base marketing tactics on goals and benchmarksOver the last several months in conversation with clients and prospects alike, this is a common statement: “I just need someone to help connect the dots.” What dots exactly? Marketing tactics. An online presence that includes a website, social media, online advertising, video, email and content marketing. Offline tactics, including brochures, direct mail and tradeshows. The phones are ringing, and you might have a bot chatting away.

But not just the marketing tactics. It’s also a question of connecting those tactics to your overall marketing strategy and the resulting return on investment. You can implement tactics until the world ends, but are any of them really working? It used to be that if you looked at your sales numbers and they were on the positive side, that was good enough. But now in an increasingly global society where you constantly have a competitor at your cyber doorstep, you have to be able to show your CEO what tactics are generating the best ROI and how you’re responding to quickly changing market realities.

marketing tactics should refer to tangible goalsThese are the dots looking for connection. Here’s how to get started.

Create Tangible Goals

Don’t just say that you need more leads or that you need to increase profit. Exactly how many new leads do you need to hit your profit goal? What does the right lead look like? Don’t go for volume, go for the right fit. Once you have that tangible goal, ask yourself: “How do we get there? What is the customer’s journey to purchase from us?” Set benchmarks for each stage of that buying process.

measure goals against marketing tacticsMeasure Your Tactics

If you’re not measuring anything, it’s a perfect time to start. Use tracking links. Monitor user behavior. Ask for information from your prospects. Once you start measuring your marketing tactics, you can truly evaluate where your marketing energy is best spent. Rather than simply chopping things off your marketing-tactic list because you don’t think social media or a blog ever amounted to a lead, measurement offers data that should guide your decision making.

perform market research to fine tune marketing tacticsPerform Market Research

More often than not we tend to think that we know our target market inside and out. It’s because we talk to our customers. We ask them questions. And those insights are invaluable. What about the people that you don’t have as a customer? Making decisions based on the “focus-group-of-one” model has never worked for anyone. Ask your marketing team what your potential customers are searching for. Where are they hanging out online and offline? Conduct an industry survey. Ask your partners and vendors for demographic data. The world is full of information, you just need to start asking for it.

put the pieces together marketing tactics and sales goalsPut It All Together

Take those insights you’ve learned to refine your creative and messaging. Does your audience watch a lot of video? Shoot more video. Is your audience highly mobile? Make sure your website is mobile-friendly. Are your prospects actively searching for ways to make their business more efficient? Show them how you can help. Create content that reaches across each stage of the purchase journey and target appropriately. Match your benchmarks to each of these areas.

how to measure marketing tacticsCool. So How Do I Do All of This?

A recent Dunn & Bradstreet survey found that 80 percent of B2B marketers use web analytics and their content management system (CMS) to help report tactics. Both offer great places to start, but they just scrape the surface. If there’s one thing you could do to better your business data, it would be to start activating your customer relationship management (CRM) platform. Don’t have one? Get one. You’ll find lots of options, from legacy CRMs like Salesforce and Hubspot or newer ones like Zoho and Sales i. The CRM is the tool that matches marketing impact against your tangible goals.

After activating your CRM, it’s all about creating focused landing pages and points of engagement that serve as triggers within your buying process. These triggers are logged against prospects, leads and opportunities and, voilà, six months down the road, you’ll start to see some valuable insights.

I’ll admit that this is a simplified version of how it all works. The point is that you’re completely capable of doing this. The one thing you might be missing, though, is a data-driven individual to make sense of everything. In fact, 30 percent of B2B marketers say that they lack the data expertise to unite tactics with results. They need someone to help with that.

The Time is Now

It’s November. It’s time to start connecting the dots and aligning your marketing and sales data. Yes, these two worlds really can form a beautiful relationship. Use your end-of-year planning to start integrating your systems. Companies that implement a data-first approach to create a more tailored purchase journey see the difference in their bottom line. The investment is worth it. And if you are looking for that data-driven team to help you make sense of it all, give us a ring. We love to make connections.

This column originally appeared in the Nov. 1, 2018 issue of BlueSky Business Aviation News.