October 7, 2009

How far can YOU ride by pedaling a bike without tires?

It’s all about traction, with no traction between your bike and the path at your feet, you end up going nowhere, no matter how fast you are pedaling. Similarly, to carry out effective marketing activities, you have to tangibly measure your marketing campaign metrics and understand the traction of your activities as they relate to sales results.

Metrics? Yuk, boring stuff you may think … or maybe the answer is not that it’s boring, but that it’s hard to do? Have you heard the old adage “no pain no gain”? It applies as well to marketing efforts as to any other activity you wish to engage in. The truth is if we could measure and link our efforts to financial objectives we would. Period. It may not be pleasant or fun, but without having clearly stated objectives, measurable (and financially quantifiable) activities and a method to pull together all the information to truly understand the effectiveness of your efforts, likely you will be wasting your time and money.

So here is my advice: Don't start another project involving Social Media (or any other form of marketing investment) without asking yourself these simple questions.

1) What is the goal? If the goal does not involve selling more tomorrow (or in the near future), then please stop. Don't spend the money. Save it. Even in this lousy economy, banks still pay folks some minuscule return. Only when you are committed to generating more revenue - and willing to take the heat when you don't - should you move to number 2.

2) What keeps you from hitting the goal doing what you do today? In other words, if what you are doing is soooooo smart and everyone wants to buy it, then why change? What this means is take a serious look at your offer. The more "me too", the louder you will have to "shout" your message. Social Media will not save you from yourself. If you have a bad value proposition, you have a bad business.

3) Does my strategy for addressing #2 include things such as "thought leadership", "generating awareness", "efficient promotion dissemination", "efficient customer issue resolution", "lead generation"? If so, perhaps Social Media can help. But I must warn you. Alone it is not the holy grail.

4) How much is my business willing to spend for a lead? How many leads become revenue? How much revenue? Figure these out and you can begin to figure out what you can afford to spend. EVERY business has to make more money than it spends.

Remember - effective marketing is not a measure of how many different activities your marketing team carries out, or how pretty your spreadsheets and presentations are, but is measured by the minimum number of repeatable steps required, at the lowest cost possible, to bring qualified leads to your sales team…. Metrics Metrics Metrics!

One final comment. Don’t ever mistake an individual’s name and phone number as a qualified lead. Unless you know they are the decision maker, have an approved budget, recognize they need your product or service, and are willing to buy TODAY, then they are just a name and number….and you might as well get back on your bike (don’t forget to buy a set of tires this time)!

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