About seven years ago, at a previous employer, my team and I were leading one of the most significant programs launched in the industry. It was disruptive, utterly different than any other competitor's offering, and aimed at an emerging demographic we weren't used to communicating with at the time.
Internally, we got it. We had the best people in the business, and we spent the right amount of time and resources. We used the Green Belt for Growth program to define who, what, how, and when in terms of marketing strategy, personas, messaging, positioning…. That was quite fun to do.
Now, let's get back to the focus of this blog: Why Make Marketing Count? During the project I mentioned, we ran a bit over on development costs for the platform, and I had to squeeze crumbs to use our marketing budget most effectively. The challenge: I had a dozen vendors that were working on the project: From display technology to video A, video B, CGI X, to advertising to whatever else we needed at the time. We were burning cash with no idea of how each piece would contribute to precisely which result in terms of ROI.
Make your Marketing Count by aggregating your budget with fewer suppliers and demanding that the team meets Key Performance Indicators (KPI). I ended up being the accountable person, but every marketing partner was mainly "worry free." That wasn't fair. This is why planning is critical. I often say: "1 hour of planning saves you 10 hours of explaining later…"
Make your Marketing Count by measuring the impact of every activity in your marketing plan. Easier said than done, I agree, but let's pause for a second here and pretend that you have a direct line of sight to which specific activity was the beginning of the journey for each new customer. Be it a social post, an email, a digital banner click, or a simple meeting at what I affectionately call a "watering hole" (e.g., a trade event, bar, school meeting, soccer practice). If you can identify that "point of origin," you can connect the dots. You should then be able to join a discrete sale or Life-Time Value (LTV) to that one event. That's why marketing automation is critical. There is no other way…
Make your Marketing Count by scrubbing every ounce of "NVA" (Non-Value Added) work and outsourcing "ENVA" (Essential, i.e., required but not value-added) to committed vendors. "Scope creep" is the enemy here. Every stakeholder, friend or foe, will have a brilliant idea that will add hours, days or weeks to the program. Stay true and strong to the plan and only consider those ideas that contribute to KPIs. Test and retest every assumption. That's why a robust project planning process is critical. How do you know, by adding this extra activity and costs, that you will have a higher ROI compared to your baseline? Do you have an impact calculation tool?
When we started transforming Levy, 20 months ago, this was and still is our vision: "Make YOUR Marketing Count." We invested heavily in processes and technologies to deliver on that simple promise to our customers. We implemented the same philosophy for our own marketing activities. Almost 18 months later, I can proudly say that it works. We have exceeded our goal of 9X ROMI (Return on Marketing Investment), and 7X Qualified Leads compared to the baseline. Look for the next blogs in this series when I will explain the What and the How aspects of Make Your Marketing Count.
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