Setting Marketing Expectations - Digital Fuel Podcast Episode 4

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Podcast Transcript

Kevin:
Hello and welcome to another edition of Digital Fuel Marketing podcast with Kevin and Matt. Welcome back Matt. I know we've taken a little bit of a break here, but I don't know about you, but I'm pretty excited to get back into this.
Matt:
I did too. I guess we're taking a break as we're coming up with so many great ideas for podcasts in the future.
Kevin:
Absolutely. Yeah, there's going to be some exciting stuff coming down the line. We're back at it. We're going to be looking at doing these weekly going forward, and we're hoping that everyone enjoys it and follows along with us.
Kevin:
So today we thought we were going to talk about marketing expectations, and what do we mean by that? Well, you know, setting expectations is a critical aspect of any marketing sales business initiative, in the sense that everyone's got to be on the same page and rowing together otherwise we're just going around in circles.
Kevin:
What we wanted to specifically talk about is the three core areas that marketing has either a direct impact or at least an influence on when it comes to growing your business. And those three, and they include if you have like an eCommerce or a SAS based program actually driving direct sales. So getting people on there, getting them to purchase or sign up for a paid subscription. If you have a more complexed sales process that involves salespeople getting involved, that the expectation there might be to generate and deliver leads to those sales team.
Kevin:
Then if you work in, let's say a retail or brick a mortar business where you're wanting to drive traffic to your store, your physical address, marketing might be focusing on brand awareness, who you are, where you are and what sets you apart to drive people in? What are your thoughts on that Matt?
Matt:
I think a lot of people listening to this might already have had an aha moment just by listening to you, in the sense that anytime I've spoken to people and talked to them about, "What's your goal?" They're like, "Well of course, we want to make more money, we want to get more business."
Matt:
Well, I think you've already explained in detail there, it's not always the case. Marketing responsibility is not always just to be driving sales, depending on what exactly you're involved in. So yeah, if you have an eCommerce store, that's definitely something that you're able to do directly to drive sales. There are some other obstacles there as well, we could probably get into as well. But there are different levels there. So it's not always like a one size fits all situation where marketing is here to just strictly drive sales for you.
Kevin:
Absolutely. I know you do a lot of work with your customers around brand awareness, retail awareness, things like that. When it comes to the marketing aspect of things, would it be fair to say that's kind of the lightest touch in terms of driving direct sales from it?
Matt:
Oh yeah, for sure. With B to C, so business to consumer retail, brick and mortar type stuff, that's the trickiest one to determine success. So when I talk about determining success, this is what this whole thing is about, figuring out expectations, figuring out what goals are, and trying to make sure everyone knows like it's not, like I said, a one size fits all situation.
Matt:
When we're driving something like a marketing campaign or strategy for a retail location, it's hard to find like a direct line for success. Unlike say, an eCommerce store. So an eCommerce store is like any sort of website that you can go on and just purchase the product or service really, but mostly product-based directly from the website. There's a direct line to determining success there. So, "We spent X amount of dollars doing this tactic and we got X amount of sales."
Matt:
Also, if we're looking at just lead generation, so trying to acquire contacts, so stuff that Kevin and I do with our own marketing companies, so trying to get people's name, phone number, email address, so we can reach out to them and go through our own process with them. There is more of a direct line between just determining success. We can see how many people came through one of the channels that we're working on, and then reached out to us via calling us, or through submitting a form, for instance.
Matt:
With retail, there is no direct line to determining success. I think that rattles a lot of people also. They're like, "Well, what are we doing this for?" So why are we doing any of this marketing stuff then? We're doing it for a couple things. It's specifically is brand awareness, and that sounds like a buzzword kind of nonsense thing, but it's about getting eyes on your brand.
Matt:
It's about introducing your brand or store to people. It's about getting people onto your website. It's about getting you top of mind, if and when it comes time for them to purchase from you. Hopefully we get people into the store coming through the door, purchasing from you, but realistically, like I said, like that's not marketing's responsibility. We're responsible for awareness and in a lead generation sense, we're responsible for quality qualified leads.
