There has been a systematic breakdown in marketing departments around the world. Since the inception of Social Media, businesses have been scrambling to quantify and justify the way in which digital marketing contributes to sales targets. Sure, we have come a long way with conversion tracking and other deeper, fancier metrics. But one thing remains utterly broken, and that is the disconnect between the sales department and the marketing team.
Whether your company is big or small, chances are that some or all of your marketing team is sub-contracted. It’s very rare, even in huge companies, to see a marketing department fully in-house. This is due to the nature of marketing itself. It is such an all-encompassing term that it’s often difficult to pinpoint all that it entails.
Here is a basic list of things that CEO’s generally listed as the duties of the marketing department:
· Social Media Management
· Website Design/ Maintenance/Damage Control
· Email Marketing
· And all the other acronyms…
But here is what is oftentimes being ignored. Marketing exists solely to support sales. Marketing has no other function. Sure… you could argue that “brand awareness” is important or customer service, but all of that stuff is a means to an end—which is making sales and increasing revenue for your company.
So why is it, that when we create our marketing plans or have those crazy awesome planning sessions with our uber-creative marketing agency that the word SALE is often seen as a four-letter word? As the previous owner of a marketing agency myself for a couple of years, I can tell you exactly why. Creative marketing agencies cannot promise much in terms of sales. This is because they, as a third party, oftentimes are afraid—or do not have the bandwidth-- to get too involved with the operations of a particular client’s business. The agency model only thrives on maintaining very consistent, and clear deliverables. But these deliverables are often created without input from a sales director or anyone who is responsible for sales.
Which is why the marketing KPI’s are often very fluffy. Who really cares about engagement these days? We are all being screwed by the algorithms and pay-to-play model that has emerged these past few years. That is exactly why you, as a business owner or marketer, need to focus on the metrics that really matter to your business. And chances are, if you sell anything online, that is your list. But not only that list itself, but the behavior of that list.
In creating a profitable marketing strategy, you need to know your numbers. You need to understand, with severe clarity, your customers’ journey, and the conversion rates at each passage. Only then will you be able to devise a sales and marketing strategy that will yield real results for your business.
Here is an example, let’s say you are a product-based business with a really well-positioned and thoughtful lead magnet on your homepage. Let’s say, from your tracking, that you see that about 50% of your web traffic interacts with your lead magnet by giving you their email address (great!).
Once you’ve got this potential customer’s email address, you send them an amazing offer straight into their inbox. With that strategy, you see a 5% conversion rate. That is pretty awesome. A chart could look something like this:
This is a very basic example, but the most important number here (and I hope this is obvious) is the number of products sold. Every strategy that you set up for your marketing needs to be working directly towards a specific sales target. No matter if you are using social media, email, or website pop-ups, it all must work… or else it’s a waste of money and time.
A note on brand awareness. I know the creatives out there will hate me for this—but general “brand awareness” should not be a strategy unless you have a very big budget. These days there are many wonderful options where the ROI can be very closely tracked. In the end, you need to grow that list and sell those products. And I hope that moving forward you realize that your target revenue needs to be, at least partially, the responsibility of your marketing team. This is especially true if you don’t have a sales team pounding the pavement. Marketing isn’t going to “work” for you until you start treating digital marketing as a salesperson itself. They are one and the same. In fact, there should be a new word for this all. I say we just call it Sarketing and call it a day…
But seriously, please take a look at the next quarterly meeting and pay extra close attention to the KPIs you or your marketing agency has set for themselves. Be extra vigilant in making sure metrics that you are tracking and paying attention to is very focused-- and not just a bunch of fluff. In the end, a company that can get these two departments working symbiotically are the one that experiences truly sustainable growth.
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