Are you allo­cat­ing your mar­ket­ing invest­ment dol­lars to your best advantage?

Whether you’re in B2B (busi­ness to busi­ness) or B2C (busi­ness to con­sumer) mode, the per­for­mance of your company’s mar­ket­ing invest­ments is para­mount. And just like invest­ments in a stock port­fo­lio or an art col­lec­tion, one vehi­cle can rarely drive in two direc­tions simul­ta­ne­ously. One stock might give great short-term results but not pro­vide long-term ben­e­fits. Sim­i­larly, you may absolutely love the style of a par­tic­u­lar artist, but their work may not pro­vide you with the returns you need. Con­ven­tional wis­dom advises invest­ing in more than one stock and buy­ing more than one artist.

As with stocks and art, decid­ing where to invest mar­ket­ing dol­lars presents a num­ber of choices. Smart money always tracks back to strat­egy, and strat­egy always tracks back to objec­tives, so ask your­self what the objec­tive is for each investment.

Most every­one read­ing this will hone in on sales. No prob­lem here, as that’s the ulti­mate mar­ket­ing invest­ment return. Still, it may be tempt­ing to have your cake and eat it too, think­ing that maybe you can invest in one ad buy that bumps sales while also boost­ing aware­ness and per­cep­tion. One ad can do both, right? Note the ques­tion mark here.

Take a look at the accom­pa­ny­ing “Blue­print­ing Con­tent Archi­tec­ture to Cre­ate Sales” graphic.

Marketing Funnel

This com­pound blue­print dove­tails the tra­di­tional mar­ket­ing fun­nel with four addi­tional mod­els illus­trat­ing mar­ket­ing invest­ment choices. As you con­sider the options, it may be tempt­ing to make your dol­lars count twice. Tread care­fully here, how­ever, as that is a more mag­i­cal feat than it sounds.

One or the other objec­tive is bound to get short­changed, with nei­ther being served as atten­tively as it should. Sim­ply stated, if bud­gets are tight, it’s prob­a­bly best to tar­get one objec­tive. Do you want to drive demand and leads? Or do you want to cre­ate aware­ness and per­cep­tion? Again, what is your objective?

Mar­ket­ing invest­ments designed to drive demand and leads do not usu­ally work equally well to intro­duce your com­pany to the mar­ket­place or strengthen per­cep­tion. That sin­gle mar­ket­ing vehi­cle can­not be counted on to drive effec­tively in both direc­tions. Many com­pa­nies try to kill two birds with one bud­get stone, only to fail on both accounts, devour­ing invest­ment dol­lars in the process.

If you’re a super-sized Coca Cola or high-demand Dis­ney, the pain of a failed ad cam­paign might be ugly, but tol­er­a­ble. But if you are one of the 17 mil­lion busi­nesses in the U.S. with gross receipts under $250,000, poorly allo­cated mar­ket­ing dol­lars have more severe con­se­quences. Either way, big or small, estab­lished or startup, every dol­lar needs to per­form. Cre­at­ing dis­crete objec­tives with sep­a­rate bud­gets can laser-focus your mar­ket­ing invest­ments for bet­ter outcomes.

It is pos­si­ble, but rare, that your bril­liant cre­ative team can develop a strate­gic, mul­ti­pur­pose cam­paign. It happens.

It hap­pened with a rel­a­tively young $50 mil­lion com­pany I was work­ing with when we cre­ated a cam­paign with this rare combination:

  • good pri­mary mes­sage with a pre­ci­sion headline;
  • good sec­ondary mes­sage with a clearly stated, straight­for­ward approach;
  • strong call to action with a “Do this now!” lim­ited offer;
  • good value exchange involv­ing a best prac­tices guide with a filled-in lead form; and
  • strate­gic ad place­ment on the back cov­ers of highly tar­geted print publications.

This solid cam­paign yielded 700 leads, aston­ish­ing even the pub­lisher of one of the mag­a­zines. How did we do it?

We won because we started with two goals and two bud­gets that merged seam­lessly into one cam­paign. We mea­sured results with ana­lyt­ics. We knew the dogs from the dar­lings. We were smart, we picked our media mix care­fully, and we used the tools to our best advan­tage. Your turn.

Up next is “Media Mix, Part II: Mea­sur­ing Response.”