I am writing this with all the love in my heart for the millions of business owners, CEOs, and marketing people out there today who work so hard to get results for their team, their businesses and organizations. Sharing what goes wrong a lot and contrasting it with some best practices based on real-world experience is my goal.
I see everything I am about to share with you through two lenses. First, I see everything as a bootstrapping entrepreneur and business owner over the last 20+ years. I invest in marketing to grow my companies. I invest in my client’s marketing when I am retained to be the contract CMO, the contract VP of Sales, or perhaps the contract VP of Bus Dev taking on the whole enchilada for a client. Investors see everything differently.
As with anything else, there are clear winners and losers of the marketing wars in every category of B2B and B2C. Get online at any time of the day or night, search for what you’re most interested in purchasing next and what do you see? If you’re like the other 2+ billion people online these days, chances are you’re seeing the search results you want and the search results you don’t. And it’s an absolute, full-on digital war for impressions, engagement, clicks, and conversions. It’s a war for your time, attention and money!
What’s the difference for you, your marketing team and your bottom line when it comes to digital marketing success? Are you winning the battles you choose to fight or are you getting pinned down and barraged by enemy fire most of the time? If you are taking fire, is it friendly fire from the people leading your marketing team? It happens.
In short, discipline and alignment are the two primary factors that enable marketing teams to impact bottom line results and succeed over time. The harsh reality of all marketing is great marketing teams must fail a lot to win their battles before they can win any war. For example, how many headlines on a landing page will you test before you’re convinced you’ve got the best possible result? How many Adwords ad variations will you test over time?
If you are honest, the answer is you will test a ton of variables all the time to raise the bar on marketing results and ROI. Your team will be focused on getting great data, making informed decisions and reporting to you the key performance indicators you choose to measure. You will only win your marketing success by seeing where you are missing the mark on your conversions. This means marketing is a never-ending process, not an event.
Before I dive into the 5 ways we see digital marketing ROI get driven into the ground, while taking a huge toll on the very people doing the hard work, it’s important to distinguish between digital marketing discipline and alignment.
First, what I mean by discipline is really all about your marketing team having an action-based planning system that every single person on the team agrees to use. The system becomes the foundation of the many disciplines that relate to digital marketing ROI. The Sales Acceleration Plan used by the Conversion Marketing Experts team was designed just for the purpose of providing a foundational track or system upon which to base all planning, team communication and action steps for each person to take on as their own. You need a system if you don’t have one now.
Having great information at your finger tips is another key discipline. Web and all marketing related analytics has to be one of the most overlooked disciplines of all. We have access today to the most amazing free and highly affordable software applications that provide information so critical to our digital and related marketing success of any period in history. Yet, people simply ignore analytics tools and reports most of the time. As a result, you can easily understand why so few marketing campaigns are successful. Marketing people and teams are flying blindly.
The second aspect of digital marketing success in my experience is all about the team. The people on your team will make or break you. If you don’t know what you don’t know about digital marketing team building, strategy and tactics, you’re guaranteed to waste a ton of time, energy and money. You’ll also hire and end up firing a larger number of people than if you really knew the ins and outs of digital marketing hiring, leadership, accountability, project management, etc.
So really it’s all about people once you have a system. And if a well-aligned marketing team is not lead consistently well or fairly, it’s only a matter of time before the results fail or worse, the team implodes.
Here are the 5 top ways to kill your digital marketing team and ROI.
1. Wing it on hiring. “I just hired a Webmaster,” bragged the CEO. You have to hire wisely whether you’re hiring employees or outsourcing. In order to hire wisely you need to be a a clear strategic marketing plan in place so you know to what skill sets you must hire in order to execute your plan. So many leaders hire the wrong people and it costs a ton of money. The solution here is to learn to hire wisely or engage a contract marketing consultant or adviser. Your marketing planning should also be integrated with sales process.
2. Keep changing your mind. If you’re not consistent with your focus on the action planning to which the team has been aligned, you’re going to piss your best people off first. The lousy people on your team will suck it up and not say anything until they have their next gig lined up. Either way, you will easily torpedo your ROI while your team disintegrates around you.
3. Approve stuff slowly. It’s digital, dude! If we give you content to approve or need your input to get our work done, do it! I say no more.
4. Don’t listen to the people you hired to run marketing. Yeah, don’t listen to anyone. You’ve hired some superb talent to run the show. They tell you they need copy writers, video peeps, infographics design talent, someone to help you clean up your list, and programmers to get the darn CRM or email marketing systems to fire. You don’t listen. Everyone suffers. Your marketing dies.
5. Be a real jerk to everyone. (Or play favorites.) Again, anyone with real talent and confidence will tell you to pound sand if you’re a jerk towards them. You can’t storm in and out of meetings, change your mind 100 times each week, play favorites with your pet employee, nor be cheap and not pay up for real talent if you want to succeed in digital and content marketing.
So there you have it. I could go on with a number of anecdotal case studies. Perhaps I will bring a few of these to light in future articles. But for now, please remember to do the following if you want to be successful with your marketing.
- Be a nice person to everyone.
- Listen to your people.
- Approve everything quickly.
- Hire the best talent your money can buy so we don’t have to put up with slackers!
I want to hear your comments, questions and best of all, your stories!
To your success!
P.S. Don’t slam your boss on a blog! It could be hazardous to your wealth.