Technical marketing mistake #2: Failing to consider ROI

December 4, 2011 § 3 Comments

At the start of this series, I listed some of the most common technical marketing oversights that we see at Think88. In this installment, I describe why it’s so important to consider return-on-investment before developing any marketing collateral.

In far too many companies, leaders and rank-and-file alike are convinced that the sales department exists to bring in money, and the marketing department exists to gleefully spend it. This perception is a gross oversimplification, and is largely unwarranted in most cases. However, there are certain situations where this observation is justified. Marketing collateral is one of those scenarios, but there’s plenty of blame to go around:

  •  Vocal salespeople who clamor for something – anything! to give to their prospects.
  • Marketing executives eager to satisfy these demands.

Both sales and marketing are far too reactive in these cases. This is very unfortunate, because creating this collateral can be expensive, time-consuming, and starve other (often more qualified) initiatives of necessary resources.

Instead of making knee-jerk investments in new collateral, it’s much wiser to first subject any potential materials to a rigorous ROI assessment. Of course, ROI should also be a factor in the marketing content roadmap that I described in an earlier post. I’ve found that the most effective marketing collateral is produced after analyzing weak points in the sales cycle, and then creating materials to plug those gaps. Frankly, there is no substitute for ‘riding along’ with salespeople, or experiencing the sales cycle as a prospect would. With proper research, it should be possible to quantify – or at least estimate – the financial impact of any marketing collateral investment.

What does one of these ROI calculations look like? I’ll provide a real-world example in a future posting.

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