There are unlimited marketing channels, companies, and strategies you can use to sell your products and services. Deciding where to invest is a difficult decision.
Most businesses make this decision based on their expected ROI (return on investment). It makes sense on the surface – after all, the goal of marketing is to grow revenues – but it’s not a good approach to take. It’s important to consider a few other factors when making marketing decisions.
The Bottom Line Approach to Marketing and Why it Doesn’t Work
The question most people ask when starting or switching their marketing strategies is:
“If I spend $X, what will my ROI be?”
Everyone wants to know that their marketing is effective. As I explained at Mag-Con 2018, marketing is, and will continue to be, about statistics. Spreadsheets and reports from Google Analytics and other data sets helps determine what impact your marketing is having.
The problem is, relying solely on analytics often causes business owners to miss out on the greater goal of marketing: to build your business and brand up for long-term success.
How Do You Determine the Value of Branding?
It’s difficult to put a dollar value on branding.
In some cases, a shift or improvement in branding is perceptible in sales numbers. Consider Apple, for example. Apple’s rebranding in the late 1990’s occurred after a significant drop in sales. Steve Jobs redirected the entire branding strategy to focus around simplicity, innovation, and creativity. That shift was largely responsible for making Apple the giant it is today. But even that took time.
Rebranding on a smaller level also has impact. Often, this impact doesn’t translate into direct sales or instant growth. That’s when business owners get frustrated and impatient. But branding is far more crucial to long-term growth than to instant sales. The difference between sales and marketing is largely a matter of timing. Your sales team is there to build the business today. Your marketing team should be focused on longevity. One of the ways marketing achieves this is through subconscious touchpoints.
Subconscious and Inbound Touchpoints
A touchpoint occurs any time you come into contact with a customer or potential customer. Inbound touchpoints are focused on creating instant conversions. Subconscious touchpoints are those focused on information or entertainment, rather than direct sales.
Subconscious touchpoints are often undervalued. However, they have an amazing role to play in the longevity of your branding. Big brands use these two types of touchpoints in longer cycles than small businesses typically do. Many subconscious touchpoints will be followed by a far rarer inbound touchpoint for such larger brands.
You can learn more about subconscious and inbound touchpoints in our blog post here.
Playing the Long Game
Branding takes time. That’s because branding is as much (if not more so) about consistency than appeal. People need to see your brand again and again until it’s cemented in their minds. It needs to be implanted into their subconscious’ so that the moment they think “I need x”, it’s your product that pops into their minds.
Consistent content is required for your branding to take root. Even if one post or video goes viral and your product or service is plastered everywhere from Times Square to a smart phone in Nunavut, you still haven’t implemented consistency, and therefore, you haven’t implemented branding. You’ve simply produced something appealing and sharable. In order to cement your product into potential customers’ minds, you need to reproduce content continually.
When you create marketing that is consistently appealing, you’ll see major long-term growth.
Building a Strategy Takes Time
Complex marketing strategies like SEO do not happen overnight. For 99% of clients, growing the brand name, improving analytics, and delivering a solid ROI takes well over a year. The problem is, when companies don’t see the ROI they were expecting upfront on a marketing plan, the best option always seems like taking business elsewhere.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t leave a marketing company you’ve been with for less than a year. If you aren’t getting what you paid for, you deserve better. However, it can be valuable to look at those first six months to one year in terms of deliverables, rather than direct ROIs. If you’re getting high quality deliverables, the growth and returns will follow naturally. Flipping from strategy to strategy doesn’t typically work, because it lacks the consistency we talked about above.
The same goes for the marketing channels you’ve engaged in. If social media platforms haven’t seen any significant growth after six months of posting, it might be time to put your energy or investment elsewhere. However, it’s crucial to give it a trial period long enough to see the results you’re looking for. In that time, you can experiment with different content strategies to see what works best, and what gets the most engagement.
The Most Lucrative Strategy: Have Patience
As Napoleon Hill said, “patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.”
In a digital world of instant results, this can be hard to grasp and remember. Try to think of your marketing as a growth process rather than an instant cash-in, and the results will follow.
Learn more about marketing strategies and long-term branding in our video from Mag-Con 2018.