Marketing efficiency: The Marketing Operations Metric that needs work

Posted by Mariana Morales on October 30, 2015 at 9:09 PM

In marketing efficiency, marketing strategy

Marketing efficiency is a statistic that marketing agencies and small marketing departments are starting to pay more attention to.  This indicator has become a great tool for executives to measure the performance of an agency and its staff, but marketers need to review how to effectively utilize it.

 

What is Marketing Efficiency?

For those new to the marketing operations and marketing efficiency world, marketing efficiency is the rate at which campaigns get completed on-time and within a certain budget.  The numbers for the formula come from the amount of money and time the marketing agency or marketing department needs to create a campaign vs. the amount of money needed to promote it.

 

The Problem with marketing operations and marketing efficiency

The efficiency measurement provides a good estimate of how well a marketing agency or marketing department gets strategies out the door, but it comes out short due to one major flaw. It paints an incomplete picture of the work of what a marketing agency or marketing department is supposed to do – generate business opportunities. 

With this in mind, leads and sales are the fundamental indicators - and considered by marketing agency customers and marketing departments as the gold standard for measuring marketing success.  Getting a steady diet of leads and sales requires more than just being efficient at the tasks at hand of the previously-developed strategy.  It takes a strong balanced relationship between marketing strategy and marketing efficiency to produce meaningful results.

 

Never lose focus on the goal

Whenever a marketing strategy is implemented, it’s beneficial that everyone understands the goal of the campaign and the costs to implement it.  Marketing departments and marketing agencies are notoriously bad at keeping track of numbers and staying within budget.  Marketing agencies relying on freelancers to implement client campaigns are doomed to failure from the start because their own costs to implement the campaign aren’t fixed.  Marketing departments relying on expensive third-party agencies to implement campaigns will face the same issues when they want to tweak the campaign and the agency wants to increase costs as a result.  Most agencies cost a marketing campaign as if they are building a house – and every iteration/deviation from the blueprint results in a change order. 

To avoid cost escalation it’s very important that agencies and short-handed marketing departments get a handle on their marketing efficiencies – the how of how their marketing gets done.  However, the why the marketing campaign gets done is the strategy itself.  And, yes, marketing strategy is still the far more important discipline than marketing efficiency.

 

Productivity is king but ROI will always take the crown

The implementation of faster and more powerful technological tools has made it easier for marketing agencies and marketing departments to get campaigns in motion faster.  And, it’s made it easier to track effectiveness. 

But just because marketing agencies and marketing departments have more tools at their disposal doesn’t guarantee efficient marketing operations.  Particularly if the strategy isn’t right.    A good marketing strategy is only as good as the sums of its parts and each piece should be treated and handled with the same dedication. This argument clashes with the idea that being more efficient will translate in a more effective result. 

In marketing, nothing is set in stone and one of the keys to get results is to test a lot and test often.  That’s where marketing efficiency comes into play.  Having the ability to ‘fail at scale’ is really important in the marketing world.  That way, you can quickly find out what works, what doesn’t and tweak your marketing strategy accordingly.  So when a more productive and efficient strategy is executed, the more likely are its chances of generating a higher ROI.  After all, marketing agencies and marketing departments need to prove ROI for their efforts. 

Yes, an organization like Computan can help your marketing department and marketing agency by streamlining your marketing operations and marketing efficiency.  This will help get campaigns up in the air on a forecastable budget without surprises.  Which is definitely valuable.   But rest assured marketing support teams aren’t a replacement for marketing strategy.  That needs to come from the agency or marketing department that breathes the customer or business’ brand every day.

 

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