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How to Let Go of the Marketing Magic 8-Ball

It’s impossible to predict the future. But for business leaders who are getting inconsistent results from their current processes, it may feel as if the future is so up in the air, they might as well consult a voodoo priest or a magic 8-ball.

Even the most experienced marketers fall prey to launching campaigns with no KPI’s in place, only looking at the simplest metrics and relying on unsteady facts. They then stand back, crossing their fingers in hopes that their efforts will yield results, but really end up falling further behind as they scramble to make sense of their results.

There is nothing to be gained from taking a shotgun approach to your business. I always advocate for taking the time now to set up your benchmarks so you know you’re actually measuring the right things – regardless of when “now” is.

Having a plan in place is not about predicting the future, but rather, about improving your decision-making when similar situations arise down the line based on data – not a hunch. If you find yourself shaking the 8-ball, you’re looking for guidance in all the wrong places. But you can still get inspired to change from what that little floating triangle tells you.

When the magic 8-ball says, “outlook good.”

Success can create just as many problems as failures if an organization doesn’t properly categorize it. Okay, great, you won a key account or helped a client score big this quarter…now what? Are you going to sit back and rest on your laurels, assuming things will continue to work out in the exact same fashion?

You have to be constantly evaluating performance and anticipating new industry trends for each of your clients to see just how you got here and better understand what’s coming next.

Have a benchmark in place to gauge the effectiveness of each area of your funnel, especially as it pertains to your marketing automation software. An investment in software alone means nothing without a three-times greater investment in the processes to understand your most important data.

Go beyond lead scoring and get a measure of your true engagement – how many people are going out of their way to express interest in you? How well are you meeting the needs of qualified buyers as they move through your pipeline? Measure the right things instead of just reading irrelevant automated reports and you’ll be in control of your successes, not a victim of chance.

When the magic 8-ball says, “reply hazy try again.”

Confusion kills organizations. Marketing managers and executives often get so lost in the weeds of the day-to-day, playing catch-up, that they forget to clue in the rest of their team on exactly what’s going on. Companies with dozens of individual chickens, all trying hard but working with their metaphorical heads cut off, simply cannot unify well enough to experience consistent victories.

Benchmarking every interaction with your prospects and clients gives all of your team members information they can align around. They’ll know when to send follow-up messages, the proper things to say to re-engage an account and any other specific strategies and tactics that have been verified.

The marketing and sales business model continues to shift to Account-Based Everything, which only places a greater imperative on a unified voice within your organization that anticipates client concerns and maintains consistency.

Magic 8-balls will tell you all sorts of things, and any of them will sound good to you if you’re desperate enough for a solution to your problems. But remember that proper benchmarking alleviates tons of pressure from any one individual within your organization and lays out a road that everyone can travel together.

Marketing automation gives you a surplus of data and you might be compelled to listen to all of it.

Only by taking inventory of what’s actually important and clueing your team in on just what they’re aligning on can you make the most of your software investment and leave the guesswork in the toy aisle where it belongs.

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