New budget season: Your position costs!
When you're clear with your business position, and your teams are clear of the business marketing objectives then outreach activities can be more closely aligned to your goals 0 therefore becoming more efficient, effective with cost-savings!
As you approach the budget season, don't ask your departments what they want to spend, nor where they want to spend it, nor how - even asking them why will not give you the most important insight you need this year. You need to ask them; what the business stands for, what it is trying to achieve, what value they add and how they will add this additional value next year!
Being a consultant I come into businesses to examine the current marketing scenario. Rarely do I find that each channel is on track and sharing the shared goals and business direction. One channel doesn't know what the other channels are doing; and too often they are not working together - each with completely different business brand messages, targeting two completely different markets.
My goal is to focus the message, align the strategies and keep each channel on a shared path, to the point that I can turn round to a client and say "I've done my job, I'm not needed". I just want to be your Mary Poppins!
Sales vs Partnerships
Who doesn't want a quick win? But do these wins add value to the business if they can't complement one another? The sales and partnership strategies should be closely aligned to the marketing strategy; what we communicate externally about the business should be reflected in the type of customers we on board and the type organisations with which we do partnerships. Often I have found these channels are going for the easy pickings, which rarely complement one another.
It's the current growth hack of the organisation; and while the digital team are aiming for cheaper and cheaper traffic conversion, are they bringing the right traffic or customers? How are they promoting the business - are they on-brand/ on-message? And most importantly, how are they using the data to calculate the effectiveness of their campaigns. Are they sending out creative, but randomly targeted campaigns that offer no consistency? Are all digital channels (SEO, SEM, PPC, Display, Social, Email) working on the same campaign? If not, why not?
If there's no story and no consistency, there is no brand. What you stand for must be clear and should be delivered to the market with a constant stream of narratives and supportive evidence. Otherwise you're at risk of spending huge sums on random campaigns and ideas that have no link to the business goals.
PR can celebrate all you're doing and help to bring these channels together under a unified theme and message. But just sending out a news release whenever you feel the need doesn't help an influencer understand how your business is growing or developing or what value your business offers your customers.
Yes, product is part of this - what and how are you developing your product? Is it in line with business aims? In line with your communications and branding? Or are you responding to someone's ego or investor demand? Be careful how you develop and share the improvements of products because they can confuse your customer. Your product and customer service is also a perfect channel to reinforce your values, beliefs and position to make greater impact in the market.
For each channel you should ensure that there is some form of return-of-investment tracking that shows level of business, total sales, number of leads, and business maturity from each activity. However be clear what you judge as ROI, digital channels provide the most detailed and thorough data - but may not generate the sales from the resources and finance invested. Take time to understand your traditional marketing channels and the value they bring, and to identify opportunities to optimise these channels for greater penetration and impact.
Before beginning your budgets - be very clear where you want to take the business over the next year, and the role each channel will play in achieving this. Don't lose site of efficient growth!