Identifying and Creating New Revenue Streams

As a marketer, I was always taught to prioritize content development as a major driver for business or product growth. There isn’t anything inherently wrong with this, but years into my career, I do think it limits what marketing can actually bring to the table.

To create content that provides an emotional appeal to your buyer, the process includes understanding your market, competitors, target audience and creating a consumer journey. Within that journey, what is your experience missing? What product or service do no not offer that the market is looking for? If you identify your audience as prioritizing a certain factor, such as convenience or style, what new offering could your company or organization offer to reflect this? If your audience prioritizes receiving information in a different way, what new distribution channels can you recommend?

It’s not just about identifying what’s missing, it’s also about thinking ahead in terms of market growth. You’re already doing the hard part through your research, so you might as well spend some time considering alternate options or additions.

One example from my own experience is with Keurig. As Keurig looked to appeal to millennials, they naturally turned to college marketing and alumni groups. At first, we focused on creating content that appealed to this audience showcasing the convenience factor with a campaign, What Do You Do While Your Brew? As we researched further though, we also understood that this group valued style in addition to understanding where they were purchasing product. The result was a co-branded licensing deal with several universities around the country. Incoming students shopping at Target could purchase their school’s Keurig brewer and alumni and fans could purchase online.

Another example is the development of university athletic apps. Instead of trying to create a game day experience to distract fans from their phone, we decided to add to their experience by creating an app that added to it. This app was intended to personalize the game day experience including interactive stadium maps, live game audio, social media feeds and updated scores and stats. From there you can both extend your brand throughout the experience plus add new revenue streams such as ads or in app purchases.

As a marketer, you’re doing the work anyway. Spend some time focusing on what you’re missing and what could be added to the consumer experience plus drive new and additional revenue for the company.

Actually Showing ROI

With established business goals, using data to drive direction, understanding your audience and communicating the thought process clearly to your leadership team, you have a good foundation for showing ROI.

ROI path

You can’t end there though. You need to be able to actually show how each tactic is driving back to the original goal.

Let’s start with digital assets. This is the easiest because of tracking mechanisms that can show click-thrus, time spent on page and purchases or call-ins even within 30 days of initial website interaction. This will give you an idea if your digital ads are appealing and what your customers are doing after they have been exposed to your ad. As you’re connecting the digital ad back to your original goal, pay attention to markers such as cost per click or cost per purchase. This will help drive costs down as you’re driving website traffic and sales.

Television and traditional advertisement is easier to show ROI if you’re using these assets to meet the proper goals. Traditional assets such as TV, print or outside signage are typically best to increase awareness of a brand, product or service including the often need to change perception. The best way to show this is to implement consistent brand tracking surveys. Before you start ads, run a survey within your designated audience to show who knows of your brand and what your potential customers currently think of your brand. Once your campaign starts, run this survey about every six months. The important part with traditional ads is that you look at long-term trends. Compare lift in awareness shown by the brand surveys to a lift in sales or increased website traffic. Keep in mind, it will likely take at least three surveys to establish a baseline and see growth.

Experiential or event marketing is the most challenging to show ROI because the cost per engagement is much higher plus it often doesn’t equate to sales as quickly. To start, consider the amount of time spent with each consumer and compare to a 30 second television spot watched. For example, six minutes of engagement per person equals twelve total 30 second spots watched per person.

Next consider the experiential cost per engagement and compare to the cost per 30 second spot watched. For example, let’s say you are spending $30 per experiential engagement per person. That breaks down to $2.50 for each 30 second spot watched. That stat by itself isn’t necessarily noteworthy because the average cost to reach 1,000 viewers on network TV is $42, but this information will help you justify your spend with experiential by comparing it to an asset that is more familiar. While $2.50 seems like a lot to spend per person for a 30 second spot, once you look at the benefits of experiential marketing, it’s often worth it.

Educate your leadership team on the benefits of experiential marketing and how that will ultimately drive back toward your original goal. Engagement within experiential marketing is uninterrupted which allows you to build on your messaging.

Imagine if you could get each potential customer to watch twelve consecutive television commercials?

In addition to that, seventy-two percent of consumers say they positively view brands that provide quality event content opportunities and experiences. A larger percentage of consumers (74%) say engaging with branded event marketing experiences makes them more likely to buy the products being promoted.

Another point of consideration for experiential marketing ROI is the follow up engagement. For example, posting to social media about the experience or capturing email addresses and sending follow up information. Fifty percent of consumers capture and share between two and five photos, videos or social posts; and 14% share more than six posts. This is huge when you’re trying to create a long-term relationship with a customer.

I have sat in many executive meetings where the C-Suite has a variety of marketing knowledge. Any time I can show how the assets are driving back to the original predetermined goal while staying within budget, it’s good. An added bonus is when I can communicate why the asset is performing well and how we plan to optimize regardless of sales. You can always improve even if it’s creating more efficiency by lowering your cost per engagement or click-thru.

