measuring marketing success just reported that less than a fifth (that’s just under 20%) of small businesses using Google AdWords say they recoup the cost of their investment, based on recent research. That is shocking, though not surprising!

The remaining 82 per cent say they are either not recouping their cost in terms of online sales, or simply don’t know if they are or not, according to an online survey of more than 500 small company CEOs conducted by research organisation YouGov.

Its one of the main reasons we established eB2BLeads because experience had shown us that far too many businesses are being “busy” yet they could be far more effective if they had a strategy and measurement systems in place. In fact its why our services are built around the HubSpot platform because its designed to measure what activity is responsible for generating leads, sales and loyalty online or offline.

All to often though SME’s shy away from this because they either don’t want the overload of technology, don’t have the time to make it work or lack the skills to put together marketing led growth campaigns.

An Inbound Marketing Agency can turn this on its head.

If you know what is working then you know where to spend your time and money and vice versa. Its an optimised data led marketing process. Everybody seems to think they’re doing it right, yet report after report shows otherwise.

Google AdWords are being promoted widely to SMEs as a direct and cost-effective way of raising brand awareness and boosting sales of products and services. But the survey suggests that this message is lost on many, as they are unable to track the link between the money they put in and the revenue they get out.

The amount of companies that say “yes we’ve tried that” or “that doesn’t work” is increasing because huge chunks of an effective marketing process are being ignored, so its no wonder that their experiences are bad ones.

John Cheney, CEO of CRM provider, which commissioned the research says, ‘These results echo the conversations we are having with many of our customers. SMEs feel they need to be ‘seen’ on Google, but they just don’t have the tools to measure the effectiveness of their investment.

‘With Google AdWords now well established as one of the world’s leading advertising media, offering enormous potential for a more level playing field between SMEs and their larger competitors, it is a real shame that many firms are still struggling to quantify the benefits.’

Cheney says that one company found that for every £1 they spent on Google AdWords they generated a mere 18 pence in sales.

‘Smaller firms have limited marketing budgets and they want to spend it in the way that will generate the greatest return,’ he adds.

We agree, unless SME’ start embracing strategy and data they won’t have the foundations of successful marketing activity.

Looking for the cheapest supplier, giving work to your mates or even going on recommendations is not a sensible strategy given these appalling statistics. You’ve got to look outside the box for the new generation of companies that understand these problems and have credible solutions.