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This was an old article I revisited, then revised heavily – for my own clarity and internal use and training – hope it helps you. Think of this as an open letter to our staff.

6 Rules for Marketing Success:

  1. Numbers are Truth. Humans delude themselves, want to be right about certain assumptions, so they’ll frequently conclude things which the numbers won’t support. Awareness creates action, action creates results – but step one is accurately measuring anything you want to improve.
  2. Empirical, not emotional decisions. This is one of the reasons using a CRM is an absolute must, because if you don’t have a CRM, you won’t have the data (most likely) on which to make accurate decisions about which marketing is profitable, and which is not. You should be able to easily see your cost-per-incoming-call, cost-per-lead, and cost-per-closed deal for any given marketing source. You need emotional copywriting, – more accurately, headlines and copy that triggers emotions, but the actual traffic and advertising should be more data science than emotion.
  3. Test with small money first. Frequency is the benefit of success, never the key to success. Ad sales reps love to pound this – “oh, you gotta run it before it sticks” or “frequency is the key to success”. No, it’s not. That said, you do often need more than one impact before people buy, and usually the 4th impact of direct mail (on average) will have more impact than the first impact – but you can focus your test. Test small before scaling up. Frequency is key for “image advertising” and “branding” (say, Nike shoes), but small businesses are in “direct response advertising” – you need to drive an immediate outcome.
  4. Optimize to Baselines First, then refine based on “fluid dynamics” model – the needle you most want to move.
  5. There’s a life cycle to creative and window of opportunity. Watch your numbers as they’ll start to weaken at some point, which signals time to revise or start a new campaign. Traffic sources will be wildly profitable for a while, then start to drop as they get competed-out, so there’s an envelope of time to watch.
  6. Feedback Loops between Sales, Customer Service, and Marketing are a must – it’s easy to miss the forest for the trees. Optimizing for just lead-capture is silly. In the end, you want to optimize for the entire value that you provide client, but because people specialize, and are pushed by company owners / clients / management, they often want to push things – this can be short sighted. Ideally, create incentives for marketing team based on net sales by dollar amount, and lead-scoring should ideally be weighted by position within a customer journey and likely value.
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