The formula for calculating martech ROI – MarTech

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MarTech » Marketing Operations » The formula for calculating martech ROI
I run a MarTech company and everyone on our team clearly understands the importance and value of MarTech and yet, when I or someone else makes a pitch for a new addition to our stack, the first question my co-founder asks is “what’s the return on investment (ROI) if we buy that product?” It seems we’ve been discussing ROI a lot lately and because we’re a relatively small team a discussion usually suffices.  A discussion won’t suffice as we scale, we need to bring more discipline and structure to the process so this week I’ve been researching (aka googling) how others approach this challenge. I didn’t find anything specifically related to MarTech but did find a number of articles1 related to calculating ROI for IT technology which were helpful. 
For products where there is a tangible cost benefit in the form of new revenue, measurable productivity improvements, or cost savings, a straight-forward ROI calculation is workable.
((Gain – Cost)/Cost) x 100 = ROI%
Some notes about leveraging this formula:
For some products it’s virtually impossible to quantify the ROI which has got me thinking about how to qualitatively assess the products in my stack and the overall stack itself.
In a previous life, I was involved in an angel investment group and one of the most difficult tasks in funding early-stage startups was to assign a value (valuation) to a company. There are at least eight different formulas (probably more) for calculating valuation but they all are calculated using company financials. In an early-stage venture, company financials are a best guess so any calculation done against those is going to be flawed.  For that reason, most of the angel community relies on a combination of looking at valuations for similar companies and some form of qualitative assessment, the most common being The Berkus Method. The Berkus Method identifies five critical risk factors — idea, team, prototype, relationships/build-on-demand, and sales — and an investor assigns a dollar value to each based on the company’s progress in each area to reach a final valuation number. 
We need a Berkus Method equivalent for marketing technology, a method that provides the ability to quickly assess the value of the products we use and the stack overall. Instead of assigning a cash value to each component, the idea would be to assign a rating. I’ve been thinking about the key components and have come up with the following as a first draft:
For each component, the user would assess contribution on a scale (1 to 5 or 1 to 10) and then total the assessments and divide by the number of components rated.  Not every component would be relevant to every product so the number of components rated would be variable product to product. Are these the right components? Should there be more or less?
I’d love some help from our MarTech community in refining this idea, finalizing the component list and thinking through how to extend this to create an overall stack value. Please reach out directly with your thoughts.  Have any of you created something like this or an alternative within your organization that you would be willing to share? With more and more money being spent on marketing technology now is the time to jump on this before we are under or pressure to reduce technology costs.
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See terms.
Investing in new business tech: How to calculate ROI;
Top benefits of calculating ROI for technology investments;
Calculating ROI on Information Technology projects;
7 Tips for How to Calculate ROI Percentage for Technology Investments.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.
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