At its very basic level, marketing needs to produce an outcome - a tangible return for the time and money spent.
Some of this can be easily tracked, others of it is a bit more obscure (like branding, word of mouth, etc).
However, if we spend all of our resources toward the activity that drives action, we skimp on the foundational and building activities that make our campaigns effective. I've seen far too many companies try to focus on driving traffic to their blog, only to have visitors confused by what the company actually does and why they should care.
So here's the thing I want you to think about -- and share with your marketing team, exec team, board of directors, etc:
1. Driving activities - also known as "activating the database".
These are sales-driven, action-driven marketing activities that encourage current contacts to make a move! Driving activities are those things we tend to think of when we think of "marketing", such as promotional emails, Facebook ads with an offer, trade show specials, direct mail, etc.
2. Building activities - also known as "building your database".
These are activities that increase the awareness of your brand to get you on other people's radar. Building activities may include capturing leads through whitepapers, webinars, social contests, or newsletter sign-ups. It may also include a solid PR campaign or cold email outreach. The point here is that you're building - NOT selling.
3. Foundational activities - also known as the "necessary blocks for the other 2".
You can't build a database of potential contacts if you can't clearly articulate what you do and who you do it for. You can't activate contacts to buy if you haven't given them a compelling reason to engage with you in the first place.
Foundational activities include a strong marketing strategy, solid positioning, documented and activated buyer personas, well-vetted and optimized marketing technology, good user experience on your website, etc.
The way in which you focus on these activities works from the foundation up. You likely have some activities in each bucket, but you can't drive a car before you design and build it (that analogy always helps me and my teams).
What to do next:
Take some time this month to write out every activity in your marketing department. You should have a healthy list in each column at any given time. Even if your foundation is "set", think of it like a house - it needs constant updates and renovations to remain current and strong.
Which category do you knock out of the park? Which one needs work?