As an outsourced marketing agency, I like to think of our relationship with clients similar to the dynamic when join your partner on their family’s vacation. You’re happy to be there. You hope you’re a great addition to the group, but you’re not really a part of the nuclear family. And while you may offer a suggestion here or there to be helpful (What if we tried this restaurant? Let me help you grill those hotdogs!) it’s not necessarily your place to offer any sort of real criticism.
In our latest whitepaper titled, “Worst-Practice Marketing. How to Bring Your Sales and Marketing Engine to a Screeching Halt, with 9 Things to Avoid for Revenue Success” we reminisce on some of the more cringeworthy moments in our agency’s history, taking you for a ride on a few memorable “family vacations” from our past.
In this blog, we’re going to share two memorable moments when we witnessed some kind of organizational dysfunction as an insider, yet only had the leeway of an outsider to address it.
Two of the Most Common Worst Practice Marketing Mistakes:
- Failure to understand the impact branding has on solution research.
For business owners without a sales/marketing background (tech-founder persona), investing in branding can sometimes be a hard sell. Out of all of the marketing investments, it’s one with the least trackable ROI.
However, ignoring branding can lead to a lack of brand recognition for your product or service when a prospective client is ready to make a decision independent from any marketing communications you’ve had with them. This is usually an “event” – e.g. something delivering a service breaks, a breach happens, a new CIO wants to change something in their infrastructure they’re more familiar with, etc. When the event occurs, the first thing you do is Google or look at online review sites like G2 or Capterra. If you have top-of-mind brand recognition, you have a greater possibility of getting found then further researched.
The different types of branding investments are innumerable, but one “top of mind” example we like to use is a billboard for Coca-Cola. There is no way to measure how many customers the individual sign will convert, but in concert with things like commercials, conference sponsorships, digital marketing, and other metric-generating branding investments, these are the things that put your product/service top of mind when your prospect is at the metaphorical gas station and dying for a refreshing drink and a snack.
Brand equity takes an army and the best general to guide the collective work is a marketing leader who understands both the scope of product use in the marketplace and the differentiators that set the product/service apart. Branding and brand equity are investments, in your future, and should not be looked at as expenses.
- Neglecting the importance of projecting revenue and budgeting: It takes an army too.
This is one of the trickiest things to get right when it comes to successful marketing management; what percentage of sales (or other helpful metric) do you allocate to the sales and marketing budget? I’ve seen it as high as 10% and as low as 0.5%. There’s no correct answer and the ranges will obviously differ by company maturity – a startup marketing budget percent will be higher than a Coca-Cola percent who’s been around since 1892. It takes experience managing comparable budgets, and an understanding of goals, metrics to goals, operational cost to meet metrics, and technology to give you insight into your investment. Ultimately, it takes the entire leadership team – not the CFO or CMO working in a vacuum – to understand how much a sale costs. Your budget should always align with your overarching company objectives. And, for this, it takes an army.
You’ll need to analyze your historical marketing data meticulously. This information holds the key to predicting your marketing expenditure as related to sales revenue.
This is no simple task. It demands specialization and expertise to set up the systems to gather the data and translate it into a comprehensive marketing budget with a comprehensive campaign planner. A critical component of this is a viable CRM and Marketing Automation system. If you don’t have this operational tool in place and aren’t dedicating resources to generate revenue-projecting data, you will never have a viable budget, and worse off, you’ll never be able to project revenue in the event an investor or acquiring company is interested. You will never achieve your exit strategy without this visibility and analysis.
These are just a few of the points we talk about in our whitepaper, and they’re not direct examples taken from one past client, but rather trends we’ve noticed throughout our years in the industry. Remember, successful marketing is a journey, not an overnight success story. Continuously analyze what’s working and what’s not. Adapt, and monitor. Be nimble and able to change your strategy and its accompanying budget to what’s going on in the market. Then, watch your company flourish, granting you a well-deserved peace of mind.
Curious to hear the rest of our 9 worst-practice marketing mistakes from 40+ combined years in B2B marketing? Download the whitepaper today!