The 3 Elements Behind Great Marketing

Do you think marketing is easy? If you do, then you’re obviously not a marketer! No matter what you sell, it’s a challenging job for any business that is only getting harder each season that passes. Marketing is the lifeblood of every company, whether they know it or not. It is the single most important factor determining what people will say about your company in five years. Will you be a market leader or out of business? There simply is no middle ground, you need to be great or risk vanishing completely. Talk about pressure!

Most companies realize just how important marketing is, so they take the next logical step. They look for a marketing agency or consultant. The companies deliver trendy proposals, case studies, “free” marketing audits, keyword reports and all sorts of other data. They will detail the deliverables that will be sent, expected results and closing with a fee structure that is sure to leave any accountant in either sticker shock or utter confusion. (or both) No matter what firm sends you a proposal you’ll notice they are all mostly the same. They’ll all talk about data, A/B testing, their experience, their client base, their software and more importantly… Just how fun they are to work with. After all, who doesn’t make marketing decisions based on how well some college kids throw darts?

While the proposals can be convincing, most firms fail to highlight the only 3 things that really matter. These 3 factors are so important, they are really the only things that determine whether you succeed or fail. They are the same whether you hire a world renowned agency, independent consultant or do it yourself.

No matter what direction you decide to take, make 100% sure you’re confident that these are handled:

Factor #1: What is your process?

If you were going to start manufacturing a new product, the first thing you would do is to define the process for how the final product would get produced. You’d define the machines, operating procedures, tools, manpower and time required for a finished product to roll off the assembly line. A well defined process allows you to repeat actions in order to get the desired results.

Marketing doesn’t have the same degree of repeatability as the example above, but the foundation is the same. In order to make consistent gains you must have a process for your paid advertising, search engine optimization, inbound marketing, social media outreach and public relations. Without a process defining the individual actions which will be taken, it’s impossible to evaluate progress that is being made towards the desired outcome.

Even if you’re counting on someone else to oversee the process, it’s critical to know what their process is. You should know specifically what tasks will be done and how much time will be spent on each one. Each of the tasks within the process should be specific and easy for anyone to know how to replicate. Understanding these granular details will help you gain insight on exactly where your money is being spent. If an outside company says it’s proprietary or they won’t reveal these details, you’re probably best to move on.

Factor #2: Who is doing the work?

Even with the most advanced software and technology, your marketing effort comes down to people. Having the right person assigned to each part of your marketing process is critical for success. There is no single person that is the best at every aspect of marketing. Individuals who focus on a single area of expertise will always be more knowledgable on that topic.

If you’re organizing marketing yourself, sub-contract out the portions of your process which are outside your own expertise. If you’re using an outside company, make sure that you know exactly who will be working on each area of your campaign. Before you sign a contract, ask to speak with each of the individuals who will actually be performing the work.

Make sure you are comfortable with each person tasked with any portion of your marketing process. If you aren’t confident in their capabilities, replace them with someone who is a better fit.

Factor #3: How is time being spent?

Having a well planned process and top notch people will produce results proportionate with the time being invested. The more time that is spent, the better the results. There is no shortcut or easy way around this. It’s imperative that you know how time is being spent in order to gauge the success of your marketing strategy. If things aren’t going quite right, you need to know that time has been invested and the breakdown isn’t being caused by a lack of effort.

If you’re using an outside marketing firm, be sure to make them commit to the amount of time they will be spending on your campaigns. Many SEO and PPC management companies are happy to take your money, but will never commit to the amount of time they will spend. Just take a look at this email that I received from a PPC management company:

“We don’t work by guaranteed minimum hours, so that is not something we would commit to. We base our fee around the value and expertise in conjunction with the time we believe is needed to achieve a client’s goals. One month may be 3 hours and the next could be 25.” — Email From PPC Management Company

What?!? So regardless of whether they spent three hours or twenty five hours, the monthly fee is the same? There are always things that can be done, you simply cannot afford to pay fees that aren’t tied to effort. Value based pricing is one of the big talking points across the services sector at the moment. There is obviously merit to paying great people more, but you still need to know how much time they are putting in. Time and attention are required, regardless of expertise and skill set.

When we compose campaigns we ask that clients deliver time logs from both internal employees and all outside contractors. Comparing how time was spent by the team against results will provide you with considerable clarity on your marketing effort.

Conclusion: Know Your Marketing

Out of all of the factors, you will have noticed one universal theme: YOU. You must know what’s going on with your marketing. As an owner or executive, marketing is too important for you to be in the dark. It’s imperative that you know the process, people and time that are related to your marketing effort. If you’re an executive at a large firm and have delegated your marketing to someone else, be sure that you receive granular reports about strategy and time. Don’t be satisfied about reports on results, demand reports that detail the factors underlying them. Even if you don’t have time to read through every detail, forcing these to be sent will ensure that your marketing stays on point.

Want to know your marketing better? We’d be happy to take a look. Our 400-point Marketing Audit will give you an independent assessment of your marketing effort. This isn’t one of those “free” audits offered as a sales tactic by other companies. This is a comprehensive audit that will provide you with an unfiltered assessment. We’ll dig deep into the strategy, positioning, process, people, execution and performance of your marketing. At the conclusion of the audit you will know where you excel, where you need to improve and receive some fresh ideas that can build your bottom line.

Click here to learn more about our 400-Point Marketing Audits.

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