Friday, December 31, 2004
Planning for 2005 – Lead Generation Tops the Mandates
With the pressure to have more marketing programs drive sales results measurably and demonstrate ROI, the lion’s share of whatever budget we have will be devoted to lead generation and customer acquisition. In a recent study, 61% of marketers say their role is to generate leads or demands (Patrick Marketing Group, Trends in Marketing – Autumn 2004 in the November 8, 2004 issue of BtoB Magazine). So, come January 3 we have to be ready to hit the ground running. But the real bit of crystal ball gazing going on is how to determine the number of leads that have to be generated to meet (and hopefully exceed) the financial targets…
For a quick idea, I suggest a gem of a tool I discovered back in October when I was fortunate to be able to attend MarketingSherpa’s Business-to-Business Lead Generation Summit (Read the summit wrap up here). Aside from an excellent presentation, Mac McIntosh of Sales Lead Experts graciously pointed us to a free Marketing Lead Calculator he created and posted on his site. It’s good for a sanity check to help focus your efforts (or give you heartburn, depending on how big a gap you discover the need to fill).
Happy New Year!
Tuesday, December 28, 2004
Monday, December 27, 2004
Developing Methods and Benchmarks (Part I)
— W. Edwards Deming
According to the CMO Council's July 2, 2004 report "Measures and Metrics: The Marketing Performance Measurement Audit," the measurement of marketing performance and marketing's return on investment is a high priority. But few companies — less than 20% to date — have developed meaningful, comprehensive measures and metrics for their marketing organizations. And over 80% of the companies surveyed expressed dissatisfaction with their ability to benchmark their marketing programs' business impact and value. Scary stuff indeed. Yet those companies who have established a formal, comprehensive measurement program are said to achieve superior financial returns and have higher CEO confidence in the marketing function.
Corporate accountability and fiscal responsibility are impossible without developing processes and methods for capturing marketing effectiveness data, creating benchmarks over time to guide future efforts, and having a clear understanding between sales and marketing what’s being measured and why. There is power in knowing which efforts have been most effective and this can only be accomplished through a strong focus on measurement at all levels of the company.
The ability to measure the performance of marketing initiatives is critical. Measurement allows the Corporate Marketing group to:
- Ensure that the marketing strategy laid out in the annual Marketing Plan is on target
- Track and improve the lead generating effectiveness of individual marketing tactics
- To examine how the greater sum total of marketing tactics is a contributory factor to the revenue growth of the business
- To ensure a steady “lead pipeline” is maintained to Business Development/Sales, thereby buoying the organization with new business wins in good times and insulating it from falloffs in difficult times with a more diverse and deep customer pool
A Case Study for Real-Time Marketing Measurement
In my own experience, on more than one occasion, having measurement strategies in place has not only allowed us to examine a troubled marketing initiative while still underway, but enabled us to work with media partners to redirect the campaign mid-stream and realize an almost 190% increase in leads — a strong argument for the value of "real-time" marketing measurement. Of course this was only possible because of our measurement-driven internal marketing and design team who understood the issues, the needs of the brand and was skilled enough to address the technical and creative challenges. Multiply this over all of the ongoing marketing initiatives of the company and you can begin to see the kind of unparalleled return on marketing investment that is possible and the flexibility to turn on a dime to meet business opportunities or competitive challenges.
Sunday, December 26, 2004
Addressing the Devaluation of Marketing and Graphic Design
I've come across this issue fairly consistently in the pharmaceutical industry where, being part of an in-house design & marketing group and despite frequent communication with the C-suite, the value of graphic design to drive brand equity (in the long-term) and generate leads (in the near-term) is not well understood. In some cases, I think this stems from an organization with senior executives brought up mainly from the sales ranks. Unless an organization is marketing-driven, where the execs understand that value that marketing brings to the table to drive sales, marketing (and hence graphic design as a tactic of marketing) will be devalued. It also hasn't helped that the industry as a whole has had alot of money to throw around. In a $50 million (or more!) launch budget spending $1 million on an ad campaign is a small piece of the overall pie.
I also tend to think marketers and graphic designers have brought some of this on ourselves. When we talk the traditional talk of branding and "touchy-feely" concepts like customer loyalty and nurturing to the C-suite, it all seems too soft for the needs of fast-paced, hard hitting business today (despite its importance in the ultimate success of the company). Compounding the problem is that for a good deal of what we've done as marketers we've been resistant to measure and communicate back to our bosses in ways that matter to the business: where is the business positioned today? What does our opportunity pipeline look like in the near-term? Long-term? How is what we're doing today aligned to corporate objectives and moving the vision forward?
Maybe such measures have been elusive because of cost, lack of knowledge or other resource challenges. In any case I firmly believe in measuring the results of all marketing initiatives to provide concrete Return on Investment metrics to the executive suite--even down to messaging and creative execution. That's what I'd like this blog to be about -- exploring methods and ideas for providing measurable, repeatable results, particularly from a "grass roots" perspective relevant to "resource light" organizations. In so doing perhaps we can not only increase revenues for our organizations but also improve the standing of marketing and graphic design in the business world among senior management.