A three-point plan to improving marketing efforts
Marketing efficiency is all about chasing big wins that come easiest. Focusing on the tactics and channels that drive the most results with the least effort.
Most companies have some sort of internal marketing department. Imperative in measuring the company’s marketing efficiency is to consider both traditional and digital marketing tactics. In many cases, businesses struggle to keep up with the demands of modern marketing, from search engine optimization (SEO) to social media content. If your business met its marks, even thrived, for years on the results of print advertising, direct mail, local visual advertising, and commercials on TV, chances are those same tactics are no longer working as well.
But it can be hard to sell old school leadership on the value of new school techniques. That’s where a keen measuring of marketing efficiency comes in so you can lead with data and push the company’s marketing into the digital ecosystem.
Using these marketing efficiency figures will help show leadership that it’s time to let go of old tactics and embrace new, more efficient strategies. It can also lead to discussions about letting go of certain in-house efforts and working with external experts to get the most bang for your buck.
Identify Your Weak Points
An important aspect of evaluating marketing efficiency is to determine your weak points as an organization. One common situation is trying to bridge technical and creative approaches.
For some organizations, understanding your product or service then finding creative ways to engage your customers comes easily. Maybe you have a niche product that requires the daily exposure only your team has to effectively present it to the world. Or maybe you have moved slightly beyond traditional marketing and have found a knack for drumming up authentic ways to converse and interact with your audience on social media.
And this is all working well, running smoothly and efficiently, for those customers already within your funnel or with some level of awareness of your organization. But when it comes to showing up in search results for prospects that have never heard of you, your website is stuck on the second, third or fourth page and not showing up where it matters, in the top ten results.
There’s your weak spot: attracting new customers through the most powerful discovery method available. Search engines, primarily Google, drive so much of customer discovery, it’s imperative to be playing the game. But your wonderfully creative, authentic team falls short when it comes to SEO. They know what a keyword is, but when it comes to identifying technical issues such as web page loading speed, proper link redirects and product schema code (that speaks machine language to search engines to properly categorize your pages), they are in over their heads. And that is not even considering implementing fixes and optimizations for these issues.
SEO is a strong example. Perhaps you have no trouble getting traffic to your website, thanks to successful traditional marketing campaigns, but getting customers to actually make a purchase or get in touch with your sales team is a challenge. That’s where conversion rate optimization, or CRO, would step in to better guide users on the path to purchase.
There are other environments in which weak spots will show up, too. Continuing the divide between traditional and digital marketing, consider advertising. A team may be killing it when it comes to print ads in industry publications, billboards on the highway and commercials on television. But they may not know the first thing about placing pay-per click (PPC) ads online among search results and in banners on sites across the web.
Evaluating marketing efficiency means not only taking stock of the marketing activities you are doing, but considering other tactics that you have not even approached due to lack of familiarity. Your weak spots are not only your low-efficiency activities, but tactics with zero efficiency because you are not doing them.
Evaluate Your Marketing Spend Effectiveness
And that leads to a final essential element in addressing marketing efficiency: knowing how, where and when to spend your marketing dollars.
These types of (often difficult) considerations and conversations lead you to decide when to outsource. It takes some careful calculation to know when outsourcing, or engaging a marketing agency, is a better choice than going it alone and keeping everything in house. There are some major considerations to evaluate when deciding between an agency or in-house marketing route, but finding the right path will pay off exponentially in the end.
It’s often hard to let go of your brand, so to speak, when choosing to outsource work. But if the agency you engage can pick up the slack where your efficiency is low and bring experts to the table to fill in your weak spots, it’s a no-brainer.
Enable Continual Marketing Efficiency Measurement
There’s another angle in working with agencies: you can hold them accountable for marketing efficiency as well. Not only can you directly ask them to provide data on how their work (which you can put a dollar amount to — check your retainer or project fee) has earned you money, but you can make the same calculations internally by evaluating that outsourced spend with the overall increase in efficiency your company has achieved.
For instance, taking an inefficient workload off your in-house marketer’s desk (and passing it to the agency) may free that team member up to do more effective work — so your increased revenue may not just be what’s secured by the agency, but also what this internal employee brings in through his or her now more effective efforts.
In the end, marketing efficiency importance comes down to how well you measure it and how truthful you are with yourself and your company when it comes to finding the data you need and seriously weighing it against revenue performance. The key is to always be evaluating and to look for ways to raise efficiency both internally and externally.
Written by: Tiffani Wroe, BOSS Contributor