As I sit here in my home office and reflect on the year my company has had so far and what we are looking to achieve for 2018, there’s one thing that is clear: no matter how different each of the businesses I work with is, they all face the same marketing challenges.
Challenges I hear over and over again are:
- “We need high-quality leads.” 80% of marketers report their lead generation efforts are only slightly or somewhat effective. (Source: BrightTalk)
- “We need to build our email list.” Three-quarters of companies agree that email offers “excellent” to “good” ROI. (Source: Econsultancy)
- “We need more traffic.” 61% of marketers say improving SEO and growing their organic presence is their top inbound marketing priority. (Source: HubSpot)
- “We’re strategic and can’t tactically execute the way we should.” OR “We’re too tactically driven without a clear strategy.”
Even though these challenges are the same across the board, the biggest differentiator that will help a company excel in their marketing efforts is the team. Having a great team means that you are all cohesively working together towards a collaborative goal that feels authentic, meets your core values, and will benefit everyone. In order to do this well, you have to be able to put your egos aside and be honest with what you’re good at (your assets), what you don’t know (yet to learn), and what you’re not good at (your deficits).
All of the companies that work with me to drive results typically see a 2-4x ROI. There are a few things that help these companies get there:
- Trust is essential because without it, comes the need to micromanage everything which becomes a bottleneck for executing.
- They have allocated a budget for marketing. This is a no bullshit zone — meaning you’ve taken the time to know exactly what you can afford to put towards awareness and drive more conversions online.
- They openly communicate to the point where it feels as though my team is a part of theirs and vice versa. Transparency is key to ensuring that nothing slips through the cracks and that we talk about what’s working, what’s not, and what the next course of action is.
- They are organized and allow the right processes to be put in place. It is typical of tech startups (who are the majority of my clients today) that everything is a top priority and there are always a million things to get done. However, managing expectations and upcoming initiatives will help add clarity both internally and for any external vendors. If you’re always changing the roadmap or making everything a priority, then you’ll soon find nothing is working.
With 2018 just around the corner, I’m sure many of you are already strategically planning for what’s to come in the new year and how marketing will play a role in driving growth initiatives. Here are a few key items to keep in mind especially if you’re dealing with any of the challenges I stated above:
Develop a Financial Model
You wouldn’t believe how many businesses I work with that have no financial model setup for understanding the following:
- How much are you willing to pay for a quality lead? (Optimal cost per lead/CPL)
- What is your LTV (lifetime value of a customer)? (Even if you don’t have one, guesstimate it so you have something to work off of because you can always adjust your model as you go).
- What is your optimal CPA (cost per acquisition)?
- What do you expect your close rate to be?
Additionally, the less a company know what their KPIs are, the less likely they are to meet revenue goals. 74% of companies that weren’t exceeding revenue goals did not know their visitor, lead, MQL, or sales opportunities. (Source: HubSpot)
Having a financial model to leverage will also help you set realistic goals.
“Marketers who set goals are 429% more likely to report success than those who don’t.” (source: CoSchedule)
Stop Getting in the Way
Whether you’ve hired an outside agency, contractors, or you have an in-house team, make sure you get rid of the bottlenecks. Streamline workflows and know who the key decision makers will be.
Doing so will ensure that you make room for requests you may receive from sales without having to stop your entire marketing plan dead in its tracks. The key to being successful here is to understand what the sales process is, where the marketing injection points need to happen, and for sales to understand the marketing strategy so they don’t take away from the ability to generate qualified leads.
More importantly, don’t depend on just ideas to drive your decision making but leverage data points to help steer you in the right direction.
Know Who Your Target Audience Is
Trying to be a solution to everyone will soon show that you are a solution to no one.
This one may seem obvious but it’s important to be clear about who your primary target audience is and who the secondary audience is. The importance of knowing this will determine how you position your content marketing, paid advertising, email marketing campaigns, and so on.
If you’re not sure and you want to dabble, then don’t be afraid to do some market research and analysis yourself or work with an outside firm to help. That way, you have a starting point and you aren’t making it more difficult for your team to fish in a big pond without the right fish.
I’m guilty of wanting things done right away and then wanting to see results for them in the same amount of time.
“Most people give up just when they’re about to achieve success.”
Rome wasn’t built in a day so be patient with the process. Know it will take time to generate high-quality leads, it will take time to build awareness, and get your entire marketing engine to work at a point where you’re seeing the results you want.
Getting out of the rut of executing marketing programs that don’t yield the type of results you want comes down to having a good strategy (marketers who document their strategy are 538% more likely to report success than those who don’t), a tactical roadmap that supports that strategy, and a team who is on board.
My number one advice to all of my clients is that the more you test and optimize where needed, the higher chance of success you will see. It’s always great to meet the goals you have in place, but it’s even better when you exceed those goals.