Matt:
Hopefully people are going to purchase from you from a retail perspective, but unfortunately, it's not marketing's responsibility. There's a whole bunch of things that can go into someone actually purchasing from you, especially if you're trying to get them into your store, into your facility, into wherever you're selling your product or service even.
Matt:
If we do a great marketing campaign and someone gets on your website that you made, and they don't like it, is that the fault of our marketing? If we did a great marketing campaign and someone wasn't able to get to your store at a certain time because they didn't really like the hours, is that the marketing's fault?
Matt:
What about location? Maybe they don't want to drive to where you're located. Maybe they're just in like a bad mood because it's Monday morning and snowing terribly, and no one wants to leave their house and they're just kind of like in a crummy mood, that's not marketing's fault.
Matt:
Maybe you're downtown, like Main Street and parking is an issue. That's not marketing's fault. Maybe, unfortunately your prices aren't great. Maybe, unfortunately, no one wants to tell you this, but your service might not be as good as you think it is, or maybe you've got a bad apple in the bunch. That's not marketing's fault if people didn't purchase from you.
Matt:
Maybe you don't have the selection that they need. Maybe the stock isn't there. All of those things are not the fault of marketing, and we did our job to create brand awareness, get people on the website, maybe going to the store, but because that doesn't reflect in sales, that's unfortunately not marketing's fault.
Kevin:
Yeah. Well said, Matt. Now I guess one of the questions that I'll throw it back to you too is because I mean at the end of the day as business owners, we need to be able to track some kind of effectiveness, right? Not many of us have a ton of disposable income that we can just put into hopes and dreams that things will work.
Kevin:
I guess that's one of the reasons in a lot of retail applications you always get asked by the clerk when you're checking out, "How did you hear about us? If it's like through our Facebook page," or something like that. So what are some other ways that we can track this and track how well things are going?
Matt:
Yeah, so the funniest thing about that, in my experience, whenever you have like a clerk or cashier that asks like, "Oh, how did you hear from us?" Even from a service perspective, it doesn't matter where they came from online, they'll say, "Google." It doesn't matter if they saw a Facebook ad, an Instagram posts, they searched for you. Everyone just associates Google with the internet, and that's what they'll tell you, which really doesn't help you.
Matt:
So it's extremely difficult to do those types of things. I definitely encourage it, it's worthwhile, but it's not like the be all, end all. When it comes to actually like tracking success from a B to C retail perspective, there are definitely ways to do it. If you are getting an increase in sales and you weren't doing marketing a year ago, common sense would dictate that the marketing campaign is working in some way, but there are other things we can look at, of course.
Matt:
So things like engagement on social media, if that's something you're doing. So comments, likes, it's a little bit more vanity, it's like a small piece of the puzzle there. Same thing with followers, like if you're seeing an increase in followers with your social media. Things that I'm more interested in seeing though, that are a bit more less vanity I suppose are, how many people from those social media posts are actually going to your profile? So beyond just seeing a pretty picture and clicking on it, are they checking out your profile to learn a little bit more about it?
Matt:
Then beyond that, are you seeing an increase in social traffic? Are you seeing an increase in your traffic on Google? So are people coming in and searching for you and your brand on Google later? Are you seeing an increase in your direct traffic? So people that are coming back to your website directly? So www.whateveryourwebsiteis.com.
Matt:
Finally, this is kind of silly, this is a little bit hopes and dreams, but that's something ... how I built my own business is, I kind of ask people for a gut check. "Does the stuff that we've started doing recently, does it seem more authentic to you?" Like, "The social media stuff that we were doing previously, does this still represent your brand? Does it look better? Does it feel better? Is the quality there?"
