For many businesses, the effectiveness of marketing is simply the number of leads generated by specific tactical activity. While lead generation is an obvious measure of marketing effectiveness, it is far from exhausting what marketing has to offer.
It might be more commercially useful to define marketing effectiveness more generally as the return on marketing investment against a pre-determined set of objectives.
These objectives can be as diverse as creating a defined market position, increasing online conversions, creating clarity among internal and external stakeholders about the mission and values of a business, identifying and refining target personas and even significantly reducing lead volumes in a move from a transactional to a nurturing lead management strategy.
This latter strategy forms an increasing part of our work as UK and international businesses want to reduce the operational burden caused by high quantities of low quality leads. For example, Wall Street English franchises in Russia and Argentina both saw large, well-planned drops in lead volumes result in significant increases in signed contracts.
Getting outcomes like these requires careful planning and total alignment between marketing and sales, which in turn requires a content driven marketing strategy backed by a consultative approach to sales.
In summary, the key to marketing effectiveness, is:
Being able to set clear, unambiguous objectives (ideally in less than 100 words).
Knowing when to act on the basis of ‘sufficient evidence’ without succumbing to an endless need for research which paralyses action.
Knowing how to evaluate feedback from the market and how to act on it.
Having the flexibility to change course quickly and decisively if the evidence tells you to do so.
Automating as much of your marketing as possible.
Being patient and thinking for the long as well as the short term. Marketing is about engagement and the greater the level of engagement you get from target audiences, the more effective your marketing will be. It may be that many of the prospects you engage will take time to decide when they want to buy from you. This process can take weeks, months and in some B2B markets, years.
The fact that prospects who engage with your brand don’t turn into leads immediately does not mean your marketing is ineffective. On the contrary, it means your marketing is engaging and nurturing prospects in exactly the way it should if it's to create long-term value.
So, if you want your marketing to be effective, first look at ALL the ways marketing can help your business and then engage an agency that knows how to work with evidence, emotion and complex commercial environments in which your marketing has to create value.
by Lindsey Witcherley Jun 11, 2019
Director at Cognition. Over 20 years industry experience working across B2B and B2C markets. Specialises in digital marketing and HubSpot strategies across multiple sectors.