Don’t let marketing metrics kill your brand
All too often we hear, “Oh no, we can’t do any online advertising and we have completely cut our PR budgets.” When we ask why, we’re told, “Because they aren’t measurable. We can only invest in activities that produce actual leads.”
FLUME’s own strap line is ‘results-driven marketing’. We believe whole-heartedly in the importance of analysis and measurement to ensure investments are making a difference to the bottom line. But can we take this too far? Is it ALL that really matters in marketing? Over the past few years, we’ve seen the focus on the result of a campaign being more important than the actual objective. “If it can’t be tangibly measured, we aren’t doing it,” is a sentence repeated to us.
The question is; are we really generating more revenue by focusing purely on activities that can clearly demonstrate perceived ROI? In this article, we explore the possibility that by only doing activities that generate “leads” we might actually be killing our brand.
There is no denying that lead generation is absolutely key in any marketing strategy. And yes, we need leads to drive sales, sure! But could taking this to the extreme be risky? An article in Advso states that, “The best way to kill your brand is to evaluate whether every dollar invested has a direct impact on the financial return of your company.” Have we gone too far in our prioritisation of measurable marketing strategies over not-so-measurable activities, which have an effect on brand perception?
Over the past few years, we’ve seen changes in many tech companies who have adopted an accounting approach to marketing. The focus is on leads and lead conversion to sales. We see this as a positive move as it ensures that all activity is focussed and results driven. However, we believe that often these targets may be missed because in order to get leads and sales conversions, you need to have an integrated approach to your marketing strategy with many more touch points to help bolster that lead gen campaign along with a healthy perception of your brand. And the importance of qualitative data is also significant.
In addition to measuring the performance of our lead conversions, have we lost sight of other ways to measure our marketing effectiveness, for example, do we ask ourselves questions like; What are our customers lifetime values? What activities do we have in place for retention, loyalty and frequency? Are our campaigns really reaching new audiences? Perhaps if we really analyse these questions, we may find that actually, whilst lead generation and other activity that generates a tangible result is of course crucial, on their own they may not be achieving the wider objectives. To be a market leader we may need to invest in activities which don’t give measurable results.
The bottom line is that we cannot expect every dollar invested to translate into pure performance and profit. In order for our lead generation campaigns to work most effectively, we need to ensure that they are supported by other marketing mediums to enforce strong brand awareness. Our brand is extremely important and should never be taken for granted and lead generation campaigns do not necessarily produce great brand awareness if we are using them as stand-alone activities.
Excellent performance and high ROI for short-term initiatives are great and important – but not if the long-term impact is negative. Be strategic, think long term and don’t get too caught up in the numbers game – there needs to be a balance.