The minute you hire a marketing company, you’re itching to dive in. Time to maximize your advertising and public relations dollars and finally build some brand equity, right?
The short answer: Yes, absolutely. The long answer: Be patient. As tempting as it is to hit the ground running, it’ll be better for your company in the long term to solidify your strategy first.
To maximize return on investment (ROI) down the road, share these five data sets with your new agency.
1. Your current marketing mix
Tell your agency about what aspects of marketing you’re already tackling and what you hope to accomplish. Too often, I hear from clients, “Oh yeah, we’re doing marketing. We’re running search engine optimization campaigns.” When I ask what else, they tell me, “That’s it.” Unfortunately, by limiting their focus, those clients are missing opportunities to convert potential customers into sales.
After talking through your current approach, your agency will be able to identify holes in what you’re currently doing, as well as help you explore other key areas. For instance, maybe you produce a lot of written content, but video would be better for some of your target audiences. You might think you know what you want, but this information allows the agency to determine if what you want is what you actually need.
2. The makeup of your team
You need to have the bandwidth to execute your marketing agency’s new plan effectively. Examine your own team to help optimize both internal and agency talents. By smoothing out internal processes from the start, you won’t have to backtrack later and fix stopgaps and other communication issues.
Often, it’s intermediary project managers who hold things up. Maybe they don’t understand best practices, or perhaps they haven’t fully bought into implementing a certain tool. As a leader, you likely don’t see your marketing team in the same light an agency does. Figure out what your team and the agency require from each to produce good work together.
Related: Think Like a Company’s Marketing Director
3. Overall site analytics
Share your current conversion rate so the agency’s team knows what to look for. How many of your sales are coming from Facebook? Can you clearly see the details of where you’re getting your business? Asking such questions demonstrates whether your site is helping to properly convert leads into sales.
It’s easier than you think to get those metrics in place. Start with a Google Analytics account, and add your site as a property. This tool will help you measure revenue, customer acquisition, inquiry and engagement.
Related: 4 Marketing Analytics Tools That Are Shaping the Industry
4. Monthly revenue
Even if your income varies throughout the year, it’s important to organize this information based on reliable revenue (the minimum amount of money your company makes every month), and share it with your agency. It can help the firm understand the size of your business and what it means for achieving your goals.
For example, if you’re earning $10,000 a month in revenue, television ads wouldn’t be a good idea. But if you’re making $1 million a month, your agency might suggest such higher-level marketing channels.
5. The lifetime value of your customer
The easiest way to estimate lifetime value is to multiply the average value of a sale by the number of repeat transactions. Then, multiply that total by the average customer retention time. Once your agency understands how much you’re making from each customer, it can then determine where potential lies — and help optimize the amount you’re spending to acquire each of them.
Say you’re only making $10 more than the average lifetime of a customer — converting less than 20 percent of your online traffic into sales spells trouble, in this case. Sharing that information would show the agency that, while you’re paying a similar amount per click as your competitors, you’re not seeing much return on it.
Determining your customer lifetime value will help calibrate your marketing budget to your real needs. When you understand what kind of ROI you need to see, you’ll have a better sense of how real your numbers actually are.
As much as you may want to dive right into tactics with your marketing agency, resist the urge. Instead, sit down with your agency partners and cover these five topics.
Related: 4 Things to Consider Before You Get a PR Team
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