3 Ways to Hold Your Marketing Team Accountable.
Over the years, I’ve become quite frustrated by the efforts of marketers across the board. From agencies building cookie cutter campaign initiatives to amateurs over promising on things they’ve never really delivered.. Marketing has really lost it’s creative direction. What I’ve truly realized is, not everyone is cut out for the gig – and that’s not a mean thing to say. Marketing is a business decision, I’m not here to make friends. I’m here to help companies thrive if they’re willing.
Remember first cuts during basketball tryouts in middle school? How about auditions for the lead role in high school musical? All you have to do is watch a few episodes of American Idol to understand not everyone was meant to be a singer. If you take a look at a good percentage of marketing efforts, you’ll easily see the same. But you have to know what to look for. Otherwise it’ll continue to be too easy for these sleazes to keep robbing you.
I mean no disrespect. I’m actually saying this out of respect – for those ruining their own reputation and the reputations of their clients. Attempting to do something they truly don’t understand (or have a passion for) is wrong. Listen, marketing is tough. It’s a cut throat balancing act of customer desire and brand understanding. No business should be marketing the same. Every business has unique value propositions, origins and culture. You can’t just put “efforts” into a conveyor belt. You have to really dig into the business and it’s customers in order to truly develop a successful strategy or single campaign. Doing things off a whim is ignorant.
With that being said, I’ve set out to help business owners identify their direction. But not necessarily the creativity behind their marketing – rather the direction their company is headed. Duplicated efforts and unoriginal content is wasteful. It’s an “awareness” technique that typically doesn’t close. Sure, people might stumble across your stock photo’d social media post when they need you, but why pay someone for that?
What type of marketing is worth paying for?
Marketing is all about reaching people with the right measures and the proper message. There’s no such thing as the absolute “right” message. It’s about creating clarity and value behind what you’re saying. It’s the reason I started PreFocus nearly 3 years ago. While its taken me quite some time to get people to listen, they’re starting to understand MY message. But it wasn’t because I pivoted or revised it to conform – it’s because I remained consistent.
What do real marketing results look like?
I set out to prove the worth of a PreFocus by helping a global company decrease their advertising acquisition costs from $445 to $105. This same company has seen their organic traffic increase from 140 in August 2018 to 7,000 this month. They now have a $65K monthly budget that uses the PreFocus model. Competing with and overcoming their competition was exciting for them. Our weekly marketing calls are a lot more enjoyable now that results are in the picture.
A physical therapist I work with has already hired 3 people in his first year. He’s currently planning his summer vacations while spending more time with his daughters. We turned around a medical practice that was thinking about selling the business 4 months ago. They’re now cleaning house and investing in a first impression and brand culture. They now understand how impactful shaking up the normality of the industry can be. Their PreFocus has allowed them to triple their advertising budget.
I’m not telling you these stories out of arrogance. I want you to experience marketing this way too. But what would you say if I told you that you didn’t have to hire us to see improvement? Look, I get it. Many business owners want to give people a chance to pull through. But you have to do what’s best for your business. While it may feel good to provide someone with autonomy, you have to know what they’re doing and understand why they’re doing it.
At the end of the day, you’re the owner. You’re the expert. You should know the industry and your customers best. Getting too cute or investing in affordability just to market something just isn’t sustainable. You have to build authority, it doesn’t just come. With all things considered, here are 3 simple ways to hold your marketing team accountable and ensure your efforts are worthwhile.
1. Understand How to Understand Your Marketing.
While you probably hired someone to manage your marketing so you wouldn’t have to, you still need to understand the basis of their efforts. Trusting their judgement or believing their experience isn’t always the best approach. For whatever reason, marketers have become uber focused on selling their services instead of enhancing their competence. You have to take the time to understand the basics of what they’re going to be doing in order to know if it’s working. If you’re paying $250/month for a social media strategy because someone told you that you have to, then they need to explain the fruit.