Matt:
Sometimes just like an increase in the quality of the work that's being done will have like a small trickle-down effect on your actual business as well. It's hard to measure that, but as the business owner or the marketing rep, you know in your gut whether things have improved or not, at least from a quality perspective.
Kevin:
Awesome. Awesome. Well said. Before we move on to the lead generation side of marketing campaigns and expectations. Anything else to close out the awareness side Matt, before we move forward?
Matt:
No, that was flawless.
Kevin:
Yeah, I think so. I'll give you a nine out of 10, maybe. But anyhow, let's talk about lead generation because that's something I love. That's something that we focus on with about 95% of our customers, and it's really kind of the most common challenge that we get asked about as marketers.
Kevin:
When it comes to lead generation, this is typically more for companies with a complex sales process. So you know, when we talk about complex sales, it's not an inexpensive SAS based product where I can try it out for 30 days for 9.99, right? People will just try that out on their own. Typically, it doesn't require a salesperson there leading, right?
Kevin:
It's not like going into a store to buy a new shirt where you go in and you kind of self-serve yourself, you try it on, you see what you like, and you go to the cashier to check out. Lead generation tends to be more for companies that are selling services or complex products that need a lot more education around them.
Kevin:
So really what we're trying to do with these is drive a conversation, drive people to engage with the salespeople. That could be someone calling into your office, that could be somebody filling out a form on your website, downloading contact or content, interacting, reaching out through social, things like that.
Kevin:
I think what's really important when it comes to lead generation, and this is where I see the biggest frustration, and Matt I'll ask you to weigh in on a second too, but the biggest frustration is that you need to set sub-expectations within the lead generation category. Because all too often, we get the finger pointing between a sales and a marketing team because marketing says, "We're giving you all these great leads but sales is doing nothing with them."
Kevin:
Sales says, "Well, no, we're not getting leads. All these leads are garbage. They're not ready to buy anything from us." And that's because the term, lead, is just way too broad, right? It's something that we just use like the term Kleenex for tissue. Really, you need to set out your expectations around what is a lead? How are we going to qualify the different stages or types of leads, and what are we really after?
Kevin:
Because if somebody reads an e-book or a white paper that you've posted, it doesn't mean that they're necessarily ready for a salesperson to get on the phone with them, push for a demo or things like that. They might just need to be nurtured some more, right? Using tools like marketing automation to push blog articles out to them, email marketing pieces, until they are ready to buy.
Kevin:
Then on the flip side, you're going to have people who fill out, or who request a demo page, contact us, things like that, where they're really putting up their hands and saying, "Hey listen, I want to speak to somebody in sales." I think as a team, if you guys aren't laying out a service agreement between the two and understanding what the goals and the expectations between which types of leads you're looking to drive, that's where you're going to get a lot of friction in the sales process. What do you think Matt?
Matt:
Yeah, like don't even talk to marketing at that point about, "I want a hundred leads," or whatever until you know what those leads look like. We can send you a hundred people, I'm sure, budget also in mind, but I'd rather have 10 really good leads, like someone that's interested and wants to talk to sales, have a demo, has questions for the sales team, versus like a hundred tire kickers, right? Or people that are not your target demographic and audience.
Matt:
That's probably much more important at this point than like understanding the numbers as well. Sales is always going to want people that are ready to purchase. That's what they think a good lead is. They want someone that's going to pick up the phone like, "Hey Mr. Salesman, I'm ready to purchase right now."
Matt:
So like you do need to make sure that there's a conversation there with the marketing team and sales because if otherwise, sales typically will just run right over everything. You need to make sure that you're having those conversations and make sure that you're having your voice heard about like, well no, there is still a role and a responsibility of the sales team to answer these questions and give someone a demo, or talk about their services, and go through negotiations, and all that kind of stuff.
Kevin:
Yeah, I agree with you. I think when you have those activities or those conversations taking place, if you have your sales and marketing teams both internally, those go a lot easier, right? Because typically just through cross-office talk, everybody's on the same page for the most part in the organization.
