Consumer packaged goods giant Procter & Gamble Co. is reportedly aiming to shave $2 billion from its marketing budget over the next five years.
According to AdAge, the cuts are part of a larger effort to reduce $10 billion from across the company. The article suggests P&G missed its growth targets and so is aiming to reduce costs.
Cutting costs is fine if the intent is to improve margins – which what the short-minded thinking of Wall Street tends to reward. However there two other considerations.
First, you can only take out of hide for so long. Cuts mean service is stifled, moral plummets and the best people leave. It becomes a game a bit like a business edition of Jenga.
Second, when you cut marketing, you convey to customers and competitors you’ve given up on growth. To that end, it’s really hard to sell more if you stop talking to your market.
Instead of taking a hatchet to the budget, I’d suggest P&G re-allocate some of that ridiculous spend in display and programmatic ads into content marketing and PR. Now you might not agree with me, but that’s what I’m after: few topics ignite heated debate in marketing circles like the subject of ROI or proving value.
And that’s the theme for this week’s Unscripted Marketing links [UML]. As it is every week, below are three article grouped around a theme, that I’ve vetted and recommend for your perusal.
1) The challenge of attributing revenue to content
If your organization struggles to identify a causal link between content or social and revenue, you’re not alone. More than 70% of respondents to a survey – What Marketing Leaders Think About Strategy, Technology, and Data-Driven Change – by Track Maven cited the “inability to attribute top-of-funnel activities to business outcomes” as the top challenge in ROI.
Marketing Charts, whose graphic is presented nearby, noted in an analysis of the survey that other studies also typically find these channels are among the most difficult to measure. For example, only about 20% of “CMOs are able to demonstrate the impact of social media quantitatively.”
Even if your organization doesn’t have the budget or expertise to implement marketing automation, there are some easy ways to get started.
For example, gate your high-value content like white papers and reports, provide a unique URL to the registration page for social media or for your corporate blog. Then correlate those downloads to deals closed over time. Similarly, an often overlooked but simple way to start measuring content results is to systematically ask, “How did you hear about us?”
2) Defining content marketing measurement success
It’s hard to know if or when you’re being successful if success isn’t well defined. That’s the point in a piece – What Does B2B Content Marketing Success Look Like? – by Stan Smith of Pushing Social.
He takes describes a philosophy he calls “First Principles” which in this case means, “a content strategy works if it does three things well: attracts traffic, converts traffic into visitors, and turns visitors into leads for sales follow-up.”
To attract traffic, you need “outhustle” the competition. Before you can’t get a lead from content, you first need to build trust. Finally, you’ve got to have “a system in place to turn visitors into leads.”
Indeed, I marvel at businesses that invest heavily in content, and yet interrupt a visitor with a popup ad to register for a demo, but don’t provide a passive way to subscribe to new content. That skips one of the most important aspects of content marketing because subscribers are more likely to become customers.
3) Forging marketing partners in finance
If your CFO speaks marketing, then you are among a fortunate few. In most cases, marketing needs to learn to speak finance in order to foster “a shared lexicon.”
That’s according to Debbie Qaqish in a piece contributed to Marketing News Weekly by the AMA titled 3 Things Every CMO Needs for a Successful Relationship with the CFO. She writes:
“In many companies, marketing has been the one department that did not have to show financial return or justify spend based on return. Since marketing was viewed as a cost center for many years, the CFO was most interested in assuring marketing spent within budget.”
While I agree with the spirit of the message, there are elements of her article with which I vigorously disagree. For example, she writes, “No one cares, especially the C-suite, about the colors of the website.”
That is not consistent with my experience. To the contrary, I’ve usually found the top executive is actually quite interested – and very vocal – in these aspects.
It’s not art, but science that tells us which colors to mix in order to get black. You need both for effective marketing.
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