How do I demonstrate 2016 marketing ROI

Work with a business marketing consultant

You’ve worked hard to build the business success you enjoy today and you’ve budgeted for marketing as a way to grow your business in 2015 and beyond. Great job. But you really want/need to demonstrate 2016 marketing ROI and align the cost of your marketing efforts to the revenue they generate. Before we go there, let’s take a step back to review the work you’ve already done to achieve your 2016 goals:

Now, here’s some advice on how to demonstrate 2016 marketing ROI.

Marketing ROIWhen calculating ROI, it’s important to remember that the results from any business initiative can vary. You may consider the cost of your marketing efforts a loss if they don’t produce any attributable results. Or, your return on investment may be in the millions of dollars in the value of leads from a lead generation website.

Marketing initiatives are an investment. And like any smart investment, they need to be measured and monitored to ensure you’re spending your money wisely. A comprehensive marketing strategy will have a life span of about 5 years, with flexibility that allows for rapidly changing business trends. When measuring, be sure to spread your costs and revenue over your strategy’s expected lifespan.

Every company will have specific metrics for measuring their marketing performance, and this can vary from one industry to the next. But we can apply a basic general formula to measure almost any marketing initiative’s profitability: total costs vs total revenue over the lifespan of the deliverables (brand identity, content strategy, website, social presence, email campaigns, etc.).

What are your total costs?

These are estimated costs that a small business or organization can expect to incur during a comprehensive and integrated marketing engagement with a business marketing consultant:

  1. Objective initial marketing assessment of current efforts – $2-5,000
  2. Integrated brand, content, website, communications, marketing strategy – $3-6,000
  3. Lead generation website, social media presence, email campaigns along with execution plans and documentation – $40-60,000
  4. Content calendar and development by copywriter – $2-5,000

Total one-time costs – $47-76,000

In addition, there will be general maintenance costs that can be a relatively low, particularly if you keep basic website updates in house. Still, if your staff is already stretched too thin and they’re not ready to become content marketing experts, retaining your marketing consultant to provide these services can increase opportunity costs and maintain the value of your initial investment by ensuring high-quality content, image and SEO updates.

  1. A medium size hosting package – $600/yr
  2. 2 domain name – $15/yr
  3. Copywriter to produce 1 blog post/mo @ $100/post – $1,200/yr
  4. 2 hours/mo @ $150/hr for web updates and maintenance  – $3,600/yr

Total annual maintenance costs – $5415 (x 5 years) = $27,075

Total costs over 5-year lifespan = $74, 075 – 103,075

What is your revenue? There are two types of revenue to consider:

  1. Potential Revenue, which measures how many opportunities/visitors your website, social media and email campaigns generate that correlate with your marketing efforts. This won’t factor into ROI directly, but it will help determine how much opportunity you could be missing out on.
  2. Actual Revenue, which measures the leads your efforts generate that convert into business. This number may be easier to determine with a B2C than for a B2B company or other organization. Still, B2B companies can often determine the source of leads and business by simply asking the question.

You’ll need to determine these revenue numbers for your organization and do the math to determine your own ROI.

Now, you know it’s not going to be as easy as hiring a business marketing consultant, then sitting back to watch the money roll in. There is a lot of work to do. But you’re committed to engaging on the project to expand awareness of your brand in the marketplace in 2016. That means:

  1. ongoing content creation and distribution to get results in search engines; we know that search engine marketing is generally slow
  2. boosting website traffic with targeted email and social network engagement
  3. following up on online engagement with offline contact to continue the conversation and build relationships

A few final thoughts on 2016 marketing ROI

First, an integrated marketing initiative is not a place to save money. The difference between a $20k and a $30k price tag might seem high, but a thorough strategy and plan will produce dramatically better results than hiring your family friend to create a simple WordPress website, which can translate into hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue over time.

Second, companies often slash their marketing budgets during tough times – a dangerous move since marketing is an investment to produce revenue. By focusing on accurate ROI measurements relevant to your business, you recognize that marketing is NOT a fluffy expense that can be cut when times get tough. To get it right, re-commit to your business success by hiring a business marketing consultant who is as passionate about your business as you are.

The zen of hiring a business marketing consultant

10 questions to ask a business marketing consultant

You’re laser-focused on serving your clients and your staff is overloaded with the day-to-day of running your business. You’ve worked hard to build the business success you enjoy today and you understand the cost of the business you’re not getting because you have yet to commit to a go-to-market plan of action. You’re ready to put your non-action-plan in the past.

