For years my marketing outlook has been focused on outcomes, a philosophy that was shaped when I was at Tahzoo, working with John Kottcamp and Misia Tramp – when engaging with clients we always had a focus on the outcome of our engagements, what we could change and improve for that organization, not just the deliverables we would create. 

It’s always been easy to be distracted by techniques, strategies and channels, and by the executives that ask marketing to focus on these things, looking for outputs, not outcomes.

Back in the day it was a mobile strategy, random acts of social, (like a page on Pinterest), more thought leadership, more web hits or today’s fascination with things like Augmented Reality. But, as the early adopters discover, regardless of how much hype blows this into the boardroom, if this shiny new idea does not deliver a tangible outcome it will eventually die. 

This is the idea that is at the kernel of my current focus, that marketing activities need to be tied to business outcomes, the sort of thing the C suite cares about, not just vanity metrics, like web hits, social follows and such, but that marketing demonstrates real business value, a return on the investment.

Over the years I have distilled down the various things various C level executives have asked for from their marketing teams or the agencies that I have been a part of and they fall into three buckets, that I call ART (Awareness, Revenue and Trust) and each of them has a business outcome. 

You could argue about which is most important and this could be specific to each organization, I chatted to one CEO who felt that for his organization Trust was the most important, the struggle for an early stage startup I am working with is Awareness, similar with a charity I worked with and of course there is someone in every organisation that cares about Revenue.

The business outcomes of ART

  • Awareness – The business outcome is that right minimum viable audience know your solution is available to them to solve their problem. In B2B the whole world doesn’t need to know your name. If the right 10 people come to your website today and ordered a million dollars worth of the thing you do, you’d be made. 
  • Revenue – The business outcome is a no-brainer, in B2B marketing we don’t usually directly bring in revenue, so the outcome here is leads, not just the fresh stuff either, but the continued nurture of existing clients. 
  • Trust – A slightly harder business outcome to quantify standalone as its metrics are tied to the other two. If people don’t trust you, if you don’t keep your brand promise they won’t buy from you, give you reach by sharing your story or buy from you again. I’ve worked with organisations that put a lot of faith the NPS (Net Promoter Score), but also nothing beats just  asking people. Survey your employees and customers find out what they think and create your own trust index.

The important thing here is to apply this to every marketing activity, what does it do to move the outcomes needle, how does it create ART?

Photo by Keith Dodrill on Unsplash

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