Are you setting up your marketing program to fail? Here are three surefire ways to do it.
Pick anyone to head the marketing initiative
Hey, why not Bob? He’s a competent guy. Here’s the catch: Bob is the part-time accounting clerk. Having been in sales and marketing my entire career, I’ve seen how multimillion dollar companies often appoint the least qualified people – receptionists, interns, and customer service reps – to manage a marketing program. While I appreciate hiring from within, in this instance leaders cannot afford to delegate what is essentially an executive role. Why executive? One word: strategy. A significant amount of strategy to achieve your business goal, plus marketing expertise and experience to create that strategy, is needed before any plan is put into place – or your efforts will be wasted. You need a marketing expert, just as you would hire a seasoned pro for finances or operations.
What to do: Hire and invest in the right talent, at minimum a senior manager or reputable professional firm with marketing savvy and jujitsu-level project management skills who grasps your company’s core aspirations. Then stay engaged – this is about putting your firm’s handprint on the world – to track its progress.
Show up with no budget
When first meeting with senior executives, I often hear “We don’t really have a marketing budget.” No? Know your profit margins? Payroll? Cost of last month’s office supplies? Check. Check. Check. Not knowing your marketing budget does not mean you will get a better deal – it ensures no one will know where to start. Marketing is an investment that ideally delivers an impressive return. Invest in marketing to fuel sales, and build that investment into your annual budget. Experts recommend between 5 and 10 percent of sales revenue; if launching a new brand, closer to 15 percent. Have a modest budget? Don’t think that the old saw “You get what you paid for” applies; you may be pleasantly surprised to see what marketing professionals can customize within your budget to creatively optimize your marketing dollars.
What to do: Determine a percentage of sales revenue that meets immediate marketing objectives and bring to any exploratory discussion a clear figure everyone can live with. Still nervous? Request metrics to ensure your investment achieves its goal, and checkpoints for alternative approaches if needed.
Snooze on innovation . . . and lose
When you started your business, innovation and risk were part of your daily vernacular and 95 percent of what you did to get where you are now. Today, with more to lose, building that safety net is top of mind. As a business owner I get it . . . but that mentality will never grow or evolve your company. And that is what every great marketing program needs – the ability to do something new (innovate) and experiment (take risks). If you are updating last year’s plan slightly for 2018, I can guarantee there’s no room for innovation, no higher expectations of your marketing team, or no roadmap for improvement.
What to do: Revisit the 80/20 rule: twenty percent of efforts can yield 80 percent of results. Some slight changes to your current approach, or a modest shift in focus can unleash a new era of re-energized marketing. Don’t know where to start? Read on.
Get a fresh assessment of possibilities to reinvigorate your marketing program. Find out if your tactics have more in common with a donkey and cart than with speed-of-light travel. We believe marketing can be easier and more cost-effective than most CEOs think. Email me to learn about our Savvy Analysis of Marketing (SAM), which will align specific people at your firm to a specific roadmap. Not rocket science, it’s a simple approach by experts to update your marketing, which just might lead to a more prosperous and happier new year.