Time & Money: Increase Marketing ROI By Doing Less


Last weekend I took my boys and their friend on a road trip. It had been a busy week, and I was excited to spend some quality time with them looking at WWII navy ships on ‘Free Fun Friday’! But with the packed park, heat, and 40 minute detour to get back on the highway, we were exhausted. And when I asked if they had fun, they said they really just wanted to go to the pool.

We have all been there. We want things to be perfect in our personal and professional lives. When marketing campaigns aren’t working, we search desperately for a way to fix the problem. We do more, emulate what others are doing, and hope the changes will make things better.

But just like spending 3 hours in the car for a 4 hour outing was probably not a good idea, digging in with more frequent and complex tactics is seldom the answer to fix failing marketing campaigns.

We have a limited supply of time and money. And even the most successful companies realize it’s not about the quantity, but the quality.

In marketing, just as in life, it is a constant balance to make the most of what we have. I am constantly reasoning: Is it better to offer my family lots of time together when I am agitated or distracted? Or to provide less frequent but meaningful communication that really resonates?

Similarly, it’s better to truly engage with customers in a way that makes them say, “Ah ha, that’s really awesome!” versus sending a lot of messages that sometimes hit the mark, yet frequently end up in the trashcan. Easier said than done, right? So how do we build engagement simply and effectively?

You know your customers’ demographics. Now, take a bigger step back and look at what they really want. What are their inner values? What gets them excited? What motivates them to action?

We can use this understanding to develop content and marketing campaigns that resonate more deeply and convert more effectively. Taking the time to understand customer needs is key to creating content they’ll want to consume. More information can help you to look beyond generic labels like: ‘moms’ or ‘boomers’ to the specifics of which moms or boomers you seek to connect with. Going deeper than demographics and understanding the inner motivations of your customers is the key to successful marketing campaigns.

Once you understand your audience more deeply, it’s time to take a hard look at which tactics are really working. Rather than throwing a million at the wall to see what sticks, here are 3 tips to simplify your marketing and make a bigger impact with less:

1. Make your social posts and emails count. Focus on what Guy Kawasaki calls your marketing mantra. Use those few words on how your company is unique to create a content calendar that aligns with your brand values. Stick to it by posting more relevant content less often.

2. Send one e-newsletter per month and spend the time you save making it more targeted. Sending content that appeals to the masses may seem like a good idea, but lumping information in an email to everyone makes it less relevant. Consider shortening your communications, segmenting your database, and tweaking your e-newsletter.

3. Short is sweet. Longer pieces have their place, but consumers also appreciate brief, thoughtful blogs. For bigger subjects, you might want to create a series.

When it comes to my littlest consumers, I’ve learned my lesson.

Next time, I’m taking them to the pool.

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