You know what they say about excuses, so why are so many people still using them? Everything you need is at your fingertips, so there should be no more excuses when it comes to engaging in smart, strategic planning in your marketing.
After a decade working as a marketing professional, I’ve noticed the same group of excuses come from clients, no matter their industry or position. Although these may be valid in some cases, in most cases they are cover-ups for poor planning, lack of understanding and ignorance on the collaboration that needs to take place when an agency is partnering with a brand to elevate them to the next level.
When it comes down to it, we’re experts who just want to elevate your brand. Our main goal is to attract eyeballs to the top of your sales funnel in order to help you convert as many of those eyeballs as possible into followers, brand loyalists and of course SALES!
Here are some general excuses we have heard and how we deal with them by meeting our clients with understanding, support and sometimes a little kick in the you-know-what.
Budget seems to be a big excuse. Clients either have no idea that they need to define a budget, or they don’t know what percentage of budget needs to be defined for their marketing plan. Here’s the thing: an agency can’t strategically put together a plan that works for you without factoring in a budget that works for you. As Laurel puts it, we want you to look your best, but we can’t buy you a new outfit you’ll love until we know your style and your budget.
How much of your gross annual budget should you allocate to marketing? Industry standard is 12-25%. This will be spent on a strategic, multi-pronged approach that creates the 3-5 (or 5-7 depending on brand awareness) touchpoints that customers need to know, like and trust your brand.
Don’t be afraid to set a budget. Knowing what you can afford and relaying that to your agency partner will only benefit you by allowing us to come up with an affordable strategy customized by your needs.
As experts on your brand, your marketing partners are looking to you for your expertise on your brand, especially in the beginning of the relationship. Our goals are to represent your vision, mission and values cohesively and in the same brand voice that took you a lot of time and energy to establish. In order to make that happen, we often need guidance to get started. Over time, we have seen a variety of companies come to us for support only to disappear afterwards and not participate fully in the approval processes and constructive feedback. They don’t have the time to provide the assets needed to set themselves and their marketing partners up for success.
Our advice is to find time, at least in the first 30-60 days of any new relationship, to ensure your marketing partners are representing your brand in the best possible way so that they can then take off on their own and save you time and energy in the long run.
There is a lot of confusion about the function of top-of-funnel marketing. We get it. At the start of any relationship with a client, we always ask for their marketing goals, and often what they give us are sales goals. Our first step, then, is to let them know sales goals are not marketing goals. Although marketing is the funnel to sales, the two function very differently.
The hard truth is that not all marketing will convert to sales. Sometimes it will convert to more followers, more engagement and more brand awareness. It’s important to set key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure success. Proper marketing tells a story and builds a community that will then, hopefully, convert to sales. Marketing is a long game. It’s about staying top-of-mind so that when a customer is ready to make a purchasing decision, she thinks about you before your competitors.
You may not see immediate ROI, but if you trust the process and allow a minimum of 12-18 months for your marketing efforts to work their magic, you can start to measure ROI in sales. We can, however, measure KPIs as early as one month into our relationship and adjust our strategy as we go to make sure your campaigns and month-over-month growth stay on track throughout the process.
Biana Lerman, Account Executive
Elevate My Brand