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Follow the money

Key #2 of 10 to Inspiring Action: 10 Keys to the Future of Marketing. Check out Measure the Runway for Key #1 and download our summary poster of the 10 Keys here.

Is it possible to beat your numbers and still fail?

Sadly, in this game called marketing it happens all the time. Boards speak one language, the CEO speaks another and marketing speaks yet another.

All of this tends to collide in discussions about key performance indicators, causing marketing budgets and chief marketer tenure to suffer while companies fail to achieve their full potential.

Bottom line is, if you don’t speak the language of money, you can never be sure and you can never be secure.

So, how do you learn to speak the language of value that your CFO, CEO and Board do?

How do you come to understand how they measure value? And how can you get to a crystal-clear understanding to guide your marketing?

First off, know that you’re in the business of accelerating value creation. When you deliver twice the new business value on every dollar you spend, marketing rises above the level of finance as a tool for growing business value, and you rise with it.

But how do you determine how your particular business builds value? After years of iterative experimentation, the experts on my marketing strategy team have discovered a proprietary process for uncovering the true value accelerators for any business model:

Ask.

Alright, it’s not very scientific… but the important thing, and the most neglected thing in the area of money, is to ask.

How do we create value? Is one dollar of revenue more valuable than another dollar? Is more revenue from a customer more valuable than more customers generating revenue? Is subscription revenue more valuable than single-purchase revenue? How does the enterprise really intend to grow? How does the organization measure the value it delivers?

If you don’t know the answers, then you don’t really know what the advertising and marketing communications are for. Not really. Yet most agencies won’t ask and they won’t help you find out. These key facts are too often missing from briefs.

Is it any wonder there are persistent disconnects between marketing and other senior management? And between agencies and clients?

Money can stitch us all together, and it should.

Next up: Key #3, Mine for the Growth Blocks

Treasure map photo by Steven Johnson