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ROI vs. Effort

Mapping marketing opportunity versus effort / investment tells us where we should really focus.

The key to success is balancing activities that are easy and have low barriers to entry (e.g. paid media) and activities that require more effort and have high barriers to entry (e.g. content).

You need to do both as you scale a business.

High ROI / Low Effort avenues often buy you the internal political capital. That's why doing them first is usually a good place to start because they help you get the internal buy-in to do the High ROI / High Effort activities.

As the business matures, most of the enterprise value is created in doing the High Effort activities that generate High ROI because that's how you close more deals, grow faster and win over a market.


Videos vs. Website Visitors

In a social first world, driving everyone to your website by default is a big mistake.

A video view on YouTube / LinkedIn / Facebook is just as valuable as someone who reads your blog post (maybe even more so). A podcast episode download is just as valuable as someone watching a webinar.

If your top of funnel metrics exclude content reach on social platforms, your understanding of how marketing is driving pipeline for your business is distorted.

The obsession with website funnel metrics leads to loads of missed opportunity because in many cases your audience wants to see your content, just not on your website.

Provide the content within the distribution channel that has your audience's attention. You will generate more demand, which was always the goal of increasing website traffic anyways.


Inelastic Demand

Pricing is one of the biggest growth levers inside any business because it adds a significant amount of expansion revenue and grows total customer value without additional costs to acquire that revenue.

Most businesses can only increase their price so much before demand begins to decline. In terms of economics, demand for most products is elastic.

One of the major benefits of building a brand is that it makes demand more inelastic.

This is where Marketing builds tremendous enterprise value because it enables demand inelasticity.

Stronger brand = higher price for same demand = higher margins

This is why brand-building activities like content can't be just measured by things like page views, emails captured, MQLs or even pipeline.

The full business value is much greater.


Value of Strategy vs. Tactics

Tactics lose value as you progress in your career. Strategy gains value as you progress in your career.

Tactics peak in value at a certain stage and even begin to lose value as you move to higher level conversations.

Meanwhile, strategy continues to gain momentum and accelerates in value as you begin to see the Matrix in what you do.

This is why at some point in your career you have to transition from obsessing over tactics towards obsessing over strategy and the big picture.

It’s not easy to do. But bigger picture work almost always moves the needle by a lot more.


How Top of Mind Unlocked the Value of Marketing Data With Help from How To SaaS

“Our organization hadn't really spent a lot of focus, time, energy, or money on marketing ourselves,” explains Nick Belenky, EVP Sales at Top of Mind Networks. As the leading mortgage CRM, the team knew this was an ironic situation to be in. Top of Mind had been so focused on giving a great product experience and helping customers market their businesses that they weren’t maximizing the marketing opportunities for their own solution.

This isn’t an unusual position for SaaS companies to find themselves in. Often, marketing to existing customers and supporting Product and Customer Success takes priority while the potential for marketing-led growth takes a back seat. 

The Top of Mind team knew they needed to build their web presence and make it easier for new customers to find them. But they didn't want to waste time on haphazard experimentation without knowing what outcomes to expect or which KPIs to track. 

Following a recommendation from...


Raw Marketing Skills

Too many companies pass up on high-potential marketing candidates due to a lack of experience. Over-indexing on experience can lead to a lot of expensive hiring mistakes to be made.

There’s just not enough marketing talent out there to supply the demand / need from companies looking to hire for those roles.

Instead, focusing on raw skillsets and committing to levelling up those individuals so that they can eventually fill the shoes of a bigger role can lead to enormous success.

Raw skills to look for:

  1. Communication: Written, verbal, presentation skills, ability to manage expectations.
  2. Creativity: Thinking outside the box, being able to bring personality.
  3. Data-driven: Inclination to look at metrics and performance as positive feedback loops.
  4. Speed: High rate of quality output and an ability to pick things up about the industry / technical skills

This applies whether you’re a startup looking to attract a talented Director of Marketing or if you’re a...


Value-first Content

Too many companies out there are producing “Look at me” content. You’ve likely seen content like this.

This kind of content often talks about:

  • How wonderful the company is
  • How they recently won an award
  • How their founder struggled and came out a better human being (LinkedIn is full of these stories)
  • How fast the company is growing
  • How revolutionary their technology is
  • How much better their solution is than the competition

This kind of content can feel like brand-building work. But it’s not.

It builds little affinity with customers because of one reason: it’s not about helping them.

Customers build affinity with brands that understand them and use their content to fulfill the mission of helping them.

Companies who understand this create content that instead focuses on:

  • Talking in the second person
  • Resolving real pain points with real solutions
  • Educating customers so they can achieve their objectives

This kind of content inevitably ends up building...


Marketing Led Budgets

Looking at marketing budget splits by activity tells you a lot about marketing organizations.

Sales-led organizations put a heavy focus on traditional marketing activities like Events, Sales Enablement, PR and Comms.

Marketing-led organizations put a heavy focus on Demand Generation and Content. There's still room for the traditional marketing functions, but the focus on revenue is clear.

Shifting from a Sales-led function to a Marketing-led function does not imply adding additional budget. It can simply involve refocusing the same budget and allocating it towards revenue-driving activities.


Payback Period

CAC Payback Periods should guide marketing decisions inside companies a lot more than they currently do.

At the micro level: If Channel X is breaking even in 6 months, while Channel Y is breaking even in 18 months, it's clear where spend should be allocated and scaled.

At the macro level: If Marketing as a function is breaking even in less than 12 months, then spend should be scaled aggressively. Where you scale spend within marketing should then drill down into channels and campaigns.

While some marketing activities can't be measured, looking at Payback Periods can unlock significant growth levers for marketing teams.

That's why in order to be able to make decisions at this level, the right data infrastructure needs to be created in order to measure Payback Periods at both the micro and macro levels.


Content Trust Curve

Lack of content creates a major objection to overcome during the sales cycle: should the customer trust that you will deliver?

The more content you create, the more trust you build. As the trust barrier is lowered, deals become a lot easier to close because you no longer have to convince customers that you can help them.

Instead, they find you because they have a pain point and your content has signalled to them that you likely have the antidote.

Crossing this trust barrier is when organizations shift from being primarily sales-led to marketing-led. There are:

  • More referrals
  • More inbound appointments set
  • Higher conversion rates at every stage of the funnel

When this shift happens, customer satisfaction gets better because the organization has to spend far less time convincing more people to buy.

Those additional resources can be invested into improving end solutions offered to the client and to create even more content at scale.

Over time, more leads come inbound and close at...


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