Larry Guerrero is a media services partner for ICF. This is an edited blog that originally appeared under the title “How to prove – and improve – your ROI in media.”

According to Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, 64% of chief marketing officers say that demonstrating the impact of marketing actions on financial outcomes is a major challenge. So, we know marketing is important – but how can you track its success for your brand and make it even better? 

Here are three often overlooked things you can adopt to improve your media ROI.

Every experience a customer has should be positive and offer value, since users can feel alienated when brands only go for a quick transaction. Meeting your sales KPIs is important, but the long-term business value comes from nurturing loyal customers who keep coming back. To help identify key variables, you need to plan the messaging, offers, content and timing – and you need to make sure it’s right for the consumer at the right time.

Building a customer database and identifying customers with a longer than average tenure with your brand should start with a customized targeting process. This process includes reinforced messaging so you can build a segment that looks like your customer base and nurture those customers to become long-tenured ones as well.

This is harder for some brands than others. For instance, some industries have very broad age bands, with lots of narrow segments within each band. Broad segments are difficult to market to, and if you have a unique message for every narrow segment, things can get out of hand quickly. But if you look beyond the surface-level data at the motivations of each band, you’ll see patterns and unique identifiers in each band’s needs. So, even though the broader bands may seem too large for successful targeting, they all need specialized messaging to keep things feeling personalized.

That approach applies...