Tag Archives: Marketing

Marketing ROI: Is It All About The Low Hanging Fruit?

“I want the marketing dollars I spend to have an immediate impact.  I need to be able to see sales go up within the first thirty days or I’m unlikely to continue with it.”

“I’ve never been able to see how using Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or blogging can increase the leads I receive.”

“Is there any way to get my phone to ring more?”

“I’m really only interested in going after the low hanging fruit, something that will pay for my efforts right away.  After that, I’ll figure something else out.”

We live in a world of instant gratification.  We learn to move on quickly if we’re not immediately entertained.  Wall Street demands quarterly results. If something takes too long, it’s just not worth it.

I have been accused at times of quoting Seth Godin too much.  I don’t really mean to other than I am a regular reader and I truly believe he is one of the innovative thinkers of our time.  So, please forgive my idolatry.

In “Driveby Culture and the Endless Search for Wow,” Seth poses the question of whether as marketers we should be focused on getting and measuring the number of eyeballs that view our content or whether we should be concerned about those people who have a true interest, who want to listen, who may actually become long-term customers.

I’ve always tried to emphasize to business owners that what ever marketing efforts are made, it is ultimately about sales and profits, otherwise why expend the energy?  And, I am also a proponent of prioritizing efforts so that at least you can garner the “low hanging fruit,” so you can see some immediate results.  But, I am also quick to point out that many other marketing efforts, especially those where you are trying to build a dialog, a relationship with people who can help spread your brand, people who will be your proponents, will definitely take time and patience. Sometimes a Return on Investment or ROI is not measured short-term in more leads or calls.

Do you agree?

I Knew in an Instant, Did You?

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It seemed so obvious just by looking at his face.  You could see the glint in his eyes, the slight up curl of his top lip resembling the snarl a cat gets just after eating the mouse.  This guy was cool, not a drop of perspiration.  He was guilty, you knew it and he knew it, and he was relishing the fact that he had fooled everybody.  Your gut was telling you, this guy did it, but with the wealth of testimonies, charts, diagrams, witness depositions, and all other types of evidence, the jury found him innocent.  How was it that with all that information available, they could make such an obviously bad decision?

This is a fictitious story however we have all been there.  How many times has your gut told you, don’t do this, you’ll regret it, but after you thought about it, weighed all of the possible outcomes you made a decision that turned out to be the wrong one?

This is the gist of Malcom Gladwell’s book “Blink” (after his best seller “The Tipping Point”).  When confronted with lots of information, humans can and often do make dreadfully wrong decisions.  The part of our unconscious brain that processes information very quickly and undetectable to us, the part that is a necessary hereditary trait that has kept our species in existence, is remarkably accurate.  It is our instinct, or our gut, that sometimes we choose to ignore because we’ve been taught to pause, gather information and deliberate before making a decision.

I don’t think it was Mr. Gladwell’s contention that we only rely on instinct to make decisions and I urge you to read his book to find out when deliberate conscious thought is better, however I believe he makes an important point relative to how good marketing can help or hurt this process of decision making.

In marketing collateral, signage, websites and other forms of communication, it never ceases to amaze me just how much information companies feel they need to include.  We are absolutely inundated with information and choices and yet we’re expected to sort through all of the possibilities and make the correct decision to take action.  More is better, right?  Worse yet, with too many choices, we will sometimes choose not to choose: paralysis by analysis.

As Mr. Gladwell says, “The key to good decision making is not knowledge. It is understanding. We are swimming in the former. We are desperately lacking in the latter.”

Here’s what I recommend:

  • Don’t be afraid to have “white space” in your marketing communications.
  • Strive not to present too many choices or force a lot of information on your potential customer.
  • Keep it simple and more than likely, their “instinct” about you and your product or service will be correct.
  • Help them to understand how your product or service will make their life easier or better.

I’d love to know your thoughts.

You Can Buy My Loyalty, for a Price

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You found it, the exact item you were looking for.  You did the Google search, found the website for the company that sells that item and you go to their website.  You place your order and provide your credit card information and then comes that little harmless question: What is your email address so we may send you a confirmation of the order?  They say they will never sell your address to anyone else so you give it to them.  Then what?

