrics, try writing your overarching business goals on a post-it. If you are pitched a flashy marketing initiative that is not measuring success of one or more of these goals, reject it.

3. Leverage marketing data to improve every aspect of your business

When we learn things from marketing campaigns, we tend to think it terms of applying them to future marketing initiatives. While this is a standard practice, we like to think of marketing data as a vehicle to drive operational change. Many companies keep their marketing, research + development, sales and creative teams separate. However, marketing insights can be applied to improve practically every facet of your business. A simple example of this would be if you noticed that transfers from paid search campaigns for running shoes were highest in the beginning of the year when New Years resolutions were still in tact. By applying this small insight, you could predict and better fulfill manufacturing, shipping + sales needs. Now imagine applying insights like: people living in the South are more likely to run outside and wear down their soles faster, which means their purchase cycle is shorter; or that people who live in a 300 mile radius of the warehouse receive their shoe shipment faster and are more likely to positively review your company online as a result.

These are just a few ways in which you can reduce wasteful marketing spend. Dare to get granular. Do not settle for convenience metrics–even on social media. Stick to marketing initiatives that accomplish business goals, not just marketing goals. Do not participate in any initiative without having a tracking + analysis plan in place. I can tell that your brain is already burning with ideas, so go get started!