Marketers: Increase Your Value by Shifting the Focus from Outputs to Outcomes
Whether you are a small business owner responsible for marketing, you are a marketing manager, or you are the VP of marketing at a Fortune 500 corporation, you are being held accountable every day for your decisions – by somebody. Small business owners answer to themselves, their partners and their families. Marketing managers answer to senior corporate management. And, VPs of marketing answer to the CEO, CMO or CFO.
As marketers, it is all too easy to get caught up in the fun side of what we do: thinking of new slogans, writing ads, launching new online campaigns, designing logos, and writing reports to show everybody what you are up to. At the same time, it can be easy to forget that ultimately our very existence in this position depends upon our doing the job in a way that makes a positive financial impact on the company.
At the very least, we need to be saving (or earning) the company more money than the company has to spend to keep us around. But, of course, if we want to stick around for a while, we really need to be hitting it out of the park on most days. Consistently. That means keeping our eyes on what’s important: business objectives and business financials.
A great way to figuratively splash some cold water on your face once in a while is to sit down with your CFO and have a chat. Or, if you are small business owner, review your P&L statement. These activities can force you to remind yourself that ultimately, behind the fluff, marketing is about helping your organization sell more stuff (or, for non-profits and government organizations: get more donations, save more trees, keep more local mouths fed, etc.) with the minimum possible capital outlay.
Sure, it’s also about those intangibles such as building brand awareness and creating community goodwill. But, even those activities need to serve the primary financial goal eventually.
As this informative Marketing Profs article puts it, you need to shift your focus from “measuring and communicating outputs to measuring and commuicating outcomes.” This is a subtle, but crucial, distinction. To help you conceptually untangle outputs from outcomes, here’s a sample list of each:
Output Statements –> Fine, but Insufficient. Examples:
All of the above are all very typical-sounding output-oriented statements.
Outcome Statements –> Should Always be Your Goal. Examples:
Do you detect a pattern of difference between the two set of statements?
Switch your focus from outputs to outcomes as a way to stay tuned in with what really matters in marketing: your short and long-term impact on company financials.