When you start to really consider it, it's really not rocket science. We tend to treat marketing as a separate entity from most other business processes. It's the promotional side of the house, tasked with pushing a message that gets you customers. And yet, that relative isolation can mean death to an effective marketing strategy.
Sure, we could tell you about the various digital marketing strategies bound to help your business succeed. In fact, we've done just that on this blog. And we wouldn't be lying, either. Social media, content marketing, and effective lead nurturing can do wonders for your customer acquisition. But even then, they still need to connect to your larger business goals. If they don't, you might as well pack it up and go home.
Consider the importance of a potential connection. Even at its simplest, a social media ad that links to your website means little. It might generate some awareness, and even some leads. But it will not ultimately lead to new business and loyal customers if your overall message, product, and priorities don't all line up together.
That alignment, in turn, requires a close cooperation and integration of goals. That sounds complicated. It doesn't have to be. In fact, these 5 simple steps can help you align your marketing and business KPIs to achieve sustainable business success.
1) Find the Connections Between Business and Marketing
First things first: you have to get on the same page. In this context, that means making sure everyone in marketing is aware of, and embraces, the larger business priorities.
That step might be as simple as internalizing the mission and vision statement. But it also pays to get more specific than that. Which of your marketing efforts can be directly connected to the larger strategic plan of your business? Which aspects of that strategic plan should be, but are not covered from a marketing standpoint?
Each of these questions will be crucial to answer. The more closely you can relate your marketing priorities to those of the organization as a whole, the better. Consider your marketing plan the sub-plot of the movie that describes the journey of your business.
2) Leverage Integrated Analytics for Comprehensive Success
At their best, analytics are more than just a buzzword that helps you determine the reach and engagement of your social media strategy. They're the tools you can use to track progress in business growth and marketing success, ultimately aligning them in the process.
Closely review your business and marketing KPIs, and you might find something surprising: they're not always that different. Consider this article by the Harvard Business Review, which lists true measures of success for organizations across industries. Surprise: the process of finding them is exactly the same for both marketing and business leadership.
If the goals are the same, are you making sure the ways you are measuring them are as well? Integrated analytics are as much about the systems you use to track them as the KPIs themselves. Look for a solution that gives leadership across the organization insight into your progress toward goal, both in marketing and business as a whole.
3) Get Everyone Talking
No shocker here. For true alignment, marketing has to be integrated into the larger organizational conversation, both on a strategic level and on the execution side. That might seem obvious, but still requires significant collaboration on all sides.
Don't be confused by headlines at publications like Forbes, proclaiming collaborative marketing to the "the next big thing." It always has been that big. It's just that now, as marketing is incurring greater responsibility across the business, that collaboration has begun to enter the spotlight in a way that wasn't the case previously.
What does that look like in real life? For starters, regular check-ins between marketing and business leaderships make sense. These check-ins could also expand to related departments like sales. The key here is not to bang the drum of your promotional tactics, but to ensure that these tactics are aligned with efforts occurring across the organization.
4) Conduct Periodic Reviews of Alignment
Setting up the framework for successful alignment is not enough. In addition, you should also set up a mechanism that allows you to periodically review how well that alignment is actually working in practice.
What those reviews look like depend on your organizational structure. You might hold regular presentations in which you show your progress toward organizational and marketing goals. It might occur in electronic forms, through dashboards and email communications. Either way, information sharing will be the core underlying principle of this step.
Let's be honest for a second here: no one particularly likes reviews. But that doesn't make them any less important. Simply put, communication is the key to ensuring successful alignment not just of data metrics, but organizational priorities and qualitative efforts. The more structured that communication, the more likely you will be to stick to it over time.
5) Work With a Partner Who Agrees With Your Marketing POV
Finally, don't underestimate the power of a potential partnership. Aligning your marketing and business KPIs might sound easy in theory, especially considering the natural fit of the above steps. Often, though, it is not.
All of the above require a comprehensive strategy. They require clear statements of priorities, and analytics that can clearly outline and track progress toward these priorities. They also require significant credibility on behalf of marketing from experts who know about its importance to the success of the business as a whole.
The right partner can help to provide all of that. Not just that, they can act as consultants that ultimately improve not just marketing, but business operations as a whole. That's the nature of true alignment.
We can be that partner for you. In fact, BOLD Worldwide has partnered with countless businesses on a sustainable marketing strategy that doesn't just seek to achieve its own KPIs, but expands those efforts to the entire business. Contact us to learn more about our process, and start the conversation to partner with us today.