Whether you’re trying to get to an actual ROI calculation or if it’s just gut feel, you probably think you should get more from the money you spend on marketing every year. Don’t feel bad. Every marketer in every company in the world is in the same position. So what do you do about it? Here’s what we think:
1. Put the “Have-To’s” Under Severe Scrutiny.
During your planning process, you likely have a number of things that are sacred — or at least considered as givens. The largest of these expenditures tends to be trade shows and events. Massive direct marketing campaigns and collateral systems frequently fall on this list as well. These tactics are often justified by someone saying you “have to” do it.
Don’t settle for that rationale. Take the five or six biggest expenditures in your budget and run ROI-driven “what if” scenarios. What if you launched a content marketing site instead of spending $200K at the same trade show? What if you shifted money from product collateral to digital sales playbooks for our direct sellers and channel partners?
2. Focus on a Small Number of Big Bets.
Near the end of every fiscal year, we meet with our larger clients and identify where we hit it big over the past 12 months — which campaigns, programs or initiatives drove incremental increases in sales, leads or market share. Without fail, a small number of “bets” emerge as big winners. (The “have-to” initiatives mentioned above almost never make the list.)
Content marketing, advertising, websites, digital campaigns and other tactics often take on lives of their own. They’re interesting, artful and require intelligence, skill and artistry. So, they become consuming and rewarding in their own rights. But they’re only meaningful — and worthy of investment — when they move the organization closer to its stated goals.
We’ve seen clients have great success with a prioritization process that identifies a small number of big bets, then makes sure those bets are properly funded and staffed — even at the expense of some “have-to’s.”
3. Leverage Assets Over and Over — Without Being Redundant
The refinement of messaging documents over the past several years has been a boon for clients looking to get more for less when it comes to marketing deliverables. Articulating a complete story (brand, positioning, insights, products, use cases and vision/roadmap) and creating a set of visual assets makes the production of sales tools and other deliverables much more efficient and economical.
Articulating a complete story (brand, positioning, insights, products, use cases and vision/roadmap) and creating a set of visual assets makes the production of sales tools and other deliverables much more efficient and economical.
The key to this strategy, however, is understanding the difference between redundancy and consistency. Simply using the same content and visual assets over and over in various deliverable formats leads to redundancy — which is a surefire way to lose an audience. It’s boring and feels insincere.
Consistency comes from a nuanced understanding of each audience and versioning the content to speak to the specific interests of each audience. A creative and strategic application of the core story and visual assets removes time and cost from the deliverable production process — and leads to strong audience engagement.