Marketing is one of those things that every business does in some way, whether someone has a marketing title or not. Somehow potential customers know to come to the door, are presented with the trappings of a brand image and make some decision on product purchase. The owner of such a business may proudly claim “we even don’t do any marketing” as if his or her product sold itself. But they are in error. Marketing takes place each and every day the product is for sale.
Then often the business evolves to the “sales support” style of marketing. Tactical marketing duties are passed around to lower level folks and magically trade shows happen, brochures appear and a website exists. Most of the marketing activities are driven by salesperson needs and often the quest for a particular customer. Much money can be spent this way, and often the business feels it is gaining and that tangible results are being produced.
Companies at this stage often find there are significant holes in the materials needed to nurture customers. Messages, not clearly defined up front, are not consistent in the materials.More and more money is being spent with less and less confidence of finding the next customer. The CEO doesn’t see the return and no one in marketing can answer the ROI question.
This would be where a company enters “marketing chaos.” Activities being done without good reason. Messages and targets going off left and right. Internal parties argue over the results and where to place blame for missed sales goals.
How then, to create some order out of chaos?
The answer is simple: focus. Bring in a marketing leader that can quickly prioritize the issues and focus efforts on the right solutions. There are three broad areas that need attention:
Brand – are we representing ourselves in the best way.Do we stand out from our competitors and is our message clear and consistent?
Strategy – are we targeting the right segments?Is our go-to-market plan heading in the right direction?
Metrics – can we assess the success or failure of our marketing efforts?Do we know where every lead came from and ended up?
A good place to start is reviewing marketing expenditures. There’s an old saying that goes “I think we are wasting half of our marketing budget, I just don’t know which half.” Many of us have felt that way. Marketing expenses occur by their nature before the sale and it takes a bit of faith to believe “if you build it they will come.”
So the trick is then to get the most from your marketing expenditures. To make sure every dollar counts. Thankfully, there are some steps that almost every company can take to ensure that marketing budget is well-spent and will produce the desired results.