Many of us have experienced buying an item online from a retail store to then be bombarded with every kind of email and direct mail offering that the company can come up with.   This happens to me even if the product I purchased has no relation with the offers that land in my inbox daily.  Annoying, isn’t it?

This is probably not going to gain me any friends, but I whole heartedly support this method of marketing, which is called Loyalty Programs, because if done correctly, they can be very successful.  The problem is, that so few companies go the extra step to insure success.

Loyalty programs go back a long ways,  I can honestly say I remember S&H Green stamps, given out by the local grocery store based on how much was spent.  My Mom would paste them into books that were used to redeem them.

Times have changed and Loyalty programs have gotten a lot more sophisticated through special on-line incentives, free shipping, discounts for referrals, etc.  But, have they necessarily gotten more successful?  Do they provide the return on investment to the marketer?

According to research by InfoPrint Solutions Company, a joint venture between IBM and Ricoh, the answer is a dismal no.  I recommend you read the entire article at The CMO Council website but I’ll try to summarize here.

From the consumers’ viewpoint, the study indicated that a “surprising 79 percent of consumers surveyed say they are very, or pretty, satisfied with their loyalty and rewards program experiences. But 70 percent want to see more discounts and savings, and 52 percent more compelling personal deals and offers as reward for steering their business to loyalty program operators. In a definitive call for personalization, 58 percent say they want more compelling personal benefits and services, as well as more relevant offers or individualized deals.”

What’s interesting is that it appears that the wealth of information that is gathered by marketers about consumer behaviors, wants and desires is either being ignored or not being coalesced to provide more relevant offers.  Why in the world if I order a straw hat from Bass Pro would they assume that I would want to see offers for guns, bows and arrows and camouflage clothing?

Something else that was interesting, it seems the state of the economy has very little influence on loyalty club participation so even as we move down the road toward recovery, these programs will still have an impact on buyer behavior.

With the average household enrolled in 14.1 loyalty programs but only active in 6.2 of them, doesn’t it make sense to be making offers that stimulate action?

If you’re thinking about a loyalty or referral program, make sure you understand how often your customer wants to hear from you, in what form they want to hear from you and what it is that will drive them to buy.

I’d love to know your thoughts.

Pay for Marketing Based on Performance

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I’m sure you remember in school the preoccupation everyone, including your parents had with grades.  Everything you did from homework, to studying for exams, to extra credit projects, or in rare cases the decision to cheat, was based upon making the grade.  Your entire future, you were told, hinged on your ability to achieve high marks.  And even though it may have seemed arbitrary, it was the teacher who determined if you had accomplished what they wanted and that you deserved a high grade.  Didn’t really seem fair?  It was our first real taste of life, now wasn’t it?

Advertising has traditionally been priced based on the model of how many eyeballs are estimated to actually see an ad.  The model of CPM (cost per thousand impressions) is the foundation for determining the value of ad time, placement, geography, location, space and medium.  But as David Koretz says, this form of pricing is doomed, in favor of a performance based model such as a cost per action (CPA) or a cost per conversion (CPC).  Although there are many arguments on either side of this debate, and this is good fodder for another blog, the concept of performance based pricing is not going to go away.

The marketing industry has struggled a long time with the concept of payment for performance.  The idea that the marketing firm should take the risk rather than the client is rather terrifying because it feels like too many things are out of the direct control of the marketing company.  What if the product being marketed isn’t that great and people don’t buy?  What happens when the economy goes into a tail spin and sales fall?  What if the CEO gets into trouble by doing something unethical or illegal?  What if……….  All of these are great questions.

My opinion, and I know it’s not going to be popular with others in my line of work, is that marketing companies and consultants should be paid (and fired) based upon their ability to perform.

This is my take and how I conduct my business.  I am going to make sure that there are clearly defined goals and expectations for all parties involved and that sound methods are in place for measuring progress.  I am going to put into place contingency plans just in case something unexpected happens.  And, I’m going to make damn sure that the product or service being offered by my client is good enough to be successfully marketed.  Lastly, if I am successful, I should be paid handsomely for that success.

Can you think of other products or services that we should pay for based only on performance?