4 Tips for Prioritizing Your Marketing for ROI

You have a million events, ads and close dates, ship dates, sales support, the president of your company wants a presentation . . . You stay awake at night thinking about all the ways you should be updating the website. How is your search ranking? Which keywords should you be targeting? Content marketing?
THEN, you’re supposed to track all of that and generate an ROI for it. Yeah, I get that same feeling. Together now, deep breath. Better? Onwards!
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Tip 1: Decide what you’re NOT going to do.

Everyone, even you, will have a million ideas about what marketing should/needs/could be doing. Make the default answer this:
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“That’s an awesome idea! Let’s put that in the idea bank to review in our next monthly meeting.”

This answer means you’re not crushing the hopes and dreams of the idea-generator by immediately saying no, but you ARE giving yourself space to prioritize.
This is a very important first step. Just say no to your ideas, your boss, drugs, etc.
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Tip 2: Get consensus on what a win looks like.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I’m not so good with the sports stuff with the rules and brightly colored tights on sweaty people. But I’m going to attempt to use a sports analogy here.
It will probably take some work, but you need to decide with the C-suite and your team and sales what you are going to call the following:

The Definition of a Win

So what exactly is a win for you? At the end of the year when you’re delivering your final report, what do you want to be in that report? Or as I like to think about it, what am I going to put my feet up and feel smug about with my scotch and cigar?
Some options:

  • We increased brand awareness from X to Y by spending only $XXXXXX.
  • We went from X to Y MQLs (marketing qualified leads).
  • Our close rate on MQLs went from X% to Y%.
  • Our web traffic went from X to Y.

For example, for our marketing department, we want to be able to say “We have a measurable ROI from our leads of X%.”

The Definition of a Touchdown

So to get to a win, you need to decide what “touchdowns” are going to get you there. If your “win” is brand awareness, are you measuring impressions as a win? Could a touchdown be getting people to your custom event? Content downloads perhaps?

The Definition of a Conversion

Do you care about sending leads to sales? Or is it getting people to sign up for your newsletter? Attending your event? Or just engaging with your brand on Facebook? As you can see, it’s important for everyone to know what you’re talking about.
A conversion can be many things, but define your conversions based on what will get you a touchdown and then a win.

  • Win = Brand Awareness, therefore . . .
    • Touchdowns = # of Impressions, therefore . . .
    • Conversions = Focused Media Placements
  • Win = Leads, therefore . . .
    • Touchdowns = # of Form Submissions/Phone Calls, therefore . . .
    • Conversions = New Targeted Contacts.
  • Win = Web Traffic, therefore . . .
    • Touchdowns = # of Inbound Links, therefore . . .
    • Conversions = Pieces of Content Engaged With

It’s simplistic, but you get the idea. (And I’m thankfully past the sports analogy portion of this article.)
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Tip 3: Review your idea bank on a regular basis with your “win” strategy in front of you.

Now that you’ve created some space for yourself by following the first tip, and you’ve agreed on what your win looks like, it’s time to prioritize! A time lapse also puts some space around the ideas so there are fewer blind attachments to them. Now you can look at your list and say “is this going to drive conversions for us?”
Obviously, everyone needs to understand how you’ve chosen to define your win, your touchdowns, and your conversions. Otherwise, the answer will always be “yes.”
But because you gotten consensus (see tip 2), it will be easier for your boss to understand why you turned down his idea for a company-themed monster truck rally to showcase new tires and sneak in a sales pitch . . . with fire.
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Tip 4: Have a healthy balance of trackable media.

If you want straight ROI, don’t use old school paid advertising by itself. Is print important? Absolutely. Our research keeps coming back that a lot of audiences, especially older decision-makers, prefer print. But if you’re not using online advertising, you’re missing out on a chance to boost your ROI.

So what forms of marketing make it easiest to track ROI?

  • Digital Advertising:
    • Set a limit on your cost per click or impression.
    • Determine the value of each close generated by the advertising.
    • Bask in the glow of straight numbers.
  • Content Marketing:
    • Create gated content that you can follow up on.
    • Follow up on those that download your content.
    • Turn the successful follow-ups in as leads.
    • Measure the success of those leads.
  • Event Marketing:
    • Get data on the audience and define your target list.
    • Use a private event or RFID to get a contact list that matches your target.
    • Follow up with those target contacts.
    • Match up sales to those on your target contact list.

I hope those 4 tips make you feel a little less overwhelmed with all the things marketing is tasked with. Just know all us marketers are in this together. You CAN prioritize your marketing if you are willing to say no, willing to define your win and what it will take to get you there, use those skills, and get some trackable media in your mix.
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