It’s passe to say marketing has changed in recent years — change has been the one constant in this industry. But we have certainly entered a new era: one where numbers and accountability are more important than ever, and Artificial Intelligence is necessary for long-term success. In the process, a better marketing and sales strategy has emerged. It’s finally seen as best practice to have the teams form new, hand-in-glove relations.
We must bid farewell to the days when silos and sales and marketing telling each other what to do were effective ways of doing business. Ditto for finger pointing. As spray-and-pray has become a thing of the past and technology has advanced, it’s possible to measure the value of every marketing dollar spent and create cohesive customer experiences. In turn, it’s become dangerous to simply cut the marketing budget year after year, do a complete website overhaul or fire one creative agency and hire another without a clear, data-backed strategy for success.
Doing things the old way usually leads to unhappy marketers, sales teams and vendors and, worst of all, customers. What’s led to the creative crisis — marketing teams picking words, phrases and sentences for campaigns based on groupthink and guesswork — has been a key contributor to 66% of CMOs saying they are missing revenue targets, something I’ve noticed CEOs are either completely fine with or quite the opposite.
Those who have bought into AI now have powerful insight and visibility into how marketing programs are performing. They are also able to deploy campaigns with mathematical certainty they have chosen the best creative. We do not have to fly blind when creating or measuring our marketing and sales strategy anymore.
There is no excuse not to do the math today. When you can prove the value of marketing with numbers, rather than opinions, it’s possible to ask for more money and advocate for smart marketing-led sales strategies. Otherwise, you’re simply being wasteful with budget and opening yourself up to finger-pointing from sales leaders.
We’re measuring different KPIs now. Impressions, reach and website visits are vanity stats, and one-off purchases won’t move the needle and highlight an effective marketing and sales strategy for long. Brands need customers to not only buy what they are selling but come back for more. It’s why customer lifetime value and total customer acquisition cost (CAC) have become two very important measurements to marketing and sales leaders and CEOs.
To continue to grow, the customer must remain front and center on an ongoing basis, as should the knowledge that you cannot force your products on customers. From a marketing perspective, quality and volume are important, so getting the right marketing machine is vital, as is having that interlock between sales and marketing. It’s a blend of art and science, and one that must provide value and cannot rely solely on digital marketing if you want to meet business objectives. This requires a mix of digital, content such as blog posts related to your brand (think “How to Decorate a Small Space” if you’re a home improvement brand), PR, offline programs like commercials and mailers and a seamless customer journey online and off. Prove to them they will better themselves in some way through your products and they’ll be more inclined to act.
The name of the game is laser targeting of your personas with tools that can deliver personalized messages and offers in a flexible customer journey. Words matter. They are what drive prospects along the journey.
From there, you’ll want to play with the percentages you assign each piece of the marketing mix. What’s your cost per engagement? Then there’s customer lifetime value over CAC If your customer lifetime value over CAC is 3-5 you’re in good shape, if you’re over six you need to invest more in marketing, and if you’re at zero, you’re going out of business.
To track all of this, you’ll need a clean dashboard and streamlined MarTech stack. Too often, I see Frankenstein stacks usually caused by shiny new object syndrome. There are about 6,000 MarTech tools out there — they are not all necessary. The ultimate goal with these dashboards is to provide end-to-end insights that CMOs and CROs demand to manage their business. Here’s how to get there.
Once the marketing and sales strategy includes agreed upon KPIs and a dashboard, they’ll need to watch them closely. At some point, if you’re doing your job right in marketing, you’ll have created a powerful brand and reputation, awareness will go up, and your sales will start to hockey-stick. All of a sudden, your cost per lead and cost per acquisition should go down.
The best — and truly only — way to do this is with mathematical certainty. Tools, such as AI, can predict the precise message to unlock the power of words to drive brand revenue and performance. AI performs 50-75% better than manually-operated segmented equivalents. It can also show the CEO, Head of Sales and CFO the value of each marketing dollar spent, providing a 360-degree view into the team’s programming. Imagine being able to show leadership that every dollar invested in marketing comes out with 70x ROI in sales. With the numbers in front of them, it’s something they can believe. Wire up the right automated and predictive marketing machine and, well, it’s just math.
The ultimate goal is to create an atmosphere without finger-pointing, guesswork and secrecy. Instead, the new motto should be, “We’re in this together, we do it together, and we’ve done it together.” The world has changed, and in this new era of cloud, SaaS and digital, the most critical thing is to work hand-in-glove sales, marketing and the organization. Then the most critical thing after that is putting the customer in the center. It’s all about the customer and doing what’s best for them. If you do that, you’ll be doing what’s best for your business. The longer you keep a customer, continue to make them happy, listen to them and serve their needs you’re going to be successful as a company.
The simple truth that there is no excuse for not knowing the metrics on any variable of the marketing machine seems to be unequivocal. ‘Machine,’ ‘math’ and ‘metrics’ are not the creativity-crushing terms they once were. Getting it right, with everyone — from product to sales to customer — connected through the most effective machine, gives the best of every world. The dark ages are behind us. Today, if you know what you’re doing, it can be as simple as 1, 2, 3.