Many marketing functions are underfunded and it's not because they can't make an impact on the business. It's because marketing, as a culture, has taken so long to bring self-awareness to its function.
Spotting a marketer who admits that a campaign they invested time, effort and money into didn’t work is like spotting a unicorn. It doesn’t happen that often, if at all.
Counterintuitively, Marketing’s best means for gaining credibility is sharing the failures of initiatives that didn’t work and then sharing a plan for how that spend will now be better reallocated.
The way to overcome this budget barrier is data. Having the right data helps us shift the conversation to the value marketing is driving. That makes getting more budget easier because we can say how effective marketing is and what ROI can be expected with increased spend.
The data also brings self-awareness to the marketing organization so that it can tell the rest of the organization when something...
Buyers would prefer to talk to sales as late in their journey as possible. So what's happening in the time up until they fill out that demo form?
In fact, 79% of buyers are consuming 3+ pieces of content before ever talking to a salesperson.
This is why marketing needs to be focused on creating as much *helpful* content as possible, not just self-serving product marketing content.
The more content you create to help your buyer on their journey, the more likely you are to get them to a point where they know, like and trust you before they ever talk to a salesperson.
When you realize marketing needs to be revenue-accountable, you realize marketing needs to be involved at every stage of the sales process not just till the hand-off.
Hand-offs are where Go-To-Market strategies break down and why marketing organizations can hide behind MQLs or Leads as their core accountability when they are really accountable to revenue.
Did scanning 500 badges at that conference really matter? Ask a marketer in a hand-off environment and their answer is very different than a marketer who is revenue accountable.
We want revenue accountability for marketing. That's the only way we can scale marketing's impact.
Oh, by the way, buyers want marketing more involved too. They want more content at every stage of their journey and less interactions with sales people.
Listen to your buyers.
To learn more about how to hire marketing leaders that suit the new parallel organization structure, read our full article: How to Hire Marketing Leaders for PE-Backed Companies...
When polling CMOs on their most important accountability metric, Gartner found that 12% listed Brand Awareness, while only 7% listed ROI and 1% listed LTV.
It's not that Brand is not important. It's that the lack of focus on ROI by marketers is heavily impacting how much budget they receive and how much impact they make on an organization.
This is why data needs to be at the heart of how marketing measures itself.
The more your company is focused on Product-Led Growth, the more your company likely depends on Marketing to drive revenue. This is why in companies that are Product-Led, you see the emergence of growth teams and user onboarding teams where marketing is heavily involved.
Conversely, in a Sales-Led Growth organization, Marketing is just a supporting cast member and responsible for things like Sales Enablement, Events, Comms, Product Marketing etc.
I've seen too many marketers try to convert a sales-led organization into a product-led one to get marketing a bigger seat at the table. The only times that happens is when the CEO buys into it.
If you're a marketer, you want to work in the former organization, not the latter. That's where you'll get the most funding and support for your programs and ideas because you'll be a core pillar of the business.
You'll also end up being a bigger reason why the company grows.
A common question asked by companies relating to content is: How much content is enough?
In the long-tail of every industry, there is so much content to produce for specific scenarios and niches that there is infinite amounts of content to create.
Not only that but with social and paid social, you can produce dedicated content streams for micro, hyper-targeted audiences within your market so each group within your Total Addressable Market is receiving customized streams.
There isn't a cap on how much you should produce to drive value. There's a cap on how much your company is willing to bet on content.
The best sales decks and pitches are not about selling features or even benefits.
They're about showing the prospect the old game that they are playing + the pain, negative consequences and missed opportunities that result from that.
Then, shifting to a conversation about:
1) How the game has changed
2) Who the winners and losers of the new game will be
3) How they can win the new game
4) How you help your customers win the new game
Straight out of Andy Raskin's framework.
Building a narrative framework like this requires deeply understanding your customer's world so that you can tell the right story.
Without connecting the data in your marketing platform and CRM, it's impossible to know where to invest marketing dollars with confidence going forward.
You need to know the impact of your marketing spend, by campaign and channel, all the way through Closed Won.
When you do that, some of the data will surprise you. For example, you may find out that 20 of the 50 trade shows you go to every year don't generate any revenue at all. Or you may find that half of your $1.5M paid media budget is going to campaigns with a CAC payback period of 2.5 years.
The only way to get insights like this is if you connect the data.
Too many companies fail because they overextend themselves beyond their core business. This is why so many companies raise money, expand (e.g. hiring spree) and then contract (e.g. layoffs).
Here's how to expand instead:
1) Define your core business, competitive advantage and differentiators.
2) Strengthen your core business and maximize returns here
3) Expand to one adjacency away (new products, new business, new supply chain steps, new geographies etc.). Ensure the adjacency you bet on leverages your core business strengths and advantages
4) Reset and redefine your new business in light of the adjacency.
Avoid jumping 2 steps away with the delusion of trying to conquer the world. If you're jumping 2 steps away, you're likely entering an adjacency that is 1-step away or the core business for someone else, which is a recipe for disaster.
From the book: Profit from the Core by Chris Zook (a must-read for all business leaders)
One of the biggest mistakes companies make is to start writing random blog posts before the core pillars of the marketing engine have been put into place.
When you have a limited marketing budget, starting with people who are ready to buy today is the best way to generate quick wins.
Then, work backwards through to people who are trying to solve a problem and need nurturing by providing them with the right resources needed to help them make their decision.
Only then should you finally arrive at people who have never heard of you and are not in a buying window.
This process takes time and patience. Over time, however, you end up building an engine that compounds upon itself and lets you go after cold audiences in a much more convincing way.