Tackling the Four Biggest Culprits Blocking a Huge ROI from Marketing

metrics (2)I think that it’s fair to say that we were shocked.

It appears that there’s not a lot of joy in ROI-town.

We recently completed a survey of marketing and sales practices of staffing and recruiting firms, focusing on the strategies tactics, tools and technologies being used for securing new accounts. One of the questions was, “Are you happy with the ROI you get from the amount you spend on marketing to prospective clients?”

MarketingTwo out of three of you told us, “Nope. We’re not very happy at all.”

Oh, boy. In fact, more than 10% of respondents reported that they’re unhappy, and a handful said, “miserable” or even worse, “don’t know.”

With that kind of result, even though firms are putting somewhere between 2% and 5% of their top line into marketing, it’s a wonder they’re spending any money on marketing at all.

Maybe it’s time for a critical rethinking about why, where, how and when your marketing resources are being spent, and the way you’re measuring results.

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What Are the Culprits Responsible for a Less Than Spectacular ROI?

If you’re one of those unhappy staffing agencies or recruiting firms, the path to a spectacular ROI from your marketing spend should begin by doing an honest assessment of what I consider to be the four biggest ROI-killers: strategies, budgets, measurements and alignments.

There are certainly a slew of other ROI-killers and we welcome any comments or addition you may have, but here’s my list in greater detail:

  1. Your marketing strategies aren’t quite up to par (or are non-existent)
    I like to see a firm’s marketing strategy divided into 4 “subsets” – branding/visibility, lead generation, sales/sales enablement, and client development/retention. Working within this structure will go a long way toward getting the type of ROI that will make you happy with your spend. A plan for each subset needs to be built around measurable goals, strategies and tactics.
  2. Your budget allocation is ineffective or poorly balanced
    There are basically fourways a staffing or recruiting firm can allocate an employer-facing marketing budget: (1) dollars for building marketing infrastructure like websites, content, and sales collateral; (2) dollars to support networking activities, as it’s likely that 70% or more of your business is going to come from referrals; (3) funds for traditional marketing tactics like sponsorships or print advertising; and (4) money for digital and inbound marketing that can be allocated into tactics ranging from search engine optimization to online lead generation.
  3. You’re not experimenting, measuring and making smart decisions based on metrics
    Simply put, getting better ROI is an impossible task without tools and technologies in place for measuring results. Beyond just measuring results and having a bunch of numbers in hand is the hard job of making smart decisions to pull the plug on tactics that don’t work or doubling down on tactics that do work. Nobody has cracked the code on tactics guaranteed to grow your top line, so it’s important to try different ideas and take some risk, but be prepared to stop funding efforts that don’t work.
  4. Your marketing and sales teams aren’t on the same page and pulling their weight
    There’s been a lot written about the value of aligning marketing and sales, and I’ll be devoting a future blog post to this topic because it’s so important to improving ROI. Alignment covers issues like developing shared goals, agreeing on how results of both marketing and sales efforts will be measured, defining and agreeing on processes for moving a prospect through the sales funnel, and making smart investments in technology that can both teams will use, from CRM applications to marketing automation.

Marketing and Sales Strategies First, Tactics Second, Vanity Last

Vanquishing these culprits begins with a comprehensive strategic marketing plan that’s a roadmap for getting more visibility, leads and closing more sales, faster. A plan is the place for defining goals and objectives, laying out the strategies and tactics you’ll use for achieving them, and assigning responsibility and accountability for making those strategies and tactics happen.

I’ll often see firms executing tactics that have no bearing on strategy, or firms depending upon vanity (like, “we need a better looking website!”) to drive new account growth. While both tactics and vanity are important, they become an even more powerful driver of top line growth when executed within the parameters of a strategic marketing plan.

Albert Eisenstein told us that, “Being crazy is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” That’s another way of making the point that If you’re looking for a bigger and better ROI from your marketing spend, don’t spend on marketing items or efforts that haven’t made you happy.

That would be crazy, right?

MORE: How Your Sales and Marketing Communication Strategy Can Affect Your Growth

Alan Vitberg

Alan Vitberg
Alan Vitberg is executive director of LeadG2’s professional services team. You can reach him at (585) 750-8258 or via email at alanvitberg (at) csscenter (dot) com. Visit LeadG2’s website for its marketing and sales blog.

Alan Vitberg
Alan Vitberg is executive director of LeadG2’s professional services team. You can reach him at (585) 750-8258 or via email at alanvitberg (at) csscenter (dot) com. Visit LeadG2’s website for its marketing and sales blog.

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