Marketing Strategy: Demonstrating Value Delivered

Does your marketing strategy demonstrate value delivered?

As a marketer, whether I was marketing for my own business, working as a part of a marketing team, or as an agency marketer, I would often ask myself, “am I delivering value”? I have come to realize that the better question to ask is, “How do I demonstrate value delivered”? Reframing the question is a subtle change in perspective. If you are forcing yourself to demonstrate value delivered, your daily tasks become tasks with intent.

I learned in my days as a project manager that my role was to ensure project success for ALL project constituents. This implied that I needed to list all of my project constituents and define their success criteria. I often found that this process of defining constituent success criteria changed how I managed projects. Clearly ‘on time and on budget’ satisfied a few constituents; however to ensure the customer came back, the resources who worked for me were willing to work on my next project, and upper management was satisfied with the end result meant … everyone involved needed to be considered.

As marketers, we are trained to think externally. We think about the customer, the competition, the current trends in marketing communication, our reach, etc. All of these elements are important. After all, as marketers our job is to apply pressure to the external environment with the intent of having the public move towards a purchase decision. The constituents we cannot forget are the internal constituents. When we ask the question “Am I delivering value?”, the real questions that need to be answered are; “What is value?”, “Who is realizing this value?” and most importantly, “How is value measured?”.

When I was a junior marketer I often assumed the value was measured by “We got a sale!”. I played down the importance of reporting to my peers/bosses/clients, since I believed my job was getting the leads. The issue with this assumption is, trying to prove the value delivered cannot be an afterthought. It needs to be the basis for making decisions on where to assign our limited marketing resources. Planning for attribution needs to be the first step, not the ‘end of the month arduous task’. The mechanism for measurement need to be in place for everything we do as marketers. We need to not only deliver value, we need to be able to easily demonstrate value delivered.

As a project manager I also realized that communication was key to project success. If there is no communication, all constituents do not automatically think “The project is going great! No one is reporting problems!” In fact, exactly the opposite happens. Everyone assumes the project is in trouble, hence the silence. This lesson is also true for marketers. Internal communication is critical if you are looking to demonstrate value delivered. If there is silence, most constituents assume that the marketing is NOT going well and the leads are about to dry up!

Tips to demonstrate value delivered

  1. Define the success criteria for your marketing
    This means defining ALL of the constituents and how they measure success.
  2. Define the measurement strategy for achieving success
    Once you have the success criteria of the constituents, measurement is clearly the next step. Measure everything! If you cannot measure the results of a marketing initiative, you will never be able to demonstrate value delivered.
  3. Build an internal communications strategy
    You are already building an external communication strategy, build an INTERNAL communications strategy. How often are you going to communicate success/failure? How are you going to communicate this? I have found that automating this process saves a lot of time. Giving the constituents regularly accessible dashboards for them to check on the status of marketing is a great way to demonstrate value delivered. Ensure that your communication strategy puts the measurements in context and a language that your constituents can understand. If you are delivering Google Analytics reports to everyone, you are failing!Think about the timeliness of the communication. The closer your reporting gets to the time the value was delivered, the better chance you have at truly demonstrating the value delivered. If you are waiting a month before you talk about a win, the win is long gone and your internal audience will have trouble believing the win was associated with your efforts.
  4. Discuss strategy evaluation, not just the stats
    When you have the monthly reporting meetings and you have been successful in the real-time communication strategy, then the discussion will be about strategy optimization, not ‘These are the stats’. Involve the constituents in the strategy formulation … they will feel better about sharing the win with you.