Ask any AV firm’s marketing team this question: “How consistently do we create deliverables that have a significant impact on our AV business?”
The answers to that question will frequently reveal a focus on activities (deliverables) instead of business outcomes (such as ROI). The reason there’s such a disconnect between what’s asked for and what’s measured is really all about the prioritization efforts and the metrics by which marketing is measured.
When a marketing team’s work has a rubric put in place to determine value — not just effort — that’s when the dynamic changes from merely more deliverables to better deliverables.
So, how does your AV marketing department determine the value of their work? In most marketing departments, the answer is either “more leads” or “more marketing stuff done.”
The Paradox of Getting Work Done
Content marketing. Account-based marketing. Marketing automation. Full-stack marketing. Marketing teams have grown to include specialists who cross-train and help other team members out precisely because the demands from marketing have increased. And it’s not just sales screaming for more of everything; it’s operations and HR and finance, too. Lead generation? Yeah, that represents only a portion of your team’s marketing activity. But it’s the thing your AV marketing team is likely measured on more than anything else.
Not all marketing activities and deliverables are equal. It’s what we choose to do with that knowledge that can change our teams from producers who merely get stuff done to marketers who get the right stuff done to create valuable deliverables with effective outcomes. Since not all marketing is equal, why put similar effort (time, money, roles) into dissimilar marketing efforts?
In order to see where to prioritize work that delivers the highest value, there has to be a way to address the paradox of marketing metrics focused on volume with the demand to get better results.
How is your AV marketing team dealing with this duality? When was the last time your marketing team set aside a large chunk of time — perhaps two to three days — to evaluate the measurable outcomes from all of the marketing activities and deliverables in comparison to the time, resources and money spent to produce those outputs? Surprisingly, most AV firms do not have the KPIs (key performance indicators) in place to understand the impact assessment of work prioritization with desired business outcomes.
New Metrics, New Barometer
To be clear: I’m all for getting work done. I’m simply asking how your AV marketing team knows if they’re doing the right work? Says who? And by what quantitative or qualitative KPI?
Your marketers likely need a marketing barometer to understand how to measure success.
Delivering value is ‘knowable’ via a barometer rather than a thermometer.
Lest we get too geeky about this simile, allow me to break it down.
A thermometer provides a specific metric about the temperature in a specific location at a specific point in time. A lot of marketing metrics are like a thermometer: They tell us what happened, but usually not why it happened or if it is likely to happen again.
A barometer does provide a data point of a particular location at a particular time, but the point of the device is to view data points over time. The analysis of these data points is calculated to determine the direction of change and the rate of change in that direction. It’s less precise than unique point-in-time metrics, but it does have the value of being a good indicator of trends.
Like a physical barometer, which measures the change in atmospheric pressure, a marketing barometer measures both the direction of change (more like this, less like that) and the rate of change (how much like this, how little like that).
Therefore, I say that the qualitative and quantitative data points (defined metrics against organizational goals and objectives) should look for outcomes over outputs. Getting the work done should always be in question, but not just about the throughput (velocity) of work, but in terms of quality of the deliverables and if they added value to achieving business goals. After all, iterating on the wrong things, at an ever-increasing output, isn’t successful marketing.
Holy KPIs, Batman!
From my experience, the vast majority of marketing KPIs are focused on measuring the lateral activity of marketing teams instead of the focused outcomes to move the business forward. It’s like an American NFL football team running a double-reverse play that has a lot of activity moving side-to-side, but unless they get down the field further, it’s not particularly effective or valuable.
What your AV marketing team needs are key performance indicators (KPIs) that actually align with the key objectives of the business instead of merely pointing at marketing team activity metrics.
Lots of clickthroughs? That isn’t a valuable metric unless it is further tied to form completions or pre-sales activities or higher levels of customer engagement. Rather, the KPIs I’m referring to here are not boilerplate: They are unique to your business and are directly tied to the goals of your organization, not just the goals of your marketing department.
For example, are the KPIs for your marketing team measured mostly against marketing activity, marketing qualified leads (MQLs) and ad spend? Ask your marketing team this question: “Is your work directly moving the business/organization forward? Or are we punting on first down more often than not and hoping for great coverage by sales?”
A marketing barometer has metrics unique to your team and your business. They should reveal how you track not only conversion rates, but a scoring/rating system to determine how well a deliverable performs in comparison to other deliverables. By keeping track of the time/effort/resources spent on various deliverables, your team can not only track the performance of the output, but the value of the work effort to output ratio. In other words, your KPIs need to do more than show activity; they need to show value both for your team and from your team as it relates to moving the business forward.
When you look at your AV marketing team’s current goals, KPIs and metrics, can you easily derive value from what is being done? When your marketing teams can answer these questions, you’ll discover the kind of marketing barometer your AV firm needs to deliver more value.
Is your AV firm’s marketing in need of not only better metrics, but better KPIs, too?