Kevin:
Where it becomes more challenging is if you outsource either of those roles, sales or marketing. You could interview different marketing firms who come in and they could say, "Yeah, you know what? We on average deliver 50, 60, 70 leads per month to customers."
Kevin:
But what does that number mean? Does that mean, you know, as you said, tire kickers, people who are reading your information, who are at that early stage of their buying process where they're just trying to understand, "Is that product or service right for me?"? Or are those people who are saying, "Yeah, I want to have a meaningful conversation with salespeople and engage actually as an opportunity or a sales process."
Matt:
Yeah, for sure. Then at what point after that sort of determined on what's a good lead or a good contact and everyone agrees, at what point do you start talking about specific numbers with people? Maybe not like exact numbers like, "Oh, yeah we're going to generate 10 leads or a hundred leads," but like what kind of benchmark metrics do you talk about?
Kevin:
Yeah, I think it's important if you are doing a lead generation campaign, and there is value in getting both types of leads. So tire kickers who are higher up the funnel because we can start to nurture them and they can start to build their ideal solution around your product or vision because you're the first people in there, but it's going to be a longer process.
Kevin:
Those bottom of the funnel people who are ready to buy, obviously we want to see more numbers down there because those usually result in more net new sales and a faster process. So when we look at metrics and when we set up these campaigns, we want to be able to identify quickly and easily what type of person this is when they interact with our site.
Kevin:
If you're using any kind of a marketing platform like a Pardot, or a HubSpot, an Infusionsoft, any of those types of ones, I really encourage people to set up lead tracking on their different types of forms. So if you've downloaded an e-book, we're going to identify that you're just at that high level, that early lead stage so that we can then put you into a campaign to nurture you accordingly.
Kevin:
But if you filled out a what we call, Bomb, or the funnel type form. So you put your hand up saying, "I want to have a demo. I want to speak to somebody about this product." We need to identify that because we want to get that in the hands of a salesperson and get that responded to ASAP. So being able to identify where people fall based on how they're interacting with your site is an important thing.
Kevin:
You can get into more complex tracking if you've got the tools for it. So things like lead scoring, right? So you can assign points based on how people interact with your website and online content. So are people, looking at my pricing page and our contact us page?" Well they're probably a better fit than somebody who looked at our build us page and retweeted something from us, right? So lead scoring, lead stage tracking are two important things to set up. Yeah, did I answer your question there Matt, or did I just go off on way too much of a tangent?
Matt:
Well, yeah, I don't want to pat you on the back too much, but yeah, that makes sense, I suppose. I was also thinking about like conversion rates. So at that point once you've decided, "Okay this is a good lead." How many people am I going to probably receive as a lead based on say the amount of traffic I've got to my website? So conversion rate is basically the amount of people that have become a lead, divided by the amount of people that have been on the website, for instance.
Matt:
So typically, like any sort of benchmark is recorded by industry. I like to always lean back on anywhere from like three or 4% is a pretty good average benchmark. 3% is good, and anything about 4% is way above average and you'll be extremely happy.
Matt:
I remember one time being in a client meeting, and this account was already in a tailspin. This was a couple of years ago. The client was arguing with us that like, "We should be getting our conversion rate up too 50%," and I'll never forget like me and the other person that were in the room were just like, "This guy is just completely spinning off this planet." They basically thought that like, "If anyone's on our site, they should like it so much and why else would they be there other than to reach out and connect with us, and we better find a way to get to 50%?"
Matt:
I was just like, "Buddy, it's never ever, ever going to happen. You could put the greatest marketing minds in the room together. It's just not the nature of the beast." Like it's just not understanding marketing processes or more so even sales processes. So I always found that fascinating, and I think that's really important to tell people, because I've also sat in rooms when they've seen like a three or 4% conversion rate and they're like, "Well that's awful." And I'm actually like, "You know what, that's actually really good, and it's right on where it should be?"
