A specialist for this, a specialist for that.
On one hand, a firm that specializes in just one aspect of marketing has experienced people and expert-level knowledge for a limited set of skills, but they may not get the big picture. They may not see how the marketing tactic they specialize in fits into the overall marketing plan.
On the other hand, a “full-service” marketing agency can take a high level view and offer many services, but they are better at some things than others. Full service firms often have to outsource services too, and aren’t as up to speed on digital marketing.
Complicating matters even more is that you may also have talented marketers on your own staff that you want to utilize for one or more aspects of your marketing. You’ve sent them to expensive conferences and they’ve completed trainings and certifications.
You’ve got options, but what’s a marketing executive to do?
Read: How can B2B companies be more intentional about lead generation online?
Online Marketing Has Matured
Digital marketing used to be simple:
- Simply having a website was enough.
- SEO meant optimizing meta tags and stuffing keywords on a page.
- Paid advertising was Google Adwords, and your competitors weren’t there, or not nearly as sophisticated.
- Social media didn’t exist.
- People had slow internet connections, so video marketing wasn’t nearly as common.
- Your phone was a voice and email device, so mobile marketing wasn’t a consideration.
Technology changes quickly, and marketing on the internet is forced to keep pace. Now, CEOs expect their business websites to generate demand.
Marketing managers and CEOs are frustrated because they aren’t seeing the results they want, but they aren’t sure why.
- They are doing SEO
- They are blogging and creating content
- They purchased marketing automation software
- They hired specialists to manage it all
And still, things don’t work as expected.
The Dangers of “a la carte” Marketing
The reason businesses today are frustrated for lack of results is that marketing is too tactical.
Rather than setting a digital strategy based on company goals, businesses “do SEO” or “have a website” or “spend money on Google Adwords”.
Specialists in online marketing tactics abound in companies today, but few companies employ people who can tie tactics to strategy. That’s why you might be wondering why it’s not working. That’s why the #1 thing I heard in 2015 is that “we need a plan.”
Businesses have also hired multiple firms that specialize in certain activities, and the firms point their fingers at each other when it doesn’t work.
How To Buy Marketing Services That Work
If you want your online marketing to ultimately drive sales, you have to start with the end in mind.
- How much do you expect to increase sales next year for the entire business?
- What contribution (specifically) should your website make to revenue?
- How many web leads do you need based on your close rates to make sales goals?
- How many web visitors do you need to get your target number of leads?
When there’s someone in charge of answering these questions, you’re more likely to have success. Answer these questions and you’ll be able to set performance metrics for your digital marketing that will help you achieve real revenue goals.
When you answer the questions above, you may find that you need to:
- Increase your website visits significantly to get enough leads to fill the sales pipeline.
- Convert more visitors to leads in order to have sales opportunities.
- Do both!
It’s not until you understand this that you can decide what tactics you need to achieve your goals. For example, SEO will increase your website traffic but it won’t convert a higher ratio of visitors to leads. Optimizing your website may not yield more visitors but may convert a higher ratio of leads.
If your budget doesn’t allow hiring a company to do it all for you, then find a company that can create, manage and direct the strategy and have your marketing person(s) execute.
What an Accountable Online Marketing Partner Looks Like
A leader knows that if they want an accountable team, they have to assign tasks to one single person. There are dependencies and a team of people needs to work together, but there has to be one person accountable for success.
If your company buys marketing services, the partner needs to be accountable. Consider this -- you need a company that can be accountable for setting a strategy based on business goals. Everyone that works on your marketing needs to know those goals and how they fit into the plan.
The marketing partner needs to have specialists that are good at specific tactics, but generalists that can arrange those tactics and efforts in a way that align with your business goals.
Is now going to be the time you decide to get a plan to help achieve actual business goals?