You’ve considered the 5 REAL Benefits of Working with a Business Marketing Consultant, and studied the 3 Questions Answered: WHY Should I Hire a Business Marketing Consultant from your own business perspective. You’re confident and you’re ready.

What’s my first step? When you’re ready to hire a Business Marketing Consultant, re-commit to the success of your business by recognizing the importance of being thoughtfully engaged on the project. Yes, your consultant is the expert at marketing, but no one knows your business like you do. Spending time on strategy and planning – and providing thoughtful feedback when asked – prevents eleventh hour questions, doubts, anxiety and changes that ultimately cost you more. I hate to break it to you. Consultants aren’t miracle workers or mind readers. Your commitment to active engagement on the project is critical to its success.

10 questions to ask a potential business marketing consultantWho is the BEST Business Marketing Consultant for my business? A truly effective Business Marketing Consultant has a diverse background in business, strategy and implementation of many types of marketing initiatives. Experience in your specific industry isn’t as critical as the diversity of their experiences. It allows them to assess your current state from an objective perspective, and to help you define your need before building a strategic course of action to meet your goals.

Ask for recommendations from your peers and friends; search online, LinkedIn and other social networks; talk to references and meet a few face-to-face if you can. If you find one who is as passionate about their business as you are about yours, you’re on the right track. Use this list of 10 questions to ask a potential business marketing consultant to guide your conversation.

Who IS NOT the BEST Business Marketing Consultant? Just because someone can build a website in WordPress doesn’t mean they have the requisite business acumen to craft and integrate a reputable brand message into a dynamic website, along with an engaging social media presence, and targeted communications plan, all singularly focused on driving your business success. Go ahead and bring a web developer friend of the family on board. Bringing the next generation of professionals to the table adds depth of skill and diversity of perspective. Just make sure your friend is professional and understands their role.

That’s it. You’re business is on it’s way to becoming an even bigger success. Not sooner or later, right now; with greater certainty, control and sustainability. Way to go! But you’re still going to want proof that your marketing efforts are worth it, aren’t you? We’ll talk about that next in the fourth and final part in this series, “How do I demonstrate 2016 marketing ROI?

WHY should I hire a business marketing consultant?

3 questions answered

You know you should be doing more to expand your visibility in the marketplace, but you’re laser-focused on serving your clients and your staff is overloaded with the day-to-day of running your business. We’ve explored 5 REAL Benefits of Working with a Business Marketing Consultant, and you’ve come to realize that there is a cost associated with not investing wisely in an objective marketing assessment, strategy, and plan of action that will keep your business front of mind with your target audience.

But you have some questions. So do many people in your position. Here answers to three of the questions I hear most often:

3 Questions Answered: Why should I hire a business marketing consultant

  1. Why do I need a Business Marketing Consultant? You probably don’t. You’re successful already. Sooner or later, you will be an even bigger success. Maybe later. With a Business Marketing Consultant you can get there sooner, with greater certainty, control and sustainability.
  2. Can’t I just do some marketing on my own? Of course. You know your business like no one else. You know your clients, your target audience. You know their fears; their pain points and you know how to help them. You can have someone on staff create a LinkedIn Company page, send a few emails, update your website, maybe Tweet now and again. But what is your unified message? Are your efforts sufficient to reach your audience where they are in a meaningful way? Do you know the cost of making marketing mistakes?
  3. What will I get for my time and money? You’ll have a trusted advisor to guide you through the initial assessment, strategy, planning and beyond. You will have an objective third-party tell you where you might be making mistakes that could be costly to your reputation, yet relatively easy to fix. You’ll understand where your marketing energies are best spent and why. And, you’ll receive clear guidelines to keep you and your staff operating as brand ambassadors indefinitely. Without this critical piece, momentum can wane almost immediately, minimizing the value of the entire project.

You still have questions don’t you? That’s great. Being actively engaged in the conversation before a project even begins is important. Before you decide to hire a Business Marketing Consultant, make sure you are committed to spending the requisite time to thoughtfully engage on the project. Yes, your consultant is the expert at marketing, but no one knows your business like you do.

If your next question is, “What’s my first step,” here’s a preview of what you’ll learn next time in

The Zen of Hiring a Business Marketing Consultant.

What’s my first step? Not spending time on strategy and planning – or providing thoughtful feedback when asked – often results in eleventh hour questions, doubts, anxiety and changes that ultimately cost you more. I hate to break it to you. Consultants aren’t miracle workers or mind readers. Your commitment to active engagement on the project is critical to its success.

5 real benefits of working with a marketing consultant

How to effectively market your business in 2016

market my business in 2015Does your 2016 budget include at least one line item for marketing? Great. You’re not alone. According to a 2014 Gartner survey, “Marketing expense budget is 10.2% of revenue in 2014 — half of the companies plan an increase in 2015.”

