It’s been a long day and it’s only lunchtime. Similar to most, it seems like you can’t even catch a breath. You’ve met with your fellow executives several times – some topics worthy of your time, some… well, not so much. And, you’ve finally wrapped up your monthly reports (which, by the way, has a pretty darn impressive P&L!)
You sit down at your desk to eat your well-deserved lunch and let out a deep and smiley sigh. Added bonus: Today you ordered out and avoided the wheel of death in Vendo-land. But, as soon as you take your first bite, there goes the phone. It’s the front desk.
“Your advertising agency guests have arrived,” the operator drones.
“What!?!” You double-check your calendar and realize that you did, in fact, agree to this appointment. “Groan.”
The last thing you need right now is to deal with this meeting you booked a couple of weeks ago. It sounded good then when they inquired about your business goals and challenges. But, now, maybe not so much. After all, your sales team has had another ‘closed won’ that didn’t cost a dime because that lead came in through your usual source: relationships. I mean, your company has been pretty dang successful so far without spending money on marketing!
But, nevertheless, you’re a pro. So, you grab your stuff and head to the conference room where your marketing agency contacts are waiting. You’ll let them down easy. After all, you think to yourself, “Why should I spend money on marketing now?”
BECAUSE YOU’RE IN IT FOR THE LONG HAUL
Chances are you’ve heard the saying “The race of life is a marathon, not a sprint.” The same could be said for investing in marketing/advertising for your business. Although you may have some quick wins here and there via referrals and relationships, the business that plans for the long haul with a long-term strategic marketing plan and spend will more-often-than-not always come out on top. Here are some things to keep in mind.
- Ongoing marketing shapes your customer base: As your company evolves, your company will need to target different audiences. Sometimes your focus changes only slightly, and other times you have to start with a completely new customer base. Either way, you need to be constantly evaluating your target and adjusting your messaging, visuals, and strategy accordingly.
- Ongoing marketing gives you lots of options: Having “just enough” business isn’t enough. If you’re actively marketing, there should always be more demand for your offering than you can actually meet. This gives you the option to pick and choose your customers, to focus on the most profitable (or most enjoyable) ones, and to have a waiting list ready for when times get slower.
- Ongoing marketing secures your company’s future: The single most important reason for engaging in active, ongoing marketing is simply that it secures your company’s future. Marketing creates business. You may have lots going on right now, but will it still be there in six months? A year? Three years? Savvy business owners don’t leave their future up to chance; they’re planting seeds now they can harvest next season.
BECAUSE NOW THERE’S A TRACEABLE RETURN ON INVESTMENT
Thanks to digital marketing and a number of different reporting tools like our weapon of choice, HubSpot, you can leverage data and analytics to actually prove a return on your advertising investment. The old days of ‘spray and pray’ are over. Now, you can see what works and what doesn’t – allowing you the opportunity to pivot when needed.
- Successful marketers don’t make decisions based on feelings — their decisions are based on data. Where does that data come from? Why, their marketing analytics, of course! Services such as HubSpot (which we are a certified agency partner of) make it easy for the marketer and client to track and pivot.
- With closed-loop marketing data, you can track a lead from the moment of first conversion on your website, until that lead becomes your customer. With this information you can look back to see which marketing channels — your blog, SEO, social media, email marketing, etc. — are most effective at generating customers.
- Attribution reports can be used to understand the journey someone takes from the first time they set foot on your website to the time they become a customer — basically, measuring the conversion path to see what made someone convert. The value in this report is marketers can now pinpoint the exact marketing effort that led to a conversion in the funnel.
- Use your closed-loop analytics to analyze how effectively your leads convert into customers. Just as the number of leads generated helps you prioritize your marketing channels, the rate at which tactic leads turn into customers should help you prioritize, too.
- If you are using email marketing for direct sales, you can use closed-loop analytics to attribute revenue to your email marketing efforts.
AND, BECAUSE YOUR COMPETITION IS!
You’re not the only fish in the pond. Don’t ever believe that. There will always be an up-and-comer nipping at your heels willing to sacrifice to catch up and even push ahead. It’s pretty easy to figure out, especially in today’s digital age, which companies are striving for new lead generation to meet business goals and which ones are happy keeping their business model on a ‘relationship’ only angle. Whether you decide to keep up with the Joneses is really up to you, but, if you’re having a hard time figuring out how much to spend, you may be interested in knowing the Marketing Budget Ratio across some industries:
- Manufacturing: 2.5% – 3.5%
- Construction: 2% – 8%
- Packaged goods companies: 4% -15%
- Professional services: 5% – 15%
- Apparel and other finished products: 4.8%
- Educational services: 10.7%
- Digital Services and Products: 4.5% – 7%
- Furniture/Appliances: 9.5%
- Household audio and video: 7.0%
- Transportation services: 15%-20%
- Women’s clothing: 8.8%
- Automotive: 2% – 4%
BUT, BUSINESS IS STRONG (NOW!)
Why spend now? After all, you’ve got where you are without much if any marketing at all. If that resonates with you at all, take a look at the points below. Perhaps an internal debate can be on the future if you think about things differently.
- If business is strong and money is coming in, you have an available cash flow to support an advertising campaign… ‘now.’
- Current customers may have forgotten about your entire suite of services or products. They already trust your brand. You’ve won 90% of the battle already.
- Advertising works in cycles and may take some time before the prospect becomes a customer. Advertising doesn’t typically make customers want to buy a product or service they aren’t ready for yet. It’s a game of timing. This is why we see the same commercials on television and hear the same radio ads throughout the day. It’s about brand awareness.
- A strong client or customer base removes the unnecessary pressure of “this campaign NEEDS to bring in X new customers.” When you focus on the end result you tend to lose sight of the path that gets you there in the first place. In contrast, without that stress you are more likely to “think outside the box” and allow your marketing to be more creative. Creative advertising has a better chance to create an emotional response in potential customers. Emotional responses trigger chemicals in their brain. This helps them remember your brand. FOR NOW… AND THE FUTURE
We’d love to chat, debate or even email about this topic with you. Just drop us a line here. Marketing, digital and video production are what we’re all about and we’d love the chance to help you solve your business goals.
Sources: Hubspot.com, Crowdfavorite.com, marketingprofs.com, Linkedin.com