First of all, let's ask a question: What is marketing?
The best definition we have come across is that it is ‘the action or process of promoting and selling products or services’. To many, this translates to those activities which are used to promote or advertise our business, the products we are selling or both.
Our view is that marketing is the activity we undertake to communicate with the market place to turn unknown entities (prospects) into businesses where we have identified they have a need for our products and also that they may be interested in talking to us (leads). The extent to which they are prepared to talk to us determines how warm they are.
Once we have a prospect that has become a lead, we are then in a position to follow a sales process to move them from being a lead into, hopefully, a buying customer.
So at base levels, marketing is simply the process which takes prospects and turns them into leads. Therefore the effectiveness of any marketing we undertake is both measurable and quantifiable as we are able to measure where leads come from, how many are produced and what the cost of the marketing activities to produce these leads is. Yet how many businesses actually do this? Does yours?
Within our local business communities there are a great number of different marketing businesses selling all manner of marketing support and services with many of them working on the following tried and trusted approaches:
A well designed logo will deliver a brand that works for your business and help your business grow
A properly designed web site is effective in increasing your business
You cannot be a serious business without what we sell
Our circulation is X so you will be exposed to X potential clients
Branded items will lead to prospects wanting to buy from you
Networking events are the best value for money marketing available
We are sure you will have heard many variations on these themes along with many others along a similar vein. There is often an element of truth to these claims, but experience suggests there are many examples where considerable expense is incurred for limited results indicating that these marketing activities may not be as effective as is often claimed.
Now don’t get us wrong, we are not against spending on marketing. In fact every business needs to market in order to be successful. We believe that that every business needs between 6 and 12 different marketing strategies working for it at any moment in time. The key is, of course, to measure their effectiveness when investing our hard earned money.
The good news is that marketing effectiveness is easily measurable. Yet, as mentioned earlier many businesses don’t measure, so don’t know whether they get a return on their investment or which marketing activities give the best returns. Do you?
So let’s ask ourselves some questions:
What marketing do we undertake?
How many leads did each marketing activity generate?
What was the cost of each marketing activity (in money and time terms)?
What did each lead cost from each marketing strategy?
Provided you can measure and report on these and then use them to fine tune your marketing then the chances are you are maximising your marketing investment.
However, if you aren’t asking these simple questions, let us ask you another- how do you know if your marketing works?
If you are asking these questions, but can’t answer them, then it’s the same question - how do you know if your marketing works?
Finally, if you do have the answers, do you monitor and review the results? Do you use them to review your marketing activities and constantly evolve them to lower the cost per lead generated?
Clearly, marketing is a key driver of business growth, but are you measuring it’s effectiveness?