So congratulations on recognizing the need. But what’s next? If you’re not sure where to begin and don’t have time to figure it out on your own, your first step should be to bring in a business marketing consultant who can point you in the right direction. Doing so at the outset will help you get the most out of your marketing dollars, saving you time, resources and money.

This 4-part series features actionable advice on how to effectively market your business in 2016 with the support of a business marketing consultant. Let’s begin by identifying:

5 REAL Benefits of Working with a Marketing Consultant

You’ve worked hard to build your business, to cultivate a reputation and build a client base that trusts you. You know you should be doing more to expand your visibility in the marketplace, but you’re laser-focused on serving your clients, and your staff is already overloaded with day-to-day tasks. Even if you do have the budget, you’re not sure where to begin marketing your business.

Let’s start with some very REAL benefits of working with an experienced business marketing consultant.

  1. Beginning with an objective third-party assessment of where you are NOW helps to quickly clarify where you want to go and how to get there.
    market my business in 2015
  2. An informed business marketing strategy provides a compass for everything else you do, determining which mediums will be most effective connecting with your audience.
    NOTE: Content Marketing Institute’s 2014 B2B research revealed one key theme, “If you want to be more effective at content marketing, document your strategy.”
  3. Just as the strategy is your compass, the marketing plan is a road map; for tackling your strategy in a logical order, with one step building the foundation for the next with maximum impact and value.
    NOTE: The preliminary assessment, strategy and planning keep overall cost down by focusing your marketing efforts on the tactics and channels that will have the most impact.
  4. Through documentation and training, you and your staff will operate as brand ambassadors long after a consulting engagement has ended.
  5. A well-rounded marketing consultant can provide ongoing advice and support for your unique strategy and plan, filling gaps in your internal team as needed, ensuring maximum impact and value.

Let’s get REAL: How much does a Business Marketing Consultant cost?

The most expensive course you can take is to continue down a path that isn’t maximizing your returns for the time, talent, and resources you are expending. I’m not being glib when I tell people your Business Marketing Consultant is not a cost; she’s an investment. What you pay for an investment isn’t as relative as what you get in return. Ask yourself what it is costing you now for the business you are not getting?

Next time, we’ll have answers to the question,

WHY Should I Hire a Business Marketing Consultant?”

wild + crazy dreams of success

Julie Umnus local marketing advisorWhat was your last wild + crazy dream of professional success? Some people dream of simply being wealthy with no backstory on how they attained their success. For others, dreams of success can be frightening. They might consider their dreams unattainable or beyond their social status. In many cases, the end result is the same: no action, and no movement towards realizing that dream.

Yet these dreams might actually help us set our direction and our priorities. They can give us something exciting to strive for: dreams can motivate. The flip side is that if we don’t dream, we can become indecisive, strive for nothing, and become disengaged.

Today I achieved one of my dreams by launching my own website. In my dreams, the website brings me new clients, new partners, and opens the door to realizing many more dreams of success.

What’s Next? Consider your own dreams of success. Is there one thing that you are more passionate about than anything else? Really think about what’s stopping you from achieving it? Answer these questions, and you’ll know what you need to put on your to-do list.

eye + ear catching messages

This past Sunday was the Super Bowl – of advertising. The ads are considered the cream of the crop in the advertising world. So what, if anything, can we learn from those ads and those advertisers?

In general, effective messaging shares a number of key attributes:

  • the message fits the intended audience (I’m guessing a lot of dog owners watch football)
  • it stands out from the other messages in the space (Bueller? Bueller?)
  • the message is clear (what were those dogs barking about?)
  • the message is memorable (Clint Eastwood’s Chrysler halftime ad – YAY America)
  • the message helps define the brand (Drew Brees + son for Chase Quickpay, better than the showing friends splitting the dinner check)
  • the message is free of silly mistakes (I honestly didn’t notice any, let’s hope not)

This is common sense, right? Still, how many times does our ‘message’ in proposals, resumes, emails, even live conversations, does our message truly measure up? We’ve become lazy, relying on boilerplate, corporate-speak that is irrelevant at best.

What’s Next? It’s not just in business communications where we can improve our message, but all of our communications: from simple emails (watch out for ‘your’ versus ‘you’re”), to resumes (is yours up to date, does it have a human voice), to complex proposals (did you spell the client’s name right, did you come right out and tell them why you’re the best). Starting today, make sure that whatever you say or write catches the eye + ear of the audience. Before you deliver it, run it through the checklist above.