Ah, the season is upon us. Not Thanksgiving or the holidays . . . but Marketing Planning Season.
If reading that sentence just provoked a mix of nausea and dread, you’re certainly not alone. Even the most jaded marketers may hesitate to roll up their year-end metrics and reflect on the past eleven months of leads, sales, campaigns and money spent. After all, despite having more measurements than ever at marketing’s disposal, 80% of CEOs still lack trust in their marketing leadership.
That C-suite gap makes it hard to look forward to 2018 and contemplate achieving something greater in the year ahead. But taking a fresh look can be the catalyst to enjoying the marketing job and improving your relationship with executive stakeholders.
Find the joy
“Joy” is an unlikely word to associate with marketing effectiveness. The idea comes from
Marie Kondo’s bestselling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. In order to achieve happiness, she posits that you must first declutter nearly every aspect of your surroundings.
The KonMari method is simple: Review each item individually. Hold it in your hands and ask yourself, “Does it spark joy?” In this way, unread sci-fi novels, college T-shirts and unused dental floss packets from every office visit since 1999 fly out the door. Your favorite quilt, a sweater from your grandmother and a framed photo taken on your last vacation become joyful keepers that can now take center stage.
During Marketing Planning Season, a similar approach can help you pare back your activities and metrics, and make the keepers—those that spark joy—more relevant and intentional. Marketers face fewer distractions from lagging programs and insignificant measurements, and have more energy to expend on successful initiatives.
Declutter your dashboard
Start with your marketing dashboard. Review each metric. What are you measuring, and why? In KonMari terms, each number should spark joy because it tells a story that matters. In truth, most marketing dashboards suffer from bloat and inefficiency. Every time a new campaign, channel or agency appears, someone adds a few numbers to the dashboard. This makes it impossible to see the real story and frustrates C-suite stakeholders.
Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) is the single most relevant metric for marketers and CEOs. Roll up all your sales and marketing expenses for a set period including salaries, overhead, campaigns and yes – agency spend. Divide by the number of new customers. Clean and simple. Then add a second metric that shows marketing’s contribution to CAC.
There are a few other important performance indicators to track, and this HubSpot post does a great job explaining them as well as providing benchmarks.
As you review your numbers, look for the joy. Was 2017 a year where marketing moved the needle?
Pare back for a successful 2018
If that joy seems elusive, here are three ways to declutter for 2018:
1. Stop siloing your brand building. Treating your brand awareness programs as separate and distinct from your customer acquisition campaigns only serves to up your costs and decrease your impact. All marketing initiatives—regardless of media—should simultaneously boost your brand and move consumers forward in the buying cycle.
In 2018, ditch the image-laden and expensive ads that only generate “impressions.” Instead, give your audience a compelling call to action and multiple ways to interact with you. They’ll engage with your brand and serve up concrete response metrics that spark joy all around your office.
2. Cut your agency overhead. Smart partnerships can reduce your investment by as much as half (really). Consider your broadcast programs. Most companies employ multiple firms ̶ one for media buying, another for creative, a third for attribution and a fourth for conversion. Even more spend may take place for outsourced call centers or other customer service channels to handle inquiries from ads.
This model is ripe with duplication of skills, rework from missed hand-offs and differing viewpoints, and gaps in technology integration. Switching to a tech-savvy agency with a turnkey approach can eliminate the friction, decrease your costs—and improve your results.
If you promote on the radio (and you should), ensure that your agency offers smart use of podcasting. Even better, use that same partner to tackle your television content, bringing you the benefit of no-cost creative.
3. Simplify your conversion technology. The technology that tracks inquiries and nurtures potential buyers has come a long way. Outdated tools that take up lots of drawer space with heavy IT involvement and time-consuming workarounds, or worse, lack necessary capabilities like AI-driven chat, should be on the short list for replacement. Cloud-based solutions make it easy to scale your approach and customize your engagement. Even better, work with an agency that provides rich, full-featured options as part of a turnkey broadcast program.
Make 2018 your best year yet. Contact us to discuss how television and radio advertising—with no-cost creative—can support your marketing goals.