The 5 Questions
It’s time to get the results you deserve
How does our digital marketing align to the overall business objectives and sales process?
There are a few steps that you need to be aware of before you can sensibly ask this question. Spoiler alert, that is part of the reason it is so powerful. In order to ask this question ‘How does our digital marketing align to the overall business objectives and sales process?’, first you must be very clear about what your business objectives are. You can’t expect anyone in your team to deliver against an objective that is unknown. If you don’t know where you are going and end up at the right place, I would suggest this was pot luck at best.
Of course, you may have a very clear vision of where your business is heading. You may have written down objectives for the coming year and beyond. Have you communicated them to your digital marketing team? And then have they communicated them back to you. In their own words? Essentially, do you have evidence or just a feeling that they truly understand what you need from them? Only once you get to this level can you ask the question.
But what about the answer? You don’t need to fully understand all the intricacies of digital marketing to understand whether what you are being told makes sense. There are some basic understandings that will help, but it is the role of your digital marketer to explain how the selected digital marketing strategies and activities align to your business objectives. Once they explain the outcomes of each, you will see if the outcomes are aligned with the outcomes you need. If your digital marketer says that they will optimise your website and instead of receiving 10 enquiries, you will receive 15, you don’t need to know how to optimise a website, just that you are expecting 5 additional enquiries and how that aligns to your business strategy.
The main thing that has just changed by asking this question is that you have become far clearer on what you need. You have more confidence that your digital marketers understand that need and they have had a mindset shift to being focused on what you need rather than what digital marketing offers. This 180-degree change of view is critical to your success.
What processes do we follow, and which KPIs do we monitor to achieve continuous improvement?
For digital marketing to be successful in the long term, it needs to be following a process and not just ad hoc. Your digital marketers should lead you on what that process is. Your main requirement here is the outcome, not the process. Asking the question implies that you expect them to follow a process and it forces them to create a process for your digital marketing. This often feeds into KPIs.
With KPI’s again you need to focus on the ones that matter to your business objectives. If you go any deeper than that, make sure they are one level below and have a valid reason to be there. Only KPI’s that have an immediate effect on the things that matter to your objectives should be included.
For example, if you know that you need 20 enquiries per month, this will be a KPI. You should know the break even and target cost per enquiry. That is another KPI. But to break this down into the cost per enquiry by source is a level down. Target your digital marketers with cost per enquiry and they should then use their Performance Indicators to move budget around to optimise this.
The 5 questions are not designed to allow you to micro manage. They are there to put you back in control of what you should be in control of and that is the outcomes and how they relate to your business objectives.
What activities do we carry out to improve our online reputation, and how are we seen by the outside world?
It is quite fitting that this one is at the end as it is often an oversight in many organisations. People rarely see the potential damage on sales results that neglecting your online reputation has. I’m not even sure people look for themselves unless someone utters the words ‘have you seen what that disgruntled customer has written on your Google page’. It is at that point that the business wakes up to the fact that anyone can post anything about them online.
Your digital marketer can and should be proactive in building up a very strong and positive online reputation that can withstand any unfortunate comments. They should also be monitoring any comments and replying correctly to them. This means positive or negative.
What you need to know is the headlines and maybe any negative comments that could do with your intervention. Mainly though, you can just set another KPI based on something like your Star Rating average across various monitored platforms. This is something you can target your digital marketing team with, but remember, if your delivery doesn’t live up to your sales pitch, even the best digital marketer will struggle to improve or even maintain a 5-star rating.
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