The Foundation for ROI

Marketing is both an art and science. You need the science, aka data to develop strategic initiatives and ultimately a campaign that aligns with your organization’s business goals and target audience. You need art, aka creativity to connect with your consumer, driving emotion, thought and ultimately a relationship.

For many years, marketing teams could get away with showing leadership teams flashy creative in order to gain approval and support. This is certainly still a component, but we can no longer avoid showing the actual return on investment. It’s tricky though when working with executive or leadership teams that don’t exactly know what value marketing can provide.

It’s always important to start with establishing very clear business goals and objectives. At the end of the day, what does success look like? Is it sales? If so, is that dollar related or an increase in total product sales? Is it reputation? Do you need your audience to think more highly of your brand, product or service? Part of this process includes understanding who the stakeholders are. Maybe you’re working with an executive team, but also know of other influencers within the company. It’s crucial to identify all business objectives and get sign off from the ultimate decision maker within your company. This allows you to go back to the original established goals at any time, communicating progress toward reaching this goal throughout the campaign.

Although emotional connection is important for success, marketing plans backed by data will drive and validate the direction. It’s important to have “evidence-based marketing plans”.  If you don’t have access to data, start searching the internet and work toward collecting data by surveying your target audience. For example, if you know your target consumer spends 4-6 hours per day on social media, you can easily justify a digital spend specifically on this tactic. Continually monitoring this data specific to your campaign will also allow you to optimize and make small adjustments throughout.

In addition to establishing your objectives and developing your plan with data, know your audience. Who is purchasing your product or service? For example, in healthcare, we found that well over half of the decisions are made by the household female. We called our audience the “chief medical officer of the family”. With that data point in mind, we not only made decisions targeting her directly, we also communicated to our executive team that they were not part of this group. What might have been appealing to them maybe wasn’t appealing to our consumer. This allowed the team to think logically versus just “liking” the creative.

Lastly, learn how to communicate in the language your executive team understands. For example, be careful of phrases and acronyms like KPI’s (key performance indicators). Consider phrases that your leadership team understands without questions. Instead of KPI’s, I use the phrase, “initial success indicators”. When showing creative, explain the data behind the direction, who your audience is and what direction your creative team used to develop the final product. Use the initial success indicators as a way to show you’re going in the right direction or you need to make changes before ultimately hitting your goal.

Understanding your business goals, using data to drive direction, knowing your audience and communicating the thought process clearly to your leadership team will set your campaign up for success when showing ROI.