Content Marketing Spend & Marketing Pipeline Growth: Correlation or Causation?



If your organization invests more time and money in content marketing and your pipeline of marketing leads grows, is it safe to assume that your investment paid off? Not necessarily. Simply because two events — more investment and a bigger pipeline — happened doesn’t mean they’re related.

But there is a way to find out: Use lead metrics to track and measure activity and attribute leads in your marketing automation system to specific pieces of content. Looking at how leads in various stages of your sales funnel interact with your content can help you hone your content strategy. Here’s how to do it:

Campaign Tracking

The simple do-it-yourself way of tying content to leads is to use campaign tracking in Salesforce and in a marketing automation platform that you’re already using.

In Salesforce, a campaign is an object that tracks a user’s activity across Lead, Contact, and Opportunity objects. Creating a campaign for a piece of content lets you see when a user engages with that item (for instance, opening a newsletter, reading a blog post or downloading an asset).



Here are three key aspects of campaign tracking that help you attribute leads to specific pieces of content:

  • Persistence: Once a lead is attributed to a campaign, the campaign mapping follows the lead even as the lead gets converted to other objects lower in the funnel such as a contact or opportunity. This lets you not only track how many leads a piece generates, but also if these leads result in further actions.
  • Multiple Attribution: Under a multi-touch attribution model, a lead can be credited to more than one piece of content.
  • Time Stamping: Lead interactions are time-stamped so that you can replay the user’s content consumption and identify the “last touch” attribution or the piece of content was consumed just before a marketing lead was converted into a sales opportunity.

  How to Setup Campaign Tracking

Here is a guide to setting up campaign tracking in Marketo

Campaign Reporting

After you’ve implemented campaign tracking, you can now view content consumption that pertains to a single lead, contact or opportunity record in your CRM.  Below is a screenshot of how we track content consumption for a lead at my company.


In a single view, you can see which content was consumed, the type of the content (eBook, newsletter, webinar, etc…) the date of the consumption, and the action perfomed (downloaded, opened, etc...).  From here, your next step is to generate reports and use the analytics to help you evaluate the success of your campaign (these reports could be generated natively or using a plugin like Full Circle CRM for Salesforce).

Consider questions like:

  • How many new leads did a particular piece of content generate?
  • How many existing leads in my database engaged with a particular piece of content?
  • Which pieces of content were the most effective at moving leads lower into the funnel (towards opportunities and ultimately sales)?
  • Which parts of the funnel have insufficient content support?

Once you’ve tracked your campaigns and analyzed the results, you should have a better feel for whether your investment in content marketing is paying off.

These measurements will help you understand where you should invest money in the future to make content even stronger. For more strategies to prove the ROI of your content marketing efforts, download my extensive eBook on the topic, The Comprehensive Guide to Content Marketing Analytics & Metrics.

Author: Pawan Deshpande

BIO: Pawan is the founder and CEO of Curata. His work has been recognized through the Boston Business Journal's 40 under 40 Award. He was also a finalist for MarketingProfs B2B Marketer of the Year. Pawan is a speaker at marketing conferences such as AMA, SXSW, Content2Conversion, and Content Marketing World.