By changing the fundamental question surrounding marketing from “How much?”, to “How little?”, we can change our entire approach and become more efficient and effective.
Marketing has always been about a simple relationship: spend verses return. For decades, even centuries, marketers have been asking, “How much does it cost to reach how many people?” That’s the problem.
The question shouldn’t be;
“How much does it cost, to reach how many people?”
The question should be;
“How little do we have to spend to reach the right people?”
By asking, “How little” we:
- Force comparison between other possible marketing vehicles instead of evaluating the merits of an isolated effort.
- Spark creativity by creating a challenge with a constraint instead of asking an open-ended question.
- Start with the low-hanging fruit instead of reaching for shiny objects.
The result is a more efficient portfolio of marketing vehicles.
By focusing on “the right” audience we:
- Invest in building long-term loyalty instead of chasing one-time buyers.
- Deliver a powerful, emotive message that breaks through instead of speaking to the lowest common denominator.
- Segment based on psychographics (one’s values and principles) to find “our people” instead of by demographics (statistical data) to find statistically similar people.
The result is a more effective portfolio of marketing vehicles.
Because we have been asking the wrong question, we haven’t been taking advantage of readily available data and technology that makes marketing more efficient and effective. We really can do more with less and do so fairly easily, but execution requires good math.
We see a lot of bad math, lazy math, or no math at all. The math in question is pretty simple, for each dollar you spend, how much in revenue do you get in return. However, we often see that:
- Nobody is looking at this equation, with marketing vehicles that are never measured, analyzed or optimized.
- Drastically different efforts are clumped under a single vehicle like branded and non-branded search terms combined under Search Marketing (Separating these out, we find very different efficiency and effectiveness).
- Not all costs are included, like management fees, creative production, materials, etc.
- A lack of detail: Which campaign is performing, which key word, which city or door; the more detailed the data, the clearer the story.
- Customer performance to understand if a vehicle or campaign attracts the right people that become loyal customers with repeat purchases or only one-time buyers.
Nothing here is complicated or complex. It’s all very simple, even easy. The hard part is deciding to try taking the unglamorous path and being disciplined enough to see it through.