Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Do You Know Why Your Marketing’s Working (or Not)?

Picture this. A CPA, an attorney and a hedge fund manager are chatting over drinks at an investment conference. Looking out the window, a bartender exclaims, “Check it out, hundred dollar bills, just lying in the parking lot!” The CPA smirks, “I doubt those are real $100 bills; if they were, someone would have grabbed them by now.” The attorney says, “They might be real bills, but you’ve got be careful about touching stolen property or being accused of instigating a riot.” The hedge fund titan laughs, “Maybe if they were thousands I’d go down and scoop ‘em up. I’m not wasting my time with hundreds.”  

Meanwhile, an alert taxi driver opens his door, reaches down to the asphalt and stuffs several days’ worth of fares into his pocket. “I love when this convention comes to town,” he says laughing to his dispatcher. “They’re always great tippers!”

OK. Maybe we embellished this story a little, but for so many of us, perception does not equal reality. The bartender is too passive. The CPA is overly cynical. The attorney is cautious. The hedge fund manager is too greedy and the lucky cab driver? He’s not likely to replicate his good fortune as he misunderstood the cause and effect of his windfall. Does any of this sound familiar?

How many marketing touches does it take?

Let’s say your firm decided to take its marketing more seriously this year. Since January, you’re doing everything by the playbook just fine. Weekly blog posts, regular participation in relevant LinkedIn discussions. You’re sending out a nice monthly client newsletter, a thought leadership white paper and even some videos. But, after four months, still new clients.

Let’s say you send out a quick email blast next week about a webinar you’re having and two prospects call to schedule discovery meetings. A day later, you get a great referral and then a longtime client who’s getting up there in age wants to bring his son and grandson in to meet you for some estate planning discussions.

Must have been the email blast, you tell your team. So, this quarter you heavy up on your email blasts and webinars and drop the other stuff, right? Wrong.

According to the Online Marketing Institute, it takes 7 to 13+ touches to deliver a qualified sales lead. Possibly longer when it comes to marketing professional services. Our experience is that it takes consistent, relevant “drip marketing” to reach the time-pressed, influential decision makers you need to impress. No single ad, email or event—no matter how clever or well executed—should be credited for “making the sale.”  It’s the cumulative effect of all of your touchpoints that’s going to push prospects through the various stages of the purchase decision cycle.

Half a dozen years ago,
CPA Trendlines founder, Rick Telberg and I collaborated on a comprehensive survey of banner ads in financial newsletters. Here’s what we found: More than one-half of follow-up to online ads occurred up to 30 days after the ads had appeared. Readers who were exposed to online newsletter ads but did not click on them could recall the ads almost as frequently as readers who did click on the ads (22% versus 28%). Click here for the podcast about our “Beyond the Click” study.


Having a successful marketing campaign without knowing why it’s successful is just as bad as suffering through a lousy campaign. If you don’t know why something’s working and you can’t replicate that success, then you’re just playing the lottery and praying for luck. Be smart. Measure what counts. And don’t forget to talk to clients, prospects and industry watchers in person every chance you get. Real verbatim feedback is what makes your numbers and metrics even more powerful.

Have a great week. HB
Our blog has more, as does the FREE Resources page of our website.

TAGS: Online Marketing Institute, Beyond the Click, 7-13 touches for qualified lead, Rick Telberg, CPA Trendlines

1 comment:

Jose D said...

Thanks for the article. Good information.