How marketing agencies can help their clients set meaningful and measurable goals

By Rod Griffith
January 14, 2022

How marketing agencies can help their clients set meaningful and measurable goals

Within companies and corporations of all sizes, major goals are only achieved when there is alignment between the executive-level goals and the departmental-level goals set by individual managers. Everyone has to be fighting the same fight and pulling in the same direction. In the same way, marketing agencies must be active players in the achievement of their client’s goals, and again, it’s important that all parties be working toward the same objectives. But after working on many campaigns together, agencies and their clients often lose that strategic goal-oriented thinking and instead fall into familiar routines. In that process, the marketing assets get detached from the marketing goals, resulting in the production of assets that may no longer serve a strategic purpose or achieve a measurable objective. This article addresses how you can better engage to help your clients stay goal oriented and create more effective assets.

Beware the marketing asset checklist

When a client kicks off a marketing campaign, they usually have a checklist of marketing assets that they want you to create, and they generally move ahead without questioning it. Years ago, that checklist may have been built around measured marketing objectives, and each item on the list represented an essential asset targeted for a specific purpose. But technology (and a certain pandemic) has changed the way consumers shop, make purchase decisions, and buy. This means that a company that is still marketing like it’s 2015 is almost certainly creating some ineffective assets out of habit, as well as missing opportunities to produce more effective assets geared toward modern consumers. And there’s the problem. Instead of working toward the goal—i.e., getting the right message in front of the right audience using the right assets—the focus is on checking items off the list.

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Align marketing assets with client goals

If you’ve been working with the same client for many years (or many campaigns), it may be time to organize a “goal meeting”—the same kind you likely had when you first began working together. Make sure the right people (decision-makers) are there. Consider an upcoming campaign, and establish some measurable goals for it, whether that be in terms of sales, profits, ROI, downloads, website traffic, new customers, etc. Review the checklist of assets for that campaign and discuss how each one is going to be used and how it contributes to reaching the established goals. Check for items that aren’t needed anymore. For instance, if you’re not doing live events this year, do you still need all those printed materials? Remove the assets that don’t pass muster, but look for opportunities to use new assets that you may be underutilizing, such as video and social media.

If your client isn’t on board for this discussion, you can still initiate the process based on whatever insight you have about the client. For instance, do you think your client is spending their time (and money) in the right places? Are they missing opportunities? Can you identify specific areas where marketing help is needed, such as lead generation or closing sales? Prepare a report and share it with the client. Even if they only agree with some of your findings, use that as an inroad to start the process of establishing some measurable goals with them and rethinking the assets required to achieve those goals.

Research the most effective assets

When considering which types of assets would best accomplish your client’s goals, a great resource is their own sales force. These are the people on the front lines, and they often have keen insights into the customer’s psyche. Ask them what they know about their customers online habits, social media and digital device preferences, and how they prefer to pay for things. Most importantly, find out what assets they want to be equipped with when they engage customers. If your client has a large salesforce, consider using a survey to gather this information. Make sure to give them the opportunity to comment freely. And, of course, make sure your client is on board with this idea before you begin interrogating their employees!

If interacting with the client’s sales team isn’t plausible, the next best alternative is to do some old-fashioned marketing research based on customer demographics. Find out as much as possible about their online preferences and how (and where) to best engage them. Do they prefer reading or watching videos? Texts or emails? When you begin creating assets that meet the customer where they are, they’ll get more exposure and generate more sales opportunities for your client.

Measure success

By this step in the process, you and your client should have a revised checklist of the marketing assets you’re going to create as well as how and where they’ll be used. Next, you’ll need to put into place the means to measure performance after the campaign begins. For instance, if the end goal of the asset is to drive traffic to a landing page or a website, someone will need to monitor web traffic. This can often be done through the client’s CRM platform, or it might require working with someone from their IT department.

To truly measure the effectiveness of an asset, it’s necessary to qualify the website traffic, that is, to separate the visitors who are genuinely interested from those who are just browsing. To do this, provide an opportunity for the user to download additional information, join a mailing list, or sign up for a free webinar. Those are your qualified leads, and they are a key performance indicator as to the success of the asset. Businesses often track multiple KPIs, including ROI, conversion rate, customer lifetime value, etc. Services like Google Analytics can provide in-depth insights and reporting about the people who visit your client’s website and what they look at when they’re there. Paid social media campaigns also include auditing tools so activity can be monitored enough to gauge its success.

Be aware that in the above scenario, the initial asset was only responsible for driving the consumer to the website. If that website experience is underwhelming, that once-hot prospect could cool down quickly. Avoid introducing any doubt by making sure all messaging, stats, pricing, and “promises made” are consistent across all marketing assets and the website.

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Future thinking

Any process you do repeatedly is bound to become routine and automatic, and that can be okay when none of the variables are changing. But we are entering a time when technology is moving exceptionally fast, continuously creating new avenues for consumers and new opportunities for businesses and service providers. These advances are changing the way things are bought and paid for and will necessarily change the way that businesses communicate with customers. As the marketplace evolves, it’ll be essential for you to work closely with your clients to find new ways to be successful, to set new goals and be capable of building whatever futuristic assets are required to achieve them. It’s incumbent for you to be able to advise and direct your clients through these quickly shifting sands.