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.

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?”

Trust Me!

There are times when I’ve said this to someone and could actually see the doubt on their face. But why would telling someone they can trust you immediately invoke the opposite response? Because we’ve learned that only those who can’t be trusted have to ask for it. We know that trust is something you have or don’t have without being told, so any attempt to convince us works against our understanding of what trust is.

Trust is based on a number of factors, none the least of which is consistently meeting or exceeding expectations. For my clients, that means that the information I gather about their organization during the course of our relationship is used solely for the intended purpose; to build and execute marketing initiatives that grow their business. If instead, I were to pass that information on to someone else who used it to solicit other types of business from them, I would have broken their trust and would expect never to work with them again.

Case in point, a recent survey by marketing firm Placecast, conducted online by Harris Interactive, and reported on Mashable.com, shows that 81% of consumers are comfortable with grocery stores using past-purchase information tailor the coupon offers you receive, but only 33% were comfortable with Facebook using profile information for targeted ads (Facebook, Google Less Trusted than your grocery store [Study]). Online merchants like Amazon.com – although only a few years older than Facebook according to the story  – has earned the trust of their user base to provide them offers and search results based on past purchases, where Facebook users are still leery about privacy and other uses of their data.

This makes sense. I go to my local grocery store – or to Amazon for that matter – in order to buy something I want or need. I’m thrilled when they give me coupons for items I buy regularly and when they suggest other products I might like based on what I’ve bought in the past. In fact, I expect it. I trust this because it’s what I expect from them. Expect + Deliver = Trust

For me, I spend time on Facebook to connect with family and friends, so I appreciate it when I see an ‘ad’ that recommends people I might want to connect with based on my location and current connections. I trust these because they meet my expectations based on my purpose for being on Facebook, and they validate how Facebook uses my profile information.

On the other hand, I don’t go to Facebook to shop. So I don’t expect (or want) to see ads for diapers just because I have several Facebook friends who are mommies and they ‘Like’ Huggies’ Facebook page. You see the difference. I understand that Facebook’s ad revenue is what keeps them in business. But as the study reveals, they still haven’t earned the trust of a majority of their users when it comes to using their personal information in ways they didn’t expect (or want). Maybe an ‘ad-free option’ would be appealing for Facebook users who base their trust on expectations met.

What’s Next? Trust as a key to small business success means reviewing your marketing materials from the perspective of your audience. Review your marketing and/or advertising materials including email, social media posts and website content. Don’t overlook the simple things like, 1) does the title of your website landing page match the link in your email or Facebook? 2) does all forms function correctly, 3) do all forms provide a ‘successful confirmation’ message, etc. Does the overall experience meet or exceed expectations?

8 remarkable qualities

The 8 qualities of remarkable employeesIn “the 8 qualities of remarkable employees“, @Jeff_Haden from Inc. goes beyond the typical ‘good to great’ employee traits, to identify ‘remarkable’ qualities that have a major impact on performance. It’s an interesting list. He identifies behaviors like ‘ignoring job descriptions’, ‘speaking when others won’t’ and ‘always fiddling’ as ways remarkable employees make things better, simply just because they can’t help it. These are traits that make people, and one could argue, the companies that encourage these qualities, remarkable.

Yet, leadership at many large companies still tends to discourage this type of remarkable behavior and continues to reward mediocrity and conformity. How many of you have walked away from that environment – either by your choice or someone else’s – because you were stifled by the restrictions of a job description, were shushed when creatively thinking out loud in a meeting at your ‘real job’, in order to start your own business? How many of you still spend what little free time you have tinkering with something simply because you want to build a better mouse trap?

As a small business owner with one or more of these traits, you’re not confined to being merely good or great. So ask yourself, am I cultivating these traits in myself and others? Let yourself be remarkable in the pursuit of your small business success.

Next Steps: Consider these 8 qualities from an entrepreneurial perspective. Discuss them with your staff individually and as a group – encouraging an open and honest discussion – and let the room come up with ways to promote remarkable behaviors towards personal and company success.