I recently had a conversation with an industry colleague who works on the client side. During that conversation, which took place at a marketing conference, he shared with me his experience at a certain other interactive conference last year: “One awesome week-long party paid for by my company. No real business takes place in terms of ROI. I can’t wait to go back.”
Huh? With that mentality, no wonder marketing is often the first line item when companies are facing budget cuts.
But wait a minute – aren’t you responsible for ensuring excellence for your company across the board at all times? In this day and age of record unemployment, pay cuts, “turning out the lights,” and more work with less resources, can you afford this sort of mentality on your workforce? Do you have any idea what the marketing department does with its budget? Are you assessing and measuring and demanding excellence on a weekly basis?
More importantly, if you have a marketing department spending money on events, travel, conferences and tradeshows, are you really measuring the ROI of such efforts? Do you assess the cost of the show (in full) and what it yielded for results? Do you pay attention to who’s going, what they’re doing and the expected results? Do you compare these investments to other marketing activities? Can you afford not to have such checks and balances in place these days?
Mind you, this was no multi-billion dollar company – although even they, too, are being affected by this global recession. This was a start up in a precarious and competitive industry. In other words, that kind of irresponsible mentality (like #11 here) shouldn’t be difficult to spot. But if you’re not paying attention – and not demanding results from every investment – then it could be missed. And such ignorance could cost you not only money, but perhaps a future layoff or worse.
Take the time to assess all of your marketing activities – not just SEO or PR or advertising – but the dollars spent on every activity online and off. Demand excellence in everything and set parameters for employees. Prioritize in advance – know which activities yield the best results and which could easily be diminished with minimal impact.
Can you draw a direct line to results or positive ROI for each marketing activity? If not, can you afford not to demand excellence and results across the board? I didn’t think so.