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Mapping Your Marketing Dollars

During tough economic times as these it's important to know where all of your marketing dollars are being spent. For many companies, this becomes a time when they pull back on their marketing budgets for no other need than to simply cut costs. For others, this is a time when they increase their expenditures in an area of their business that they realize can actually increase their revenue as it has the ability to gain new customers and market share. For either of these situations, it's important to take a look at where your marketing dollars are being spent, the effectiveness of the strategies employed, and a firm understanding of what you will need to do to improve your strategy's overall performance for the future.

Here's a quick 5 step way to mapping out your marketing:

  1. *Create a Simple Process Map *

    View this from a very high level. If I were to ask you, "How can I buy your product or service," how would you answer? What are the steps you would take me through? Though many would view this is your sales process, think "simplicity." If you have more than five steps in your process, try to group some together to shorten the process. Customers usually do not have patience. Their buying decision can easily sway if it takes too long to satisfy their instant gratification that comes with the purchase. If you have too many steps, you have too many ways for them to change their mind.
  2. Take a Look at What You're Doing

    Every piece of marketing and sales collateral that you have should be currently used to support one or more of the steps in the process you listed. If you find an item that you feel is not doing this or is even poorly supporting a step, stop producing it! You need excellence in your marketing when times are tough! Spending the marketing dollars that are still getting you SOME prospects, but just barely simply won't cut it in the long run! By the way... CA-CHING... money saved! You're welcome!
  3. Group Your Current Marketing Pieces into Activities

    Successful strategies are about spreading your marketing activities over multiple mediums, channels, and tools to reach the broadest representation of your targeted audience(s). Take each of your marketing pieces and group them into activities such as print advertising, radio, TV, search engine marketing, online advertising, social media, etc. Count up the number of pieces in each activity. This is a quick way to determine how much you're focusing on each area. Are you evenly spread in your activities? Or are there some imbalances? Imbalances could be a sign of wasteful activity and therefore wasted marketing dollars.
  4. *Check Your Success Rates for Each Activity *

    Success in any marketing strategy is dependent on data that is captured and measured against your established goals. In this case, we're going to focus on how each activity performs against your sales goals. So, hopefully, you've been capturing data behind each activity you've engaged in. If not, we need to talk! Without data there is a high likelihood that you are overspending in multiple areas that may be producing little or even no results.

    Write on a separate sheet of paper for each activity the following metrics:

    - Total amount of dollars (E) committed to this activity - including support/administrative
    - Total amount of transactions (T) attributed to this activity - translated sales transactions
    - Total amount of revenue (R) from transactions attributed to this activity
    - Total net profit (P) attributed to this activity

    +Calculate the Following Success Rates +

    Goal Achievement by Activity: R/E x 100

    Profit Margin from Activity: P-E=M, M/P x 100

    Average Revenue per Transaction per Activity: R/T

    Average Profit per Transaction per Activity: P/T
  5. *Determine the Adjustments in Your Activities *

    Now this step requires some insight about how to move and adjust your marketing activities, but let me break this down into some simple thoughts that can help you make your decisions about how you spend your marketing dollars.

    Look at the "Goal Achievement by Activity" rate. If you have some activities that are falling in the single digits, it means one of two things: 1) You just started this activity or possibly not investing much into it, OR 2) You are potentially overspending marketing dollars in an area that is not translating into transactions.

    If the answer is #1, you may choose to continue investing in this area, but I would encourage you to measure this again in 30 day increments to determine if it has any effect.

    If the answer is #2, then maybe you should stop investing in this activity or rethink how you are leveraging this strategy to attain your goals. By doing so, you can move the allotted marketing dollars for this activity into another area where it can produce higher results.

    Next, look at the +"Profit Margin" + metric. If this is high (say even over 10%) then this should tell you that this activity is able to not only produce results in terms of acquiring whatever it was designed for (awareness, traffic, sales, etc.), but it also has the potential to produce the best results in terms of translating into higher value transactions.

    Now, I say "has" because of this. If this activity generates the least amount of transactions (and by quite a bit) then even though the metric sounds good, it is really not producing long-term gains. Think of a situation where you have one transaction that had a 90% profit margin or two hundred transactions that had a 50% profit margin. In this case, consider how the activity could be adjusted to generate more high-value transactions.

    Finally, look at the "Average Profit per Transaction" metric. The activities where this metric is high shows you potentially how and where you are acquiring your best customers - meaning those that may have spent the most with your organization! What you may want to do here is to look at how you can increase your use of this activity to hopefully increase the number of transactions.

    Now, an important note, oftentimes this activity would be the same as that found from the "Profit Margin" metric. Remember, we need a good balance in the number of transactions to the amount of profit gained in each transactions. I only mentioned looking where this metric is "high" not the "highest." Therefore, you actually want to find somewhere close to the middle in terms of profit and number of transactions.
Every business has the chance to not only increase its market share during these tough economic times, but the number of sales and revenue made from each transaction. The important thing to start with is a clear understanding of where you are currently spending your dollars. Once you have this, it is much easier to see how you need to formulate
your next marketing strategy increase your overall performance and make your marketing dollars work for you! Map your marketing dollars and you can map your future!

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