16 August 2023

5 Ways to Tell if Your Marketing Is Actually Working

How can you tell if your marketing efforts are actually working?

If you’re an entrepreneur or the CEO of a growing company wondering whether your marketing efforts are really paying off, you’re in the right place. 

You’re also not alone. You’re likely strapped for time and may not ‘get’ how to tell what’s working in your marketing at first glance. Let’s face it, you’re a business leader, not a marketer. 

That’s where we come in. Here are 5 ways to assess if your marketing is working for your business. (And don’t worry if it’s not: that’s why we offer fractional CMO and marketing services!)

1. Look at your sales.

This might sound counterintuitive, but the first place to look isn’t at marketing metrics (more on that below, though). The simplest, most direct indicator of a successful marketing strategy is seeing your sales go up. We’re talking about numbers that are higher than your usual sales trends. 

If you’re not seeing this, it’s time to dive deeper into the data, which leads us to the next point.

2. Understand that numbers don’t lie.

If you’re not using marketing analytics, you’re basically just guessing. 

Many web hosting sites offer SEO and other analytical tools – these are going to be your secret weapon. 

There are lots of data points that can be helpful to collect and observe; however, there is such a thing as too much. The key is to find a few meaningful KPIs that plug into your overarching business goals. If needed, you can hire a fractional marketing director or CMO to dig deeper into your marketing analytics. 

3. Sense-check who you’re marketing to.

If you don’t have a target persona pinned to your wall (literally or figuratively), it’s time to create one. Along with your target persona, you’ll also want to have nailed down your business’ value propositions and customer journey. 

If your marketing team doesn’t have a crystal clear understanding of these three things with the documentation to show for it, their efforts will lack strategy. If you’re not marketing to someone in particular, you’re marketing to nobody. 

Don’t have one or all of these, or not sure where to start? Our fractional marketing services can help.

4. Assess if your business is growing.

If you’re shelling out big bucks on marketing but not seeing consistent business growth, or you’re unsure what your marketing team is doing, dig deeper. It can sometimes be challenging to define the ROI for all marketing tactics, but at the very least, they should be net positive. 

Even if your team is doing things right, they might not be doing the right things. Maybe they’re splurging on trade shows or publications that aren’t really reaching your audience. Or pouring all your budget into social media (a common pitfall we see a LOT) and missing opportunities on other channels. When done correctly, marketing fuels business growth. A fractional CMO can help connect the dots.

5. Do a gut check.

Beyond having all the right tools and data, in the end, a lot of marketing requires strategic thinking and planning. if your marketing is feeling a bit fuzzy, and you’re not sure how to tell if it’s working, it’s worth investigating. If you or your team lack a defined strategy, it’s probably time to source a second opinion. In this situation, many companies will look to hire contractors or an agency. 

However, a word of caution: No matter what your marketing team looks like (whether it’s internal team members, contractors, or an agency), without a strong senior leader who gets your business, you’re going to be left spinning your wheels. 

You’ll also have to continue spending time on marketing efforts in one way or another, which will ultimately take time away from your core duties. 


Here’s what you can do next to confirm if your marketing is working.

Fractional marketer checking if marketing is actually working on a laptop

You might not think you can’t afford to hire a dedicated CMO or marketing director. That’s where a fractional CMO or contract marketing leader come in.

Hiring a marketing leader on a fractional basis is a great way to put a strategy in place that aligns with your business vision and ensure that the right things are being done. 

We know from experience that this investment can take marketing off your plate once and for all. It will also ensure that your marketing is driving growth, not draining cash. 


Need support with your marketing strategy, or interested in hiring a fractional marketing leader? Take a look at how we can help.

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