Lessons In Marketing Accountability by Kevin Masi
Today’s marketing managers must increasingly demonstrate accountability for dollars spent. How? The answer is to show an increase in sales. Here are three elements that can help you improve marketing programs and drive customer response:
1) Provide substance
Standards in the marketplace are high; to drive response, your company must provide a valuable incentive- that is, provide a reason and a means- for your customer to engage in a marketing conversation with you. This means delivering some way to solve a problem, reduce costs or increase revenue.
In the consumer product marketing we do for clients, we often provide a means for consumers to try the product, such as beer tasting, cooking classes or free exercise training. For our business customers, we devise tools to audit how well their prospects currently perform in a given area — or how they can save money.
2) Be persistent through repetition and consistency
Some companies worry about refreshing their marketing programs to keep interest high. They wouldn’t be so concerned about what people think of their programs if they realized how seldom people think of them at all! Repeating the same message in many places- across print, email, websites and the company newsletter- is a great way to remind clients and prospects of all your products and services.
Often, completing a sale can require six or more touch points with a prospect, sometimes over the course of 18 months or more. Ongoing marketing materials- newsletters, white papers, news releases and customer success stories, to name a few- provide the substance of these touch points.
Most organizations define the “hot” sales leads as those with a budget, a mandate and a timeframe; however, since everyone wants these leads, they become very competitive (and therefore price- sensitive). Don’t ignore the vast amount of opportunity that can be found in companies that are still in the evaluative stages of the purchase process. It is your job as a supplier to align with your prospective customers’ purchase process, not for them to align with your sales process. Persistent, long-term contact marketing helps you to meet this goal.
3) Provide invitations to respond
This includes such examples as white paper available online in return for entering an email address (just be sure not to make recurring transactions with customers feel cumbersome). A real estate developer might set up a print ad offering free iPod docking station installation in a high-rise condo as an incentive for early signing. The point is always to take your marketing beyond purely generating “awareness.”
Design the measures
How you measure responses can be as creative as what you put into the communication. Since many factors contribute to closing a sale, marketers should look for measures that are incremental to the final sale. This includes increases in traffic, responses to programs, names captured, registrations, etc.
The art of marketing measurement is still in its infancy in many ways, and will always involve soft responses or indicators. However, when you build the discipline of expecting marketing ROI into your program you dramatically enhance the performance and credibility of your marketing efforts. We highly recommend it.
Co-founder and principal of Torque, Ltd., Creative Marketing Agency [email protected]m www.torquelaunch.com