Similar to most sales organizations, many “marketers” are always going to be able to excuse a lack of performance. I’ve even witnessed them making things up to keep the business owner under contract. Social media is a platform that only certain business models can excel at. Don’t just have them prove it’s worked, have them prove it’s worked for a similar business. You’re probably going to have to do a little research yourself, but it’s better than 6 months of $250 ($1500). Confidence in what they’re doing is more than a belief in the person. When you understand how social media works, you’ll be able to ask the right questions and make a solid decision.
This can also be implemented for PPC strategies. Nearly every business can benefit from a paid ads campaign. But does your PPC manager really know what they’re doing? Is ad copy compelling? Are they tracking accordingly? Do you know what your ideal CPA (acquisition cost) is? Do you know what PPC means? Do you know what similar businesses are spending and why? The point is, you really need to understand what each type of strategy entails. This allows you to say “yes” with confidence. If you’re being sold on a strategy without proof, then you’re setting yourself up for failure.
2. Make Sure You Know How to Analyze Results
I recently met with a local company looking to transition out of their current marketing team. Not only have they experienced poor results, but they’ve been waiting for the agency to turn things around for quite some time. They’ve experienced the misleading statements, excuses and lack of focus. They’re completely exhausted.
Although the agency was referred to them by a well-known vendor, they are the absolute epitome of a lazy marketer. For years now, they’ve been milking the business without any type of clarity because of a contractual agreement. The company is now willing to pay them thousands of dollars to cancel. Even when performance isn’t satisfactory, the agency still wins. It’s a sad ordeal.
After looking closer at the ordeal, we were able to uncover that the agreement didn’t require the marketing team to update the client. They were literally held to zero standards. This was because the business didn’t have access to anything. They weren’t able to monitor results or review performance. They’ve simply been at the mercy of this marketer for far too long. While I want to be mad at the agency, I have to blame the business.
When signing a contract for marketing services, you have to understand that it just might not work. In my opinion, you almost have to assume it won’t. Not only should you never sign a contract without industry proof, but you should never agree until they’ve proven their worth to you! A month to month agreement should be required until results are delivered. If the agency balks at your request then you’ll know it was a good decision.
Once you’re under way, it’s important that you schedule routine checks ins in order to understand the direction. Before any campaign is started, you need to determine what success looks like. The marketer should be required to hit a certain number of goals or expectations in order to retain your business. Force them to go through performance reporting with you so that you know what to look for throughout. Again, if you’re unwilling to invest time into your own understanding so you can hold your marketing team accountable, then you’re hurting your business. Monitor your money with clarity and you’ll have a good idea of what you really need to do.
3. Ensure Your Marketer Understands Your Brand
While the aforementioned tips are absolutely crucial, nothing will matter if your marketer isn’t invested in brand understanding. At PreFocus, we develop brand books for our clients. Not only does this prove to the client we understand their business, it creates cohesion across multiple channels while helping them cut costs for other projects. If an agency or marketer isn’t interested in spending additional time to learn about your company then the effectiveness of your strategies will suffer. I cannot harp on this enough.
In order for you to ensure your marketing team is bought in, you have to buy in too. Take a second to notice the theme of this article. Your commitment quality and your effort to help or hold them accountable makes the difference. Banking on the mouthpiece of marketers can be a recipe for disaster. One poor message or statement can alter the trajectory of your business in a heartbeat. Allowing someone to assume or guess with your money (especially when they haven’t proven their worth or commitment) is a recipe for disaster.
In the end, it’s your responsibility to understand the purpose, performance and priorities of your marketing campaigns. If you’re thinking about hiring someone that refuses to bend from their services to cater to your customers – then it’s not a good match. Paying 30% less can cost you 300% growth over a long period of time. Holding your marketing team accountable and making sure campaigns align with the core values of your business is invaluable. You just got to take the time to understand enough to do so.
Be purposeful with everything you do guys.. and always remember to PreFocus.