It’s that time of year. September. The last third of the year is in front of us. It’s Back to School and Back to Business. But what about Back to Marketing? This is a great time of year to kickoff new business initiatives and finish the year strong in anticipation of the new year. This is especially true from a marketing standpoint.
At Back to School night we hear about the goals and objectives for the school year which invariably center around the traditional 3R’s …. reading, writing, arithmetic. When students master all of these (and more), we consider them to be a well rounded, educated individual that can maximize their potential.
Similarly, every marketing organization at every company has to think through integrating the 3R’s of marketing for their biggest possible impact. Today’s marketing is a blend of art and science, and there is definitely a business to marketing which the 3R’s of Back to Marketing comprise of: Reputation, Revenue, Results.
Reputation: Provide Aircover!
The reputation and brand of a company can be considered one and the same. Marketing’s role is to help shape and amplify the brand position and value both inside and outside of the company. But everything must begin with the message. Content is definitely king and is the secret to success when used effectively for every marketing vehicle. Understanding the importance of value based messaging by audience type will create the most compelling message to the market. And today’s marketing organizations have a number of great tools and techniques that go way beyond old-school advertising to amplify the brand position and message in the market and build the companies’ reputation. At a high level these include Thought Leadership platforms and initiatives, all communications vehicles, influencer programs, and every brand interaction whether it is physical (i.e. Events, briefing centers) or digital (i.e. company’s website, organic and inorganic, demand gen campaigns, social channels). By amplifying the brand message and position to the market across all touchpoints, the marketing team can provide aircover and help the company gain mindshare, which leads to gaining marketshare and more importantly, revenue.
Revenue: Drive Demand for the Business!
Marketing must work directly with the customer facing teams in the company to drive demand for the business. All demand generation activities must be done with an end goal of pipeline generated or touched, and if possible measure the impact on revenue. The holy grail of every company is to turn interest into demand into closed sales opportunities. It is important to have the alignment between the sales and marketing teams so that the goals can be agreed upon. If, for example, a campaign is coming up short on the number of qualified leads or opportunities identified, the team must quickly understand this and make adjustments to the content, the program and message, audience and/or campaign mix. Finally, when demand generation activities are integrated with Reputation activities, that is when marketing is operating at peak performance. Creating a small stand alone or one-off digital campaign, for example, without the necessary thought leadership and aircover, will likely not yield a lot of results. Which takes us to the last “R” of marketing.
Results: Measure Everything!
Everything in marketing can and must be measured. Clicks, impressions, marketing qualified leads, open rates, sentiment analysis, number of attendees, retweets, web rankings, etc are great indicators for a marketing scorecard. But what about ROI? Almost all companies want to measure the ROI of marketing’s effectiveness, but not everything in marketing can be measured with a hard monetary amount. This is where the science and analytics of marketing comes in. For example, when a Q&A with the CEO is placed on a strategic online site, what is the ROI of that activity? The measurement of this will not be ROI, but perhaps social pickup or traffic. There is a blend of hard monetary returns and other measurements that make up a scorecard which should give an indication of overall marketing effectiveness. It is important to agree upon metrics and success factors prior to embarking on an activity so that there is no confusion about what is being measured and analyzed. If the results are not achieved, adjustments can be made and made quickly. We always hear about “fail, and fail quickly” or “fail and move on”. With today’s digital marketing we now have the ability to adjust quickly and more effectively. When a program, initiative or campaign is done through an integrated approach with a combination of reputation and revenue activities, then results are likely to be achieved and the metrics will prove this.
All of the R’s seem fairly straightforward, but it isn’t enough to master one set or subset of activities, otherwise the full potential of marketing’s efforts will not be realized. Integration and mastering Back to Marketing’s three R’s will yield the greatest impact for every company.