Now more than ever, small and large companies are trying to determine if they should invest in marketing, pull back or stop all together. Why is there such a struggle in determining the answer? The primary culprit is the lack of integrated marketing planning and analytics needed to understand true Return on Investment.
Are Facebook ads the place to be right now with everyone working from home? Probably not, if you sell highly technical products specified by engineers or architects. Are Adwords going to deliver enough leads? Maybe, but are they quality leads, and how much money should I invest?
Some agencies and consultants will say, “Now is the time to spend on marketing, while most of your competitors are sitting on the sidelines.” The concept sounds good, but when you’re watching every penny, it’s difficult to invest money on marketing without facts. You simply cannot get comfortable.
Business-Driven Marketing Plans and Analytics Drive Focus and Success
Do your internal or external partners provide marketing plans connected to campaign projections, sales funnels, and revenue? Corporate operations and financial planning combine end-to-end process evaluation with math modeling to see fact-based projections and to understand key metrics that should be constantly monitored. So why is marketing any different?
Marketing planning can be the same. It starts with a marketing plan built to deliver against business goals, not built to spend every dollar in the marketing budget. It makes marketing planning a dynamic activity based on continuous measurement and rebalancing, not a rigid fiscal year expense outlay.
In today’s omni-channel world, multi-touch marketing is not only the norm, it’s the necessity. But with so many different marketing channels and so much volatility, it’s difficult for companies to remain agile or to understand the attribution of each marketing activity.
You need to understand what’s really driving leads and revenue, not just the very last touch.
Reading between the Numbers Increases Optimization and Revenue
If, for instance, you are reviewing email results independently from AdWords, print, social media, and events, you cannot see the relationship these activities have on each other. Attribution is real. Understanding marketing attribution is difficult.
“Marketers often struggle to understand the value of their marketing. They know their marketing is important, and they’ve invested in expensive martech tools. But they cannot find the answer to their key questions, “What is my next step? Where do I spend my next dollar?”
To answer these questions, companies need to gain visibility into the complex web of marketing and sales activities. For example, one company was pleased with lead numbers, but wanted to understand where they could improve conversions and closes. By looking into their campaigns and overlaying these with their sales funnel, they found a drastic difference between low-cost product leads and high-cost product leads. The lead conversion and timing for a large group of leads was 90-120 days and these leads had become cool. These cold leads represented another $1-5 million of potential revenue that could be converted by updating their sales team process with product marketing programs.
Another company was losing market share due to new competition. By overlaying historical sales and marketing activities, they identified one of the challenges. Their AdWords strategy was creating leads, but very few that were qualified. They updated their marketing strategy and rebalanced their marketing mix, helping them focus on their primary audience. Their new leads became higher quality, and their sales grew 38% on 24% fewer leads.
Now, Where is the Best Place to Invest?
As much as we would all like, there is no Silver Bullet marketing tactic.
When used correctly and combined, digital, print, email, AdWords, direct mail, radio, tv, experiential, and any other marketing activity can be part of a great marketing plan. It’s the creation, execution, continual monitoring, and rebalancing of marketing that creates client success.
Much like putting money in the stock market, you use research and expert advisors to guide you. You measure your returns based on an objective benchmark like the S&P, and you adjust based on data and advice. Your marketing should be the same – using facts and a true guardian who is tactically agnostic and whose focus is client success.
3 top things to make sure you are doing:
- Measure your results (if you are spending on a new tactic or channel – you need to know the impact)
- Follow your business strategy not the latest trend with marketing spending (Just because others hear the hype about TikTok, it probably isn’t for your business)
- A diversified marketing plan with 4 or more tactics is far better than betting on 1 or 2 areas of spending
Successful growth in good times, and bad, is the combination of business-driven marketing strategy and diverse programs created support business goals. It’s never easy, but it’s certainly achievable with true commitment, solid fundamentals and visibility.
About the author
Trip Jobe is the CEO of Rand Inc., a strategic marketing, analytics and measurement firm. Prior to joining Rand, Trip had a 20+year history leading brands and sales teams as VP Marketing, Neenah Paper and Kimberly-Clark and Director of Sales and Marketing at Oldcastle. Having sat in both sales and marketing leadership roles for large and small firms, Trip is an ambassador for driving sales and marketing alignment to fuel growth. He’s also a firm believer in giving back and has been a mentor for YearUp, board member at the BMA and is a decades long basketball and baseball coach in Roswell. He welcomes you to connect on Linkedin at www.linkedin.com/in/tripjobe/