Thinking Beyond ROI

A recent article talked about a marketing campaign intended to push traffic to a website, where consumers could make a purchase. Tracking showed that while the campaign was indeed driving people to the site, those people weren’t buying once they arrived. So the company shut the campaign down.
And online sales plummeted.

What the company misunderstood was customer behavior. Prompted by the campaign, prospects were going to the website to learn more. They rarely made a purchase…on that first visit. But they were returning later and buying. 

This is an easy and common mistake. You run a campaign — email, digital, print, outdoor, direct mail — but don’t see a measurable increase in sales as soon as you’d hoped. It’s tempting to assume that it’s not working and pull the plug.

But something is happening. That campaign is building brand awareness. It’s planting seeds. It’s putting you top of mind with your prospects. It’s helping them understand what you do…and why you’re better.

So when those prospects are ready — which may be later — they remember you. And buy from you. When you stop a campaign before it has the chance to grow legs, you lose all that accumulated benefit.

The ideal campaign gives you true ROI now — it pays for itself plus something on top of that — but also builds brand awareness for sustained growth moving forward.

As you think about what makes a campaign sustainable, here are four key ingredients.

1. The Look
Maintain a consistent look, feel and message across media and throughout the campaign. Same typefaces, colors, layout, etc. This helps your prospect’s brain retain those accumulated messages more easily.

2. The Message
Focus on the customer. Focus on the benefit. Repeat.

3. The Schedule
Find and maintain a schedule that keeps your message in front of your prospect at regular intervals. Don’t give them a chance to forget you.

4. The Difference
If you can’t set yourself apart from your competition, you can’t expect your prospect to. Know what makes you different, and drill that point home with every message.

ROI matters. But over the long haul, it’s your brand that will keep you in business. So keep it out there and make it easy to find. That’s when you’ll see some serious ROI.