Where does precious marketing budget ooze away to?
Henry Ford said it almost 100 years ago: “I know, half of the money I spend on advertisement goes to waste. I just don’t know which half”. But what was his problem? He had little possibilities to systematically analyze the reaction to his advertising. Today we have these methods. However, little has changed to the feeling of wasting part of the marketing budget.
On average employees subscribe to five to seven newsletters. It has been that way ten years ago and has not significantly changed to this today – even though digital offers multiplied at the same time. While the volume of information increases on the one hand, tolerance for information considered not relevant enough decreases on the other. For example, a newsletter will be canceled much faster (and probably replaced by a new one) than a few years ago. This behavior presents marketing experts with new challenges: their target group expects to be addressed individually.
If customers stoic threw away advertising mail a few years ago, they now have ways and means in the digital world, to keep unwanted advertising off their brains. A study of Forrester Research predicts that over the next 2 years it will be all about addressing the needs of each individual customer. Against this background, the further findings of the study are sobering: More than half of the surveyed companies need at least three months to use insights from customer analysis to improve their work processes and systems. Only 20 percent are even able to adapt messages to customers. These figures are hard to understand considering that today there are CRM tools, analytics tools, lead management platforms and marketing automation tools: measuring who, where, when, what and responding is no longer a problem. However, with this awareness, one asks oneself: Why do many companies still fail to develop customers individually to buyers? In our daily agency practice, there are two explanations. First, companies do not use tools like CRM or web analytics at all, or only on a makeshift basis. Second, companies do not integrate the technical platforms into one big whole.
Processing hot leads only lukewarm
Probably the most common reason for canceling a lead process is that the generated leads are passed on too late or not at all to the right person. Evaluations from own projects prove: The probability of completion can (depending on the product) decrease by over 25 per cent already after 24 hours. After 48 hours it often falls below 20 percent without processing. Far too rarely do we find processes dealing with unprocessed or misdirected end customer inquiries. That’s not the only reason why, in our view, rapid use of sales opportunities in 2019 is still the biggest differentiation potential.
Generating unsubscribers automatically
Another aspect is the lack of processing unsubscribes. The analyzation and evaluation of unsubscribe rates is still far too limited. The possibilities of marketing automation – if you use them correctly – are enormous. Here, however, one must be careful: Process-controlled communication can be annoying for the addressee, if one aligns them sustainably wrong. Poor communication, which is carried out “automatically”, acts like a mixer in the septic tank! Marketing managers should invest as much time as possible in the monitoring of the communication processes and thus closely monitor their unsubscribe rates.
There’s a hole in my bucket!
“At a trade fair, prospective customers are collected in a lead-acquisition tool, then further developed in an automation tool and played from there into a CRM system.” As beautiful as the theory sounds, current practice looks different: somewhere between these different processes frequently relevant information disappears. If important data is lost, the prospect cannot be adequately looked after. This sounds completely banal but is by far the most common and most serious mistake in the technical integration of various marketing systems. Missing information is the most common reason why sales reps do not process leads. Clear distribution rules for sales, which can be clearly defined by marketing automation systems (scoring and rating), help here.
Over and over again
A lot of time and money is lost, if a single lead goes through the processing steps several times. For example, it is rarely taken into consideration which materials or offers have already been sent to the interested party. Even the best marketing information will be more likely to have a negative impact if the prospect receives it for the third time. Even CRM professionals often cannot understand which customer has received which advertising material at what time.
Blessed are the seeing ones
If you want to improve your processes, you first need to know where the problems are. What is the time span from initial contact request to the callback by the sales representative? What percentage of leads are still waiting for this call today and which ones are they? Who is responsible for that? The entire lead process is a critical business process and should therefore be clearly documented and closely monitored at all stages to respond quickly and accurately to undesirable developments.
Leads do not fall from the sky and are generally not easy to collect at a fair. They must be developed and maintained permanently. This requires a well-thought-out system of building up “cold addresses” for prospective buyers and returning customers. The subsequent distribution of contacts to sales should be rule-based. Fully automated processes allow for rapid acceleration as each manual step carries the risk of a process delay to a standstill. This is anything but easy and certainly not made fast. But if you look at the result, it’s worth the effort. You can see what costs communication from the first contact to the best lead score, because every interaction can be evaluated in monetary terms. Who consistently implements this knows after a few quarters how much budget is needed to fill the lead funnel?
Conclusion:: 100 years after Henry Ford no one needs to throw money away for marketing. One would only have to embrace Ford’s principles of marketing. Was not he the inventor of the manufacturing process?
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