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On Monday we talked about monitoring your marketing. Today we continue our series on “Marketing In The Moment” with a focus on measuring our marketing. Don’t worry. I’m not going to get technical. In fact, I’m going to shockingly simple.
Does it drive business growth?
That’s the only measurement that matters. Short-term. Intermediate-term. Long-term. It all matters.
The only thing that matters is business growth. Is your marketing fueling growth? If not, then it ain’t working.
“But our marketing tells our story…” blah, blah, blah, blah.
We love to convince ourselves that our marketing is having this invisible positive impact that can’t be measured. No it’s not.
The only growth I know of that’s invisible…until it IS visible is cancer.
If you’ve been pumping money into marketing year after year and the needle of business growth isn’t doing anything more than creeping…then it’s not working.
Time to get tough. Probably with yourself. Most of us are prone to think more highly of what we’re doing than we should. We have strong beliefs in what we’re doing. That’s why we’re entrepreneurs. Those beliefs serve us well. Mostly. But not always. Delusion comes easily when we desperately want to believe something will work. Or when we embrace the belief that it IS working even though there’s little to no evidence.
True story. Bob’s business has spent (a’hem, “invested) hundreds of thousands of dollars annually for the past decade. Growth has almost never exceeded a 3% increase in gross revenue. Profits have grown some years only because of cost cuts. Bob is convinced the marketing is necessary to maintain the current performance. Each year he’s convinced of it. But he can’t prove it.
Nothing in Bob’s business indicates that the marketing is doing much more than making Bob feel like he’s doing something. Until a struggle to become more profitable provokes Bob’s wrath…now Bob wants to find out. Enter the 80/20 rule. Folks dig into the marketing to see which 20% is playing a vital role. They assume some of the marketing IS working to provide some growth.
In the process, the team takes a hard look at the things they believe are absolutely NOT working. Those things that aren’t doing anything to push the business forward. They identify almost $200,000 worth of costs. That’s right! COSTS. Not investment.
Fearful they begin to chip away at it rather than make one big clean cut. They inch the number down month by month over the course of 9 months. No measurable change. Nobody notices. But the bottom line notices! Bob notices. Suddenly Bob’s business is much more profitable. A 5% bottom line is now 8%. Bob has long dreamed of a 10% bottom line but felt it was unachievable.
My point isn’t to cut your marketing budget so you can make more money. That’s not the recipe. The recipe is to STOP pouring money down the drain. The recipe is to figure out what’s working to grow your business and what isn’t.
Bob gets ill just thinking about that $200,000 that’s been spent year after year. Said Bob, “I’ve spent that much money for the past 12 years or more.” No point getting twisted up with such thoughts though because Bob really doesn’t know the impact one way or the other. Years ago that money may have driven some business. The lesson is, be mindful IN THE MOMENT. Is it working TODAY?
How long do I give it?
It’s the big question everybody asks. How long is too long? How long is long enough?
Think about how life rolls today. We move fast. Our attention span is short. Very short. So here’s my question. If you begin some marketing campaign today and you do it consistently for 90 days without any noticeable growth…is it working?
We both know the answer. No. At least not in its current form. Now, what should you do? You’ve got 3 basic options: 1) cut it completely, 2) keep doing it as is or 3) tweak it (iterate it and keep trying). Here’s the good news. Two of those 3 choices are smart. You’ve got a 66% chance of getting it more right than not.
Don’t just keeping doing what you’ve always done UNLESS you know it’s driving business growth.
You hear me say it all the time. Put it on trial for its life. Make your marketing prove it’s working. If it can’t prove itself, then do something different. Don’t just keep throwing money, time and energy at it. Tweak it and keep trying. Or cut it and do something completely different.
If we could just eliminate that deadly choice that is all too easy to maintain, then we’d drive more profitable growth.
The easy option: let’s keep doing what we’ve always done even though we’re unsure if it’s driving business growth.
There’s another reason to avoid that habit. It promotes stagnation. We get complacent. We deepen our delusions. All the more reason to shake things up and try something different.
When it comes to measuring marketing avoid the temptation to begin your sentences with “I think.” Bob found out – in dramatic fashion – that what he had been thinking for years was completely untrue. Hundreds of thousands of dollars that might have been more wisely invested in things that would have grown his business were tied up in marketing he thought he couldn’t survive without.
False assumptions can kill our business. Start weeding them out. Besides, most of our marketing decisions can be corrected if we get it wrong. Except the decision to keep doing what we’ve always done.
Be well. Do good. Grow great!