Matt:
So it's always good like I said to kind of ... like we're talking about, is keep those expectations and kind of talk about them right away within that first conversation that everyone has with the sales and marketing teams.
Kevin:
That's a good point, and I think something to keep in mind when you talk about the three to 4%, and that's the average that we typically use, or we try to get down to industry specific, if we can find those, or have enough people in that industry to make something meaningful, but it's exactly, that's an average, right?
Kevin:
For a really, really targeted ads campaign with a really great landing page, you can probably see higher than that three to 4%, and you probably should be seeing higher than that, but people coming in on a blog page might just read that one article and take off. So it's an average across everything that you're doing in your marketing campaign.
Kevin:
It's not to say that getting two to 3% on a really highly targeted landing page is great. There's room for improvement there, but when you take it across the entire site, yeah, we typically use 4%. The other thing too to keep in mind is, what is the market cap for that industry as well, right? Because that's another area that we see a lot of people with misconceptions where they say, "You know what, there should be 100,000 people on our website every month?"
Kevin:
But then when you break down the keywords that are related to their industry, there might only be 2,000 people a month searching for that type of product in their country or in their service area, and not all 2,000 of those people are actually going to click on their link. I don't know what number you use Matt, but typically what we see is that if you take the total traffic, our vision is to try to get to about 8% click through on your search key phrases.
Kevin:
You take that number, you take it by your estimated conversion rate and there is your ceiling for leads, more or less. You can work on improving your SEO to get more of those click throughs. You can work on your conversion rate on the website to convert more of those people. But if there's not 10,000 people a month searching for your product and services, that's never going to end up on your site.
Matt:
Yeah. I tell people like what we're doing is reactive marketing in a way. We're not always able to convince people to search for us on Google, but our goal is to make sure that when they do, we are being found for it. That's my goal as the marketer. I'm not able to always take those 2,000 people and make it twice as much, three times as much, or whatever. But the goal is to get those 2,000 people to see you.
Matt:
Let's say, I don't know what the number is, but let's say the goal is all the time. And then of course like then we'll see a lower click through rate. But anyway, like the goal when we're looking at this stuff is reactive and getting in front of those people that are searching for you.
Kevin:
Absolutely. So let's talk about kind of the last way and the most direct way that marketing can influence growth and revenue, and that's driving direct sales through eCommerce stores or SAS based platforms. Because as you said earlier, Matt, there really is a direct line between the marketing efforts and the results, right?
Kevin:
So if we run an ad campaign on LinkedIn, as an example, and we have a very, very targeted campaign to a very specific audience to a very relevant landing page where we're getting people to sign up for a 30-day paid trial of the software, we can track that very, very accurately and report back on how much revenue each marketing campaign has actually produced.
Matt:
Yeah, for sure. So I still think there are issues with that when it comes to seeing a direct line, there are still obstacles. I think back on, I don't do a ton of eCommerce platforms where we're driving direct sales for a website, but almost any time I have worked with it, some of the biggest problems that we've uncovered have been because of those obstacles I talked about previously.
Matt:
So poor messaging or pricing, or like for instance free shipping is a big thing, and if you're not mentioning that on your website, you'll see less sales. However, like you said like eCommerce, you are going to see a much more direct line, as in there is less of a touch point from sales or the company, it's usually people come in from an ad or social media, or from Google, or whatever the channel, and they actually are able to just go ahead without really communicating with you, or the company, or sales and make that actual type of purchase.
Matt:
It is funny though, like you still expect ... we talked about numbers previously, and I don't want to throw around too many numbers because I get bored and confused by numbers, so I just assume everyone else does, but like-
Kevin:
No, it's just you who gets confused by numbers, Matt.
Matt:
Thanks for that comment. Thanks for the contribution. But we talked about from lead generation, three or 4% of people actually converting and becoming a lead. It is interesting that if you do look at most benchmarks from an eCommerce perspective, that average purchase rate is like closer to 1% though, if I'm correct, which also goes to show you that there are those obstacles, there is a sales process for people and a buyer journey, I guess I should be talking more about.
