CEO’s, Business Owners Ask: “What do I get for my marketing budget?”

If you’re a CEO or business owner and you’re wondering what you get (for a return) on your marketing budget (investment) this post is for you.

Where’s the ROI?

What does it take to know what you get for your marketing budget? This is a common and very fair question for anyone cutting the checks for a marketing budget to ask. That’s why CEO’s and business owners are most likely to ask this question.

This topic came up the other day talking with peers who also work as interim or contract Chief Marketing Officers, or CMO’s. We’re basically marketing strategists, planners and ultimately – the people who make sure the right people are in the right seats on the sales and marketing bus. And that the bus actually has a chance of arriving at it’s destination – More Customers Land.

We talked about the planning processes and what happens when business leaders play well with us and the team when we execute our plan of action. Most of the time, CEO’s play well. Once in a while, they play by their own rules forgetting about the plan of action we agreed to take to hit our goals. Normally our goals are all about ROI. That’s one thing that makes us conversion marketing experts.

Or something like that. The point is, what you really want for your marketing budget if you’re the person funding it is a measurable sales and business result; sales, cash flow, customers. Ideally your are growing and highly profitable. Super-happy customers stay with you, they keep coming back.

Welcome to Dream Land

If only getting marketing results were that easy. Same with sales. They go hand in hand. More often than not we hear about the mayhem and nightmares you go through building and executing effective marketing campaigns – the kind that get sales results.

Why is it so difficult for CEO’s and business owners to get the answer the the all-important question, “What do I get for my marketing budget?” In other words, where’s the beef in terms of return on investment?

  1. The first thing that makes tracking ROI possible is the commitment from the entire team to do the hard work. This means setting up or optimizing the reporting systems you have in place. Laziness or lack of commitment is a killer. Maybe you have the right people and systems, or maybe not. Either way, you have to commit to hiring people who have the skill with the systems you choose to run. If you are looking for new website platforms, marketing automation, CRM or customer relationship management, ecommerce, or any other serious software application to raise the bar and track ROI, you need to make a fully-informed decision on how to do this. You also need to provide the training, support and data inputs when engineering your campaigns.
  2. The second thing that keeps people from tracking the ROI on a marketing budget is people who lack the skill. Marketing automation and most of the software small companies can afford to track marketing budgets and campaigns is relatively new. Many people who work in marketing don’t have a solid enough business, data or systems background to know how to make the systems work. It’s not easy. The best systems and the best people must practice, train and learn together. None of the content marketing or marketing automation systems will function well without a knowledgeable user base. This starts with the administrator. Which starts with the owner or CEO empowering people who know!
  3. Some things can’t be tracked. It’s either not possible or worth the headache. Get used to it. For example, campaign attribution is a big deal. How would you know a social media post your people made attracted the interest of someone who decided to find your website or store and buy your product or service? While there are digital tracking codes and applications you can use for this, most of the time the granularity of setting up the attribution or tracking is far beyond the capabilities of the people or systems you use.

The real key to tracking the results of your marketing budgets is to find the right people, the best system for you and trust someone who has set up digital, content and related marketing and sales campaigns to create a plan of action for your people. Then you can work as a team to choose or optimize the systems that serve you and your people the best. Only then do you have a chance at tracking what counts the most for you and your business.

People and Systems

Given the people and systems, focus on what counts the most for you. Are sales going up? How about profit margins, customer retention, satisfaction or referral and review rates? Focus on the numbers that you and your people can nail the best. Forget the rest until your basic marketing budget ROI tracking is in place.

Keep in mind that with marketing automation systems like SharpSpring (CME is a partner), Hubspot, Infusionsoft, Act On, Pardot and others typically provide all the tools you need beyond Google Analytics, Adwords, call tracking and other inputs or native integration you choose for any application.

Does all this sound really confusing and you just wish you could talk with someone to “get it all done” for you?

Perfect. Reach out and connect with us here. We’d love to hear about your goals, biggest challenges and discuss how we can help you get a grip on your marketing budget.

We always appreciate your comments, questions and inquiries on the CME blog.

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