Commandment 7: Stop Wasting Resources

Companies want to earn profits, not just revenues. With more profits, the company can further create value-adding products and services and reach other markets. This cycle creates more customers. Digital marketing is not effective if it does not contribute to the bottomline.

This can only happen when you continuously add more value — which is rewarded by the customer with a purchase. A concrete sign of success in this happens when you get repeat purchases and referrals from that customer.

Profits, if you break it down to its components, is made up of revenues and expenses. The more revenues you make and the less expenses you have at any given period, the higher profits you earn.

A lot of marketing managers and CEOs still do not understand how digital marketing works. They have not yet realized that the internet has become a two-way street of communication. Marketing managers and CEOs often waste their resources by blindly spending on ads or hiring more people without having a proper knowledge on its effect and the return on investment.

This lack of understanding is the main reason why these managers often don’t achieve the results they intend to do. And if they do, they often go over-budget.

How to Stop Wasting Resources

Before going down into the details, below are two preparatory points you need to consider:

  1. The knowing-doing gap
  2. Managers are not only responsible to the organization, they are also responsible for the organization

Preparatory Points to Consider

The Knowing-Doing Gap

The knowing-doing gap is a widely prevalent problem is every organization. What it means is that you know that you have to do “this” but you don’t know how. It exists whether you admit it or not.

The knowing-doing gap is very dangerous because of two reasons.

First, if left unaddressed, it leads to people thinking it is ok not to do anything about a certain issue. The second, and far worse reason is that that person will do certain behaviors that could cause a bigger problem.

An example in management is about motivation. HR practitioners constantly tell managers to “motivate their team.” Managers already know they have to do this. But how exactly do you motivate a person?

Going back to an example in digital marketing — you know you’re supposed to use data to drive decisions. Digital marketing allows you to track virtually every action a person performs on your website, blog, and social media accounts.

The first step is acknowledging that the knowing-doing gap exists. A lot of managers and CEOs think they do understand digital marketing, but they don’t. Here’s an example I often use.

You saw a sudden increase in your website traffic. Is that a good thing or not? Marketing managers and CEOs who don’t understand the basics of digital marketing metrics will always answer yes.

But you know that’s not a “right” answer. Here are a few reasons why that is not a good thing:

  • Are you sure you filtered out your company’s internal traffic (i.e. visits by your employees?)
  • Are you viewing your website on your mobile devices? How often?
  • Have you applied a hacking defense mechanism in your Google Analytics account (i.e. did you exclude traffic that could have come from spam sites or hackers using your code?)

If you aren’t sure or if this is the first time you’ve heard about these scenarios, you have a lot of brushing up to do.

Managers Are Responsible FOR the Organization

No, that’s not just a play on words.

The meaning of the first statement is you are accountable for achieving the tasks, results, and targets given to you. This is true for everyone in the organization. As a function of you being an employee, you are accountable for doing these things.

The second statement, however, differentiates you — the manager — from the rank-and-file. As a function of you being a manager, you are also in-charge of growing it. You have to make sure that the future of the organization is secured.

That said, you do not do anything that could harm the future of the company. This includes taking short-cuts now which could only make things harder in the future.

3 Steps to Stop Wasting Resources

Step 1: Look at objective data

Stop guessing. This is commandment 3. Go ahead. Open the link and browse it again.

A good way to think about effective digital marketing is to move from “I think” to “I know.”

Don’t rely on your gut-feel. The greatest benefit of digital marketing is that practically everything is measurable. Make use of those data to drive your decisions. How you might ask? Here are some actions you can do easily:

Step 2: Iterate or Die

Ok, that was a bit dramatic.

But here’s basically what that mean: when you do something, you should always start with a goal (you already know that right?) and what you think would be considered a success. Now, when you perform your tests or run certain campaigns, you take the actual results (numbers) and measure them against your goal.

Limiting this example on your company’s online properties, here’s how it looks like again:

  1. Start with a fancy objective (e.g. increase brand awareness; traditional marketers love this)
  2. Break down that into actionable goals (e.g. build a community & get new and more people to visit your site)
  3. Define the metrics you should be measuring (e.g. likes, comments, and shares on website and social media & traffic of new visitors)
  4. Put a number to determine your success (e.g. combination of 500 likes, comments and shares & 5,000 new visits)

That wasn’t so hard right? That’s a shortened version of the Digital Marketing and Measurement Model by Avinash Kaushik.

From there, if your actual is greater than your planned, continue. But if your actual is less than your planned, revise. It is as simple as that.

The key point here is that you do not change your goals. You change the plan. Changing of goals when you fail is cheating. What’s worse is the effect this will have on your team. How?

Imagine your goal is to reach 15,000 views and 100 leads this month. However, your team only achieved 10,000 views and 50 leads. From there, you lower your future projections to accommodate this number.

This is a very wrong idea. Sadly, this is often the case.

What that does is it makes you feel good that you achieved your numbers this time (yey!). But it sends a signal to your team that “best effort” is okay (when in fact it is not).

In addition, apart from tolerating mediocre performance, the fact that you change your goal this time means there is a chance you will change it again the next month. Do this once or twice, your team will figure this out.

You will end up getting mediocre performance each time. When you set high goals, no one from your team will believe that that is the “real” goal because eventually you will lower it anyway.

Step 3: Don’t Be Afraid to Admit You Are Wrong

I’ve seen this over and over again.

Managers often put their personal preferences over company effectiveness. They “know” they are wrong. They know that this campaign will not work. But because that is the only thing they have been doing in the past, they will just do more of it. Here’s an example of a manager addressing the wrong issue that you might have seen if you are following me on LinkedIn.

In this example, the General Manager is madly in-love with promos or slashing off prices. In the past, it created short-term revenues. The succeeding month, they didn’t do any promo. Naturally, revenues dropped. So the next month, they created another promo. Again, revenues spiked. Then the next month they deferred. So, revenues dropped.

Now, the drop was lower than the previous one. Then the manager things, “ah, I must keep running promos so my revenues do not drop.”

What ends up happening is every month, promos keep happening. Months passed using that same strategy, the manager noticed revenues are still dropping. She scratches his head and wonder why. She thinks she must not be doing enough promos. So, what she does is churn out more promos.

Not only is this manager destroying the future of the company, she is putting her personal preferences over effectiveness.

Talk about being insane!

What did Albert Einstein said about insanity? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result each time.

Everyone makes mistakes. It is ok to admit to yourself, your team and your boss that you made a mistake. What you will have to do is redo the plan. Brainstorm a different approach and test it out. Again, use data for this. A great example is copyblogger’s facebook page.

They think it is not getting that much engagement. So they created goals and the measure of success. After months of working out their plan, they realized that it is a waste of their resources. They ended up closing the Facebook Page.

Peter Drucker warned us about investments in managerial ego where the successes of the past are still being carried out today. These activities have already lingered beyond their productive life, yet it’s still being done today.

Digital marketing enables managers and CEOs track everything. Use that data to your advantage. Every successful company uses data they gather to influence their decisions. If you keep relying on your gut-feel, you will eventually end up in the ditch.

Do you want that to happen to your company?

Do you want to be the cause of your company’s downfall because of your ego?

Ariel Lim

Ariel Lim

Management consultant / MBA / Inbound marketer who helps startups generate leads, create and execute strategies.

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