“If you don’t know where you’re going, then any road will take you there.” These words have been attributed to many different literal figureheads in history – it’s not quite clear which one.
However, any doubt surrounding this famous proverb’s source doesn’t take away from the indisputable accuracy of its truth.
That’s because, in all cases, successful businesses need to be goal orientated in their approach, otherwise they run the risk of becoming adrift:
- Without specific, measurable goals in place business investments can end up misdirected and wasted.
- There is a lack of accountability and attribution which makes it impossible progress.
- Lack of direction leads to a lack of focus and motivation.
- And success is never achieved – because its concept is never really defined.
Similar rules should apply when it comes to running a successful. marketing department.
Without measurable objectives in place, it’s always going to be difficult to turn money and time spent on marketing from an overhead into a measurable investment.
Every tactic, every investment and every resource will remain like ships on the sea that are sailing in different directions and with no destination in mind.
The only kind of marketing funnel worth designing is one that is a) focused on a single SMART objective; b) is tracked and measured at critical stages; and c) is aligned to the customer journey.
Business and marketing objectives can take many forms. They may be financial or operational. A marketing funnel that’s based on a sound strategic foundation will go all the way – or part of way – to realising them.
Say you have a financial objective – to raise profitability by 25% in six months. A marketing strategy could potentially achieve this in entirety, especially for instance if the path to purchase was fairly straighforward.
This can be especially true in low-ticket FMCG items.
Marketing funnels for more complex paths to purchase
However, it might be unrealistic to think that marketing alone can be accountable for reaching a particular profitability goal.
That’s because there are some situations where the path to purchase is more complex and requires a stage of human intervention in the form of personal selling in order to push the required sales over the line.
This is especially true for companies selling high ticket items or B2B services.
Take for example a company that manufactures and sells sit on lawn mowers that is looking to increase profitability.
In this case, the marketing objective may be to generate a specified amount of phone numbers from giving away a free box of lawn treatment.
This marketing objective feeds into a sales objective of increasing revenue in which the sales team uses the phone numbers for a personal selling campaign in order to push x amount of sales over the line.
Add these objectives to an operational objective in which the manufacturing department is tasked with the mission of cutting costs by 10% and – bingo – the company hits its profitability targets for that given year.
In the broader case of the business, the marketing objective, the sales objective and the operational objective are all key performance indicators of the overriding business objective – to increase profitability.
By breaking things down in this way, it is possible to attribute success or failure to each department, all of which will have their own KPIs and SMART objectives from which to monitor success.
Making marketing accountable
With this in mind, it’s easy to see why frameworks – whether operational pipelines or marketing/sales funnels – are so important in growing and sustaining businesses.
If you think your business would benefit from some advice into designing, implementing and maintaining an objective-led marketing funnel, then get in touch with us today.