Ah, it's Fall. The leaves are almost at peak. The election season is almost over. The Indians are in the World Series. What could be better?
Well, according to our clients, a lot of things. For many companies, 2016 has just been plodding along. Not bad but certainly not what they had hoped for at the start of the year. Customers have been hesitant to pull the trigger on deals. Large orders have been "stuck" in the purchasing department.
What's the reason? Nobody can really put his finger on it.
- It's an election year
- The Fed has screwed everything up
- Healthcare costs are out of hand
- The stock market rise is a mirage
- We've switched from a manufacturing to a service economy (therefore, the newly added jobs are lower paying service jobs)
We hear it all. It's not our job to interpret these analyses. We are marketing professionals--not economists. But one thing all of these doubts have definitely instilled in our clients is an almost rabid focus on accountability when it comes to their marketing budget. Every cent had better translate to increased sales or why are we wasting our money?
Oh, that we could fulfill all of these dreams. The fact is though, that we actually can fulfill many of these dreams. Thanks to digital marketing and Google Analytics, we know more about our client's customers than ever before. We know what appeals to them and what does not. We can track what they click on and in some cases, track it right to a future sale.
But like a drug that is offered free the first time, now our clients want to see a direct line from click to sale every time. Guess what? Not gonna happen. In the world of B2B marketing, we are a far cry from Amazon Prime. Things take time. Sales cycles can be months if not years. It takes persistence. It takes follow up. It takes great recordkeeping. It takes strong relationships.
And all of this is just talking about marketing that is accountable. Then there is the branding side of things that is not accountable at all but still plays a major role in a company's standing in the market. But that story is for a different day.
Now it's time to rake some leaves, count some votes and watch some baseball.