By the end of the month you want to see real results from your marketing budget.
It doesn’t matter if you are a business owner and you have worked on the marketing budget or if you are the head of a marketing team who must work within a budget decided from above – you need to make sure that you put your assets to good use, both money and people.
This is more difficult to do than it seems and it requires a lot of hard work and good planning. Still, it can be done and you can ensure that you are stretching your marketing budget as far as possible.
Determine your goals
It may seem that the goal of every marketing campaign is the same – increasing the number of customers and revenue. And while this is true in a certain sense, the goals that you wish to achieve with your marketing efforts can actually be quite varied.
For example, a company might be looking to increase the number of customers or clients from a certain demographic, which will entail completely different marketing efforts than those involved with simply increasing one’s customer base.
Another company might be interested in promoting only their newest service that they want to get off the ground because it will be incredibly beneficial for the company’s bottom line in the long run. Some other company might actually be looking to better retain their customers as opposed to finding new ones.
Of course, when determining your goals, you will also think of different ways in which you will be able to gauge the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. This is done by identifying various key performance indicators (KPIs) that you will be tracking. For instance, you may be tracking just the number of new customers, or the rate of actions taken on their behalf, or something completely different.
It goes without saying that your end goals should be specific, but also realistic. If you look at your marketing budget and decide that you have 6 months to overtake a company like Trello or SAP, you may be in for a disappointment.
Know where your customers are
One of the basic principles of all marketing is that you need to know who your customers are and where you can find them. For example, if you are selling orthopedic aids for people over the age of 65, you will probably want to shelve your Snapchat marketing program altogether.
This is an extreme example and, oftentimes, it can be difficult to understand where your customers are. For example, your marketing budget includes one line that incorporates both Facebook and Twitter marketing.
You need to do research and make sure you are spending most your assets on a channel that your customers engage with.
This is especially important for certain industries where new marketing practices such as digital marketing make almost no sense. The combination of hype, promises of fantastic ROI and the allure of low initial costs might make your budget digital-heavy when it will reap absolutely no benefits for your business.
Be ready to speak up in such situations (when the budget is handed to you).
We live in an age of “marketing experts” who haven’t worked a day in actual marketing and who were never asked to present the results to a room of executives. They pick up on the latest new craze and they add another layer to the, eventually, multilayered fable of something that simply does not work in the way that they would want you to believe.
Take, for example, account-based marketing. It is a perfectly sound practice, but for a very limited number of companies. It makes sense in very particular cases and it is something that takes significant assets and expertise to pull off the right way.
For the past couple of years, the aforementioned “marketing experts” were falling over each other trying to convince the owner of a local restaurant that they should be doing ABM (hint: they shouldn’t).
There are innumerable cases like this and many a marketing budget becomes influenced by such hype.
It is absolutely crucial that you know how to differentiate between something that really yields results and something that you think will yield results because people are talking about it.
Falling for hype is perfectly understandable and you shouldn’t feel bad if you have done so in the past. Just try to avoid making it a pattern.
Forget about shortcuts
There are no marketing shortcuts. For a marketing campaign to work, it requires time, assets, and hard work.
A few tweets a day will not yield the same results as an email marketing campaign that took a couple of months of hard work to pull off.
There isn’t some magical new piece of software that will automate 99% of your marketing and lead generation efforts. They might say there is, but there isn’t.
Marketing, like everything in business, takes a lot of grind, trial and error and expertise.
You might feel somewhat disheartened by this, but you shouldn’t be. If there were marketing shortcuts, then everyone would be doing it and your hard work would not pay off.
Adjust. Adjust. Adjust.
No budget is perfect. This goes for pretty much every budget you can think of. There will always be certain factors that will change a thing here, a thing there, and soon enough, you are left with a budget that is in shambles.
Because of this, you should never look at your marketing budget as something set in stone. If you notice that a certain practice is yielding better results than initially expected, do not be afraid to divert some of the assets from something that has been underperforming.
It is crucial that you are constantly tracking the results of your marketing efforts and making adjustments that will maximize the effectiveness of various strategies and tactics.
Leslie Gilmour founded Cube SEO in Dublin during 2007. Since then he has worked with companies in Ireland, the UK, and the US helping them gain more business from their website.