Matt:
Where just because they're not a sales team and they have questions, people are always going to purchase from you right away. They're going to click on that ad. They're going to leave. They're going to maybe go to a competitor. They're going to go check out you on Facebook. They're going to get confused and lost, and then start like stalking an ex-girlfriend on Facebook.
Matt:
Then they're going to go check something else out. There's a big journey there for people, and it's not always that direct line of clicking an ad, purchase today. So it's just interesting to see different channels affect conversion rate, different platforms as well, and what the ultimate goal is. So eCommerce versus lead generation, versus retail.
Kevin:
I agree with you absolutely. I think the marketer's responsibility for an eCommerce or SAS based, or a direct purchase type of service or website, is really focused on conversion rate optimization. I think that's got to be their first and foremost strategy and kind of go-to tactic, because for the exact reasons you were talking about there, Matt, right, is that maybe the messaging isn't right? Maybe the Buy Now button isn't in the right place. Maybe free shipping isn't listed. By doing A to B testing and conversion rate optimization, that's going to be one of the most effective ways of moving that needle when it comes to converting people to online sales. What do you think?
Matt:
Yeah, absolutely. It's making sure that you're hitting best practices, not trying to reinvent the wheel and do something that's different and unique from a buying journey situation. I think it's all about making sure you have a clean, concise, sound marketing strategy paired up and including, like we said, landing pages, pages on the site for your products. Making sure that journey when people go to purchase something makes sense, and they're not buying a T-shirt and having to go through 10 different flaming hoops to get it. I think all of that's important when it comes to this kind of thing.
Matt:
I guess bottom line maybe just to wrap it up is making sure that we're having clear expectations and a clear understanding of like, what are we doing? Why are we doing it, and then how we're going to get there? Because if we're focused on how we're going to get there, we're going to forget the ultimate thing, which is what are we trying to do in all of this?
Kevin:
Absolutely, and the theme of our podcast, which is to bring concise and useful information, I think this is about the time to kind of wrap up this conversation. I think we hit on all these topics in a meaningful way. Hopefully we did. People will let us know for sure if we didn't, but I think talking anything more about it past here would just be kind of filler and kind of going against our brand for this.
Kevin:
So Matt, again, thanks. This is awesome. If we want to learn more about what Matt or myself do, you can always check out Matt's website at mattygdigital.com, or Think Fuel Marketing at thinkfuel ... No, what's my website? Matt? Think Fuel not today.
Matt:
Yeah, or mattygdigital.com. That one's probably better.
Kevin:
What did I say?
Matt:
Mattygdigital.com.
Kevin:
Okay. Anyhow, let's try this again.
Matt:
Mattygdigital.com.
Kevin:
No, no. Okay. It's kind of close. Okay.
Matt:
Mattygdigital.com.
Kevin:
We're good, right?
Matt:
So I was literally just making fun of you this whole time. You said it right. I just want to make sure people remembered my email, or my website.
Kevin:
Yeah. No, we're not just wrapping it-
Matt:
We're keeping that. We're not editing this.
Kevin: Yes, we are.
Matt:
If we edit this, I'm off the podcast.
Kevin:
All right. Fine. Then we'll leave this. So closing remarks before we end this up. Everyone should visit, thinkfuel.ca instead of mattygdigital.com. Again, thinkfuel.ca. Take that, Matt. Have a good day.
About Author
Kevin D'Arcy

As our Chief Marketing Enthusiast, Kevin strives to provide clarity, honesty, and unique insights into every one of our engagements. Kevin helps companies improve their lead generation, enhance customer acquisition, and increase revenue. With over 18 years of inbound and content marketing experience with B2B technology companies, Kevin brings a straightforward approach to marketing with results that can be measured. He also has the most adorable hound dog that frequently comes to work with him.