This post is the fourth part of a five part series on the elements of marketing operational excellence. This post is designed to help you avoid random acts of marketing.
Some context on the series
In a recent blog post, we discussed the impact of ineffective marketing leadership execution. But if the impact of ineffective marketing leadership execution is so high, why don't more people try to solve the problem? In most cases, the issue is not a lack of effort, but the lack of all of the core elements required for operational excellence.
When these elements are combined, a marketing organization can get much closer to its true potential. A single missing component can throw everything in the entire system off. The marketing leader in an organization needs to operate like the conductor of an orchestra, the NASA mission commander, or even a classroom teacher in charge of wrangling a bunch of adolescents.
These organizations and systems all require the following:
- A strategy-based and goal-driven planning approach
- A complete system view
- A process for measurement, refinement and optimization
- The discipline to connect all activities to outcomes
- A culture of excellence
Does your marketing matter?
If you don’t have a constant focus on understanding the relationship between your activities and meaningful outcomes for your business, you can quickly devolve into what we call “random acts of marketing.” And while it is a fool's errand to connect a financial value to every marketing activity, you must connect every marketing activity to a financial outcome. In other words, you don’t need to try to attribute $2.73 to each data sheet you produce, but you do need to understand that the purpose of the sales tool is to increase the conversion rate of a certain stage in the sales cycle.
To what end?
One effective technique for assessing the value of your activities is to ask the question “To what end?” until you can connect the activity to a line on the Profit and Loss statement (P&L).
For example, let’s take that data sheet you are writing.
We want to create a data sheet.
To what end? To help the sales team convert stage 1 opportunities into stage 2 opportunities.
To what end? To get more opportunities through the funnel and close new revenue.
Now let’s take a look at something harder to measure, like a customer appreciation award.
We want to offer a customer appreciation award.
To what end? To create more loyalty with that customer.
To what end? To get them to renew their contract AND get them to act as a reference.
To what end? To close new revenue, reduce churn, and acquire new customers.
Even if you can’t distill each activity down to a numerical value, it is important to understand the business (financial) motivation for the activity. If you can’t make that connection, maybe you should stop the activity.
Alignment to goals
Another approach is to connect your activities to your overall goals. If you have done a complete job of defining your marketing objectives, you should be able to associate the vast majority of your underlying activities with one of those objectives.
If you find a common set of activities that cannot be associated with any of your goals, you might consider adding another goal since its importance is implied by your activities. If you can’t define - or justify - that additional goal, it’s time to stop the random acts of marketing.