Is Your Middle Market Marketing Philosophy “More Of” or “Better Than”?

by Debra Andrews | August 7, 2020

Math is part of modern-day marketing. How that math is applied makes a measurable difference in the ability of a marketing function to drive positive outcomes such as accelerated lead generation, greater customer lifetime value, and increased top line revenue growth.

As a marketing strategist and Fractional CMO who evaluates a wide range of middle market programs, I see math being applied to marketing all the time. In most cases, however, it’s simple arithmetic rather than measurement and analysis. The former will lead to very busy – but not necessarily very productive – marketers, while the latter results in a high ROI.

“More Of” Philosophy

Some C-level executives believe that marketing is a numbers game in which a high volume of marketing activities will eventually generate a result. More emails. More social media posts. More blogs. More paid advertising. Go, go, go!

To these executives, pausing to look at the effectiveness of marketing efforts only gets in the way of producing more of something. Their “more of” philosophy can lead to any number of outcomes, none of them favorable. Here are some I’ve observed firsthand:

  • Low to negative return on marketing investment. Many times, leaders fail to calculate the salaries of internal marketing professionals into the ROI equation – a potentially significant mistake. While social media posts and email blasts are “free,” there’s a pool of talent spending time and effort to develop them.
  • Unsubscribes run high. When there’s a high volume of marketing “stuff” being churned out, it’s not always targeted and relevant. This leads to a relatively high unsubscribe rate and even reports of spam. What if a quarter of your customer base unsubscribed because they got sick of receiving more, more, more? That would be fairly devastating to levels of engagement and retention.
  • Lower quality leads, if any. While this doesn’t always hold true, I do tend to see high volume marketing produce lower quality leads, if any at all. Why? As companies pump out “more of,” outreach tends to be generalized and not particularly relevant. There’s too much good information now readily available to savvy buyers for them to pay attention to communications not tailored directly to their needs.
  • Marketing professionals burnt to a crisp. Most marketers I know want to make a difference. When instructed to churn out unprioritized, non-strategic “stuff” they don’t believe will work, frustrated and unfulfilled marketers may take off for greener pastures. These disruptions are tough for the marketers and also for the companies that have invested in their knowledge. 

“Better Than” Philosophy

With the “better than” marketing mindset, volume is pumped down. Marketing may even feel a bit sleepy at times which can present a challenge to action-oriented, hard charging executives. From my experience, a little patience goes a very long way towards goal achievement.

Here are the steps towards and benefits of a “better than” or optimized marketing program:

Steps to an optimized marketing program

  1. Develop a marketing plan. It doesn’t necessarily have to be strategic, but it would be better if it is. Set goals for how plan elements will work together to drive leads and increase customer engagement, customer retention, and the lifetime value of customers.
  2. Establish baseline measures for every form of outreach (what has happened in the past or industry averages) and goals.
  3. A/B test anything you can. Document insights from those tests in order to optimize the next round of outreach.
  4. Carefully review program KPIs (more granular) monthly and goal achievement (higher level) at least quarterly.
  5. On a monthly basis, review marketing program effects on website traffic and conversions. How are KPIs different by channel, and what overall conclusions can be tested or drawn?

Benefits of an optimized marketing program

  • Better leads and more customer engagement
  • A higher marketing ROI, period!
  • Greater satisfaction among the marketing team
  • Organizational respect for the marketing function
  • Improved marketing results year over year

To Be or Not to Be “Better Than”

Definitely to be! If you’re a marketer working for a company with a “more of” philosophy, show management this post. And if you’re interested in “better than” marketing but aren’t sure exactly how to organize and implement this kind of program, contact Marketri for help. Building high performing, “better than” marketing functions within middle market companies is our specialty.

Marketing is ripe for the use of more sophisticated math. We can show you how!