When economic times are tough, marketing budgets are usually at the top of the list to be down-sized. But in order for businesses to stay viable, marketers need to keep their brand visible in the marketplace. Understandably, it will be challenging trying to convincing a boss who is facing budget cuts across the board that marketing is worth the time, money and resources! Even more so with an ever increasing number of marketing channels available, all in need of time and money.
Most senior executives respond to one thing: cold, hard fact. Being able to accurately prove the worth of a marketing campaign to a business is worth its weight in sales. But with an increasingly technology-driven world with so many platforms to market through, it can be an overwhelming task to track all campaigns accurately and in a timely manner.
My number one rule, which should be followed at all times, is to track everything – from social media to phone calls to outdoor advertisements.
If you don’t know what is delivering the return, how can you prove the worthiness to the decision-makers? Not all of these methods are simple to measure but with a bit of planning and effort it doesn’t have to be impossible.
This area of marketing is changing nearly every day and some marketers and businesses have struggled to keep up.
Start by creating a timeline of the business’ financial data and mark the time when you started the social media campaign. Step two is to track social media activity: when you started different campaigns, which area of the business or product it related to, and the number of mentions, likes, interactions etc. you received.
The third step is where it starts to get a little more difficult. Track the financial data with the social media activity on the same timeline and find links between increased sales and the campaigns you have used.
An easy example would be a push of a certain product through social media at the same time as an increase in sales of this same product. But keep in mind other marketing campaigns and activity that may also have an effect. Is it the time of year, the season, or a celebrity trend?
This isn’t an exact science but it will provide figures to show your boss.
Online to offline
The world of online retail is booming, but some customers still prefer to purchase over the phone, or even ‘the old-fashioned way’, face-to-face.
When selling in store, you may have the chance to ask how customers heard of you or the product, but over the phone it is a bit harder as it can be seen as wasting their time. This is where call tracking comes in. By linking each campaign, advertisement or even key search term with a unique phone number you will be able to clearly see which campaign is resulting in sales.
Effective marketing, especially in times of economic downturn, can deliver more sales by setting your business apart from competitors who may have slashed budgets.
When convincing your boss to continue with the same budget, or even increase it, make sure to have all of your arguments and evidence in place. No one can argue with cold hard facts put in front of them. Just remember, you have to spend money to make money!