Manage Your Marketing Portfolio

When clients want to know the most important things they can do to improve their Lead Generation Program results, I tell them to do the ones that are most effective first, and keep doing them until they can’t produce anymore. Then add activities to the marketing mix in order from the best to the worst performers.

To do this you need to start by getting common metrics on all of your marketing activities, such as the cost per lead or the cost per qualified lead and the number of leads produced. Then sort the activities from best to worst. When we do this exercise for clients, we typically find that their web site is the top performer followed by organic search, paid search and house email list programs. This is consistent with research we’ve seen from Marketing Sherpa and other researchers.

Of course, you need to execute these programs well in order to get good results, but that’s the subject of another post. You also can’t ignore up and coming marketing techniques such as Social Media Marketing. It’s critical to build testing into your budget to find new techniques that can turn question marks into stars.

Back in the early 1970s the Boston Consulting Group came up with a concept for helping clients determine which product lines a company should put its resources behind. Markets were identified as high growth or low growth, and products were classified by whether they used cash or generated cash. “Stars” were promoted, “dogs” were divested, “cash cows” were harvested to support other initiatives, and “problem children” were monitored carefully in the hope they would become “stars.” But obviously the risk remained that they would turn out to be dogs.

You can use this same approach to managing your portfolio of marketing programs. Build a 2X2 matrix with cost/lead on the horizontal axis and lead production on the vertical axis.

When you get your programs organized this way, you’ll quickly realize where you’ll need to focus your efforts. First, invest in the stars to see if these can pull in all of the leads you need. Second, work on the cows. If you can find a way to get these low cost techniques to build volume, you can turn them into stars. Next, focus on your problem children. These might be high producers that are expensive but if you can bring the cost/lead down they can also turn into stars. Finally, think hard about the dogs. Do you really need them in your mix?

If you are interested in learning more, feel free to read this Lead Gen Planning guide. http://www.nowspeed.com/resources/white-papers/marketing-mandates

I’d be very interested in your thoughts on this approach and which techniques are Stars, Cows, Problem Children or Dogs for you.

David Reske

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