11 Questions to think about before spending a marketing dollar next year
Sales & Marketing for Professional Services & Strategic Issues

11 Questions to think about before spending a marketing dollar next year

December 1, 2014

by Tony Vidler

Around this time of year many practitioners are thinking about what marketing they will be doing next year, and all too often the thinking focusses on what tactics to pursue.  This approach often results in disappointment as the results fall short of expectations.

The problem is the expectations were not thought about strategically, and the expectations were optimistically vague at best.  Tactics are action-oriented….they are activities that you do in order to achieve a strategic objective.

Beginning marketing planning by focussing on tactics is like buying luggage and then deciding on what sort of trip you are going on.  If I bought a really cool mountaineers backpack which converts into an igloo on demand, because it seemed a good idea at the time and it was a bargain, it isn’t necessarily going to be the best luggage I could have bought for a luxury cruise around the pacific islands is it?

Similarly, buying a radio advertising package or spending enormous effort on building a Facebook page, might not be optimal marketing investments.  In themselves they can produce wonderful results for some businesses and target markets….just maybe not yours.

Thinking strategically about your marketing objectives helps identify the tactics which are most likely to produce the results you want or need.  The big questions that will help clarify the strategic objectives are:

  1. What is the purpose ? (e.g. generate transactions quickly, establish branding/familiarity, create influencers, etc?)
  2. Who are we aiming for?
  3. Where will we find them? (what do they read, listen to, watch?)
  4. What matters to them?
  5. What are we promising them? (what is our value proposition, or “What’s In It For Them”)
  6. What facilities or resources do we need to be able to deliver to them?
  7. What do those resources (our staff time/downtime, etc) cost us?
  8. Do we know what each sale, or new customer, or referral (whatever the objective is) is worth to us in revenue?
  9. How many transactions (or customers, or referrals) do we need to break even?
  10. Have we established what ROI we want, and do we know how many transactions (or customers or referrals) we need to achieve it?
  11. How are we going to measure whether we achieved our objectives?

Think first about what you are trying to achieve from your marketing efforts in the larger sense – your purpose; your promise; your capacity issues; understanding what is profitable; and; knowing how you will measure success.

From there it is pretty easy to analyse the merits of the various tactics which are available to you.  It becomes easy to work out whether that radio advertising, or Facebook page, or whatever, are likely to generate the types of results you want from your marketing budget and efforts.

Think first.  Then act decisively by applying the right resources to the right ideas.

© 2014 Tony Vidler.  All rights reserved.
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