May 22, 2010 Derek Lackey
Marketing and Innovation are the keys to business success. Lowering your marketing costs without screwing up your ability to grow may sound like an oxymoron, but if you follow these 5 steps, it can be done:
To execute successful marketing program today requires skills in multiple disciplines – both online and off. Chances are, if your staff are strong with media and production, they are weak in SEO/PPC and Social Media. There is far more to learn in today’s marketing world, mainly due to the dynamic, ever-changing New Media and it’s impact on traditional promotional options. It really is challenging to understand where your marketing dollars are best invested, yet it is critical to the success of your business.
Most small to mid-sized firms simply cannot have all of those skills in-house. Especially when there are hundreds of marketing/communication agencies who have specialists with experience managing effective marketing and emarketing programs, usually across many industries, using all media. Their staff and freelance network provide all of the skills, creativity and proven experience you require. And you only pay for what you use, rather than having a fixed marketing cost all year round.
Too many business owners like to play with marketing. It is often considered a “fun” part of business. By hiring professionals you are delegating to someone with the expertise to do it well. Promotion has changed a lot in the past few years. It is far more complex today. You have learned to hunt customers and now you have to learn to be good at being hunted by customers. And thats a whole new ball game. One that you absolutely must play, just to keep up with your competitors. eMarketing Management is the way of the future.
While we applaud the “get it done” attitude of those business owners who try to handle advertising and promotion themselves, it does waste time and often leads to mistakes that professionals know to avoid. A good marketing/communications firm should save you a lot of wasted time and money and should be held accountable for specific measurable results.
We’ve seen hundreds of campaigns executed, and we’ve yet to see one that was 100% accountable. That is, every aspect of the campaign was measurable and designed to do a specific task. Have a good hard look at every element of your plan. Be sure they all have a clearly stated, measurable result so you can objectively assess their success. Learn from every marketing action you take.
The reason for marketing is sales. Did every element of every campaign result in more sales opportunities? None of us have money to waste on programs that do not drive qualified leads, impact the loyalty of a customer or move a prospect closer to buying. All marketing worth doing, can and should be measured.
We’ve also seen a lot of firms work hard, invest smart and generate a ton of qualified leads – with no system for follow-up. Even the hottest of leads go cold. Worse – they go to competitors. If you are not prepared to follow up, please don’t invest the dollars to generate the leads.
Not only are you helping your competitors, you are damaging your own brand. You want to have a reputation for professional, prompt service, not the reverse. Ignoring leads sends a clear message to your prospect. Even cool leads can be nurtured and developed into qualified, warm leads with a little time and attention. Have a plan for following up every lead and stick to it.
When designing your marketing plans, aim for leads that have a good possibility of conversion to sales. The more you can qualify the lead, the better your return on investment.
We have seen firms hold draws for valuable prizes, adding those names to the database and considering them leads. They did not sign up for more information on your product – they just wanted a chance to win the prize. Measure your marketing success on conversions, not on quantity of leads. Put a premium on quality, not quantity.
If you consistently question everything about your marketing, expect every dollar invested to create a specific, measurable return, and learn to Hunt AND Be Hunted™, you can actually reduce your costs and increase your business.
Derek Lackey, Raven5, 2010