With so many possibilities for creativity to take shape, from social media to webinars to graphic design, marketing can be a fun way to show off your company’s human side. But at the end of the day, marketing’s primary goal is to be effective in driving leads and sales.
While your marketing department may make your company look good, the message is lost without a strategy to guide your efforts. And even if you’ve developed a strategy in the past, it may not be the right fit for what your business needs right now.
Here are 8 signs it might be time to reassess your marketing strategy and move in a new direction:
1) You’re attracting the wrong kinds of leads.
If you find that the majority of your leads aren’t converting into customers, then something is off. It could be that you’re targeting the wrong audience, or that your messaging just isn’t resonating. You’ve probably noticed the signs:
- Prospects who do reach out and contact you don’t have the budget for your product or services.
- The majority of form fills on your website are from companies hoping to sell YOU something.
- Your team is spending a ton of time on sales calls without converting leads.
In any case, you’ll need to step back and assess where leads are being misled (no pun intended) and how your future marketing assets and tactics will reach higher quality leads.
2) You’re not seeing any ROI.
Not meeting the KPIs you’ve set for your marketing department? While this is a clear sign you need to move in a new direction, many companies chalk it up to the cost of running a business: “marketing means overhead.” But this simply should not be the case (at least not for very long).
If your marketing isn’t producing the ROI you expected, especially after a year or more of strategic effort, it’s time to reassess the direction you’re moving in. Possible issues include:
- You’re not allocating enough of your budget to marketing
- Your campaigns aren’t properly targeted
- You’re not measuring the right metrics
- You’re not giving your campaigns enough time to work
3) You’re not measuring your marketing efforts in the first place.
Setting KPIs for your marketing efforts is an essential part of any effective strategy. In order to understand whether or not your campaigns are working, you need to establish metrics and track progress over time. And this requires more than a gut feeling or a guess as to which metrics matter most and where you’d like them to be.
Instead, you should decide what your KPIs will be based on company and departmental goals and then track your progress to these metrics, making changes over time to hit these goals while staying on track with your overall strategy. For example, if you’re trying to increase brand awareness, you’ll want to track metrics like web traffic, social media engagement, and lead generation.
LEARN MORE: KPI and Marketing Measurement
4) The narrative/voice of your marketing is disjointed.
Your marketing should have a consistent voice and message that speaks to your target audience. If this is not the case, it will be difficult for prospects and customers to understand what your brand is all about, and they will be less likely to engage with your content.
You may read your company’s content and decide it’s too professional or not professional enough, too technical or too lighthearted. But without research and guidelines to back it up, you’re just grasping at straws. Your company should have:
- A cohesive narrative that is easy for anyone (within your target persona) to follow, no matter the level of background they have with your company.
- A clear and concise explanation of what your company offers and, more importantly, the benefits it offers to your audience.
- A brand voice that is relatable and engaging, without being too “sales-y.”
If your company’s content is not living up to these standards, it may be time for a change. Research your target audience, your competitors, and big players in similar fields to get a sense of how to approach your story and your brand’s voice and tone.
5) Your website traffic is stagnant
You’ve put a lot of time and energy into tactics like content creation and posting on social media. But if these efforts aren’t driving website traffic, they’re not doing their job.
Your website is your top salesperson, and it’s essential to have clear call-to-actions that bring people to that “salesperson” (so they can do further research and decide for themselves whether or not your product/service is a good fit).
Ultimately, your marketing efforts should always point back to a web page or landing page that leads them through the marketing funnel, from awareness to interest to decision. If that’s not happening, it may be time for a change of strategy. Rather than focusing on tactics you think will attract attention, refocus on strategies that will get people clicking from one page to the next to your contact form.
6) You don’t have a clearly documented plan
It’s easy to get carried away with marketing ideas. It’s a creative field, and there are always new tactics to try out. But without a clear strategy tying everything together, all those ideas are just scattered thoughts that make it difficult to keep a consistent schedule, confuse your audience, and—frankly—confuse your marketing team.
A marketing plan is the document that will guide your individual marketing campaigns. It’s important to stay largely on track with your strategy, only deviating when you have a good reason to do so. That way, your audience can expect a consistent, cohesive experience whenever they interact with your brand. This will also keep your campaigns cost-effective and make it easier to show their ROI (or tweak when they don’t produce ROI in the expected time frame).
7) Your plan doesn’t match the goals you have for your marketing
Your marketing strategy is the big-picture view of what you want to achieve and how you’re going to get there. Essentially, it is the roadmap to your company’s revenue goals. But you cannot reach those goals if the tactics you choose are not in alignment.
For example, if your goal is to increase brand awareness, you’ll want to focus on tactics like social media and PR that will get your name out there. But if your goal is to generate leads, you’ll want to focus on things like paid advertising and email marketing that will drive traffic to your website.
8) There’s disharmony with the marketing department
Another reason to rethink your approach to marketing is if there is disharmony within the marketing department. A clear sign this is happening is when everyone is working towards their own objectives, causing the overall company goals to suffer.
Some likely causes of tension within the department include:
- Unclear roles and goals
- Budget issues
- A lack of leadership
If your marketing team (or person, or freelancer) is being led by an operations manager or a non-executive-level marketer, there’s undoubtedly going to be some tension.
You may need someone to audit your marketing department to make sure roles are aligned with your company’s needs, or you may need to bring in outside leadership if your budget doesn’t allow for an internal team. Besides, outside help allows you to flex hours as needed for growth and gives you a solid foundation to work from.
That’s where a fractional CMO comes in. Fractional CMOs are chief marketing officers who are hired on a part-time or project basis to provide strategic leadership and can be an invaluable asset when it’s time to move in a new direction with your marketing. Not only will they bring fresh ideas, but they can also provide an objective perspective and help you measure ROI so you can be sure your new direction is effective.
If any of the above signs sound familiar, it may be time to consider bringing in a fractional CMO to help get your marketing back on track.