Are you getting results from marketing? If you're spending time, energy, or perhaps some of that hard-earned money on marketing, you're well within your rights to ask if it's getting you the results your business needs. Answering that question is a little trickier... but it's not the dark art some might say. There are key things to put in place that will tell you whether the marketing activities are doing the job you need them to. ~ Bryony Thomas
What can you expect when looking for results from marketing?
We've lost count of the number of times we've heard grumbles that sound a bit like...
- How can we demonstrate a return for our marketing?
- We're doing loads of marketing, but we're not getting the sales.
- Our marketing doesn’t seem to be working.
- What activities should we spend our marketing time and money on?
- Is our marketing working?
The starting point to getting results from marketing
To get results, there is no doubt that you need to start with a plan. In fact, you'll need three plans:
- A strategic marketing plan,
- A fix list for any identified Touchpoint Leaks™,
- A baseline marketing activity plan.
If you’ve used the Watertight Marketing methodology to build your plan, you’ll have marketing activities which span the whole of the customers’ buying journey, from Awareness through to Loyalty. This also means that you’ll be spending more or less on the different stages, depending on how considered your purchase is and what shape you need/want your marketing budget to be. If these things aren't making sense to you, then it's highly unlikely that you'll be getting the results from your marketing you'd like.
It's only once you have these that you can start to consider what you want the outcomes of your marketing activities to be.
Three common traps that stop you getting results from marketing
If you want marketing activities to result in sales, and for the income to be the main way of demonstrating return on investment, there are three key considerations:
- Timespan: Some marketing activities span weeks, months, even years (a plan to win more work from an existing client might take more than 12 months), so to expect short-term sales is unrealistic.
- Different tactics for different tasks: Different marketing activities will work in different ways. An activity that concentrates on building Awareness and gaining Interest won’t, of itself, result in a sale, unless you have in place the stepping stones to tempt your customer through to Adoption. (See: The Six Tasks of Marketing)
- Do they want what you're selling? Even the best marketing in the world won’t sell a product or service that isn’t meeting the needs of the customer. So be sure that any perceived lack of results from marketing isn't due to the product itself.
So, what results can you expect from marketing?
Once you've mapped your activities to the stage of the buying process that it supports, you can map a relevant volume metric. Some examples of the metrics you might use could be as follows (See: Chapter 10 in Watertight Marketing):
Make no mistake – marketing is about supporting a full journey. So, the question 'How do I know if my marketing is working?' is unanswerable... you'll need to ask: 'How do I know if each step in the journey is being supported?'
This means putting in place a set of activities that will lead to sales. Unless you have a product or service that involves a very short journey for your customer (see it, need/want it, buy it... like Coca Cola) you simply can’t expect anyone to go from that social media campaign you’ve put together to raise interest to buying from you in one step. And, for those of you with a sales team, or people who perform this role, those marketing activities need to support your efforts too, such that you will both have an impact on the end result.
If you’ve got a sound marketing plan in place, and you’ve addressed any Touchpoint Leaks™ you have, and you've made a commitment to undertaking these activities over time... then you should have what you need to start breaking down the question into a series of answers that show you if you're getting bang for your marketing buck. Shorter term, the results you can expect will be more tactical, but when they are mapped to stepping stones along the way and will help you evidence progress and return for your investment.
Other relevant posts on the blog:
- Are you practising mindful marketing measurement?
- Is your marketing measurement meaningful?
- A click is not an outcome. But, neither is a sale!
© Watertight Marketing Ltd
Watertight Marketing Accredited Consultant
Rachael is a strategic marketing consultant in the South West with a particular strength for integrating sales and marketing for long-term commercial success. She focuses on knowledge businesses and professional services.