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A Way Out of the ROI Guessing Game

A Way Out of the ROI Guessing Game

Field-tested best practices from NK experts.

by Lindsay Broveleit, Vice President Newhall Klein

It’s no wonder the sales function might question the efficacy of your marketing efforts or finance wants a second look at your impending budget allocations. If you can’t prove or attribute revenue success to the assets you’re creating, or the campaigns you’re running, or the spot-on and insightful content strategy you’ve deployed, what good is any of it? 

Correlating sales volume to any one component of your marketing program isn’t just hard. It’s next to impossible without a bit of blind confidence or anecdotal hoorahs. 

Understanding that sophisticated data systems and success models may be a bit of a stretch for foodservice marketers, there are still some things that can be done to inform clear priorities and identify a standardized means of attributing positive performance to elements of your marketing mix. 

Thing 1.

You need a momentum-building marketing mix and you MUST fight the urge to be random with your tactical set. The science is pretty simple, really (and note, I said simple, not easy): with ONE clear objective per initiative, and a clear strategy for how you’re going to accomplish that objective, all you need from there is a delineation of your target audience segments and insights in accordance with each segment. I’m talking real researched insights here, not the historically third-hand perspectives. From there, you have a clearer lens through which to determine the right channels for you to pursue, the best way to communicate through them, and what resources you’ll need to accomplish it all. 

Thing 2.

Once your objective, strategies, targets, and mix are all down on paper, you really must avoid framing them into dart boards at which your team hurls, at random, as many unwieldy sharp objects as they possibly can – for lack of clear focus. This is where you need to do some math, creating a formulaic means of determining ROI (and please know, too, that “ROI” is a bit of a loose term here … for those of us without sophisticated CRM solutions and automated big data centers, let’s call it ROI-with-a-wild-side). 

Because you and everyone else in your boardroom wants to know: HOW MUCH SHOULD I INVEST IN THIS TO ENSURE WE GET A POSITIVE RETURN? To this you might say, “Well, we believe if we …” And then you’re cut off by someone who wants to talk numbers. “Sure, sure. Fine. All that’s great, and I think we should be on Twitter, too. And I saw this video the other day that a competitor did, and WOW. Let’s do some of that! But HOW MANY CASES CAN WE SELL WITH THIS PLAN?” 

One thing I do know: The moment your response starts to sound like a guessing game is the moment you lose the room. 

So, Thing 3.

You need an experience plan and a momentum map. These are my two most favorite deliverables in the whole wide marketing world. Because your core marketing teams are generally as plucked and thin as a patch of grass in a dust bowl, you might be forced into a lot of setting-and-forgetting. Quick, get this social media content out. Quick, we need to get new recipe shots on the website. Quick, the sales team in Denver needs materials created for their next promo! Quick, it’s TRADE SHOW SEASON! Gah.

An experience plan – which, put simply, is a roadmap to success built entirely around the needs of your buying customers – and a momentum map – which is your quantitative friend in that boardroom – are the most vital tools in your kit. They’re like a full set of armor. Or maybe just a means to the end of the guessing game. 

Experience plans and momentum maps are simple – not easy. They’re a bit like jigsaw puzzles and then some, but once the pieces are put together, you’re sleeping much more soundly. There is a way out of that boardroom, with your head squarely on your shoulders and your budgets intact! 

Get in touch if you need a fellow puzzle-solver.

Posted in: Thoughts
Tags: marketing
September 10, 2021

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