The Foundation for ROI

Marketing is both an art and science. You need the science, aka data to develop strategic initiatives and ultimately a campaign that aligns with your organization’s business goals and target audience. You need art, aka creativity to connect with your consumer, driving emotion, thought and ultimately a relationship.

For many years, marketing teams could get away with showing leadership teams flashy creative in order to gain approval and support. This is certainly still a component, but we can no longer avoid showing the actual return on investment. It’s tricky though when working with executive or leadership teams that don’t exactly know what value marketing can provide.

It’s always important to start with establishing very clear business goals and objectives. At the end of the day, what does success look like? Is it sales? If so, is that dollar related or an increase in total product sales? Is it reputation? Do you need your audience to think more highly of your brand, product or service? Part of this process includes understanding who the stakeholders are. Maybe you’re working with an executive team, but also know of other influencers within the company. It’s crucial to identify all business objectives and get sign off from the ultimate decision maker within your company. This allows you to go back to the original established goals at any time, communicating progress toward reaching this goal throughout the campaign.

Although emotional connection is important for success, marketing plans backed by data will drive and validate the direction. It’s important to have “evidence-based marketing plans”.  If you don’t have access to data, start searching the internet and work toward collecting data by surveying your target audience. For example, if you know your target consumer spends 4-6 hours per day on social media, you can easily justify a digital spend specifically on this tactic. Continually monitoring this data specific to your campaign will also allow you to optimize and make small adjustments throughout.

In addition to establishing your objectives and developing your plan with data, know your audience. Who is purchasing your product or service? For example, in healthcare, we found that well over half of the decisions are made by the household female. We called our audience the “chief medical officer of the family”. With that data point in mind, we not only made decisions targeting her directly, we also communicated to our executive team that they were not part of this group. What might have been appealing to them maybe wasn’t appealing to our consumer. This allowed the team to think logically versus just “liking” the creative.

Lastly, learn how to communicate in the language your executive team understands. For example, be careful of phrases and acronyms like KPI’s (key performance indicators). Consider phrases that your leadership team understands without questions. Instead of KPI’s, I use the phrase, “initial success indicators”. When showing creative, explain the data behind the direction, who your audience is and what direction your creative team used to develop the final product. Use the initial success indicators as a way to show you’re going in the right direction or you need to make changes before ultimately hitting your goal.

Understanding your business goals, using data to drive direction, knowing your audience and communicating the thought process clearly to your leadership team will set your campaign up for success when showing ROI.

Value of Brand Consistency within your Business

How do you teach others within an organization the value of brand consistency? In a world driven by personal identity and independence, it’s hard to show that the culmination of individuals communicating the same message is more impactful than one, single voice. To innovate, you need individuals to dream. To be successful in influencing brand change within a market, you need mechanisms in place to streamline innovations and dreams into one central message. It’s very challenging to encourage both individual growth and team work at the same time.

As a marketer, I am constantly looking at how I can better communicate the identity of the organization up front in words that the audience, including the internal audience understands. Companies typically have a mission statement, values and a strategic roadmap and in a perfect world, this is well communicated from the top down. Often though, the messaging stays within the top. It’s up to brand or marketing teams to take the mission statement, craft the identity and communicate to both the internal and external audience.

So often, the responsibility for this development and communication falls onto the executive or strategy team. I would argue the identity development and communication of that identity that involves how individual institutional projects are included should be within the marketing or brand team.

If your company has a strategy team, the marketing team should be working closely to align consumer or buyer needs with strategic initiatives. Then the marketing team can develop, reshape or shift the brand identity and determine how this should be communicated to the internal audience to make sure employees know how their individual projects fall underneath the larger vision and brand.

If your company has both a strategy and internal communications team, the marketing team should work closely with the strategy team to align consumer needs. This is followed by collaboration with the internal communications team to shape the identity and overall messaging before it’s communicated to the employees.

If you work with a small to medium size business and do not have a strategy or communications team, it’s fair to lean on marketing to work with company leadership to develop strategic initiatives, decide if and how that changes the brand identity and communicate that effectively to the internal audience.

Your internal employees are your companies’ best advocates, not to mention free brand ambassadors. If your employees are both encouraged to think independently, but also truly understand the organization’s value proposition to the consumer, you have a winning combination.

At the end of the day, for a marketing team, it is about understanding the value of the internal audience as a separate group versus expecting that everyone understands the same language.

What Major Leagues Can Learn from Minor League Marketing

The average ticket price for a single NFL game is at least $100. If you multiply that for a family of four, the price extends to $400 and that’s without parking or any food or drink items. While some professional sports teams do a great job offering lower ticket price options, the teams ultimately rely on the glamour of the players, the excitement of current events and the team’s winning record to drive sales and ticket prices.

What happens though when the team starts to lose, the players get in trouble or become irrelevant or no one within the social media realm is talking about the game from last weekend? With many entertainment options, how can you get a family to spend money to attend a professional sporting event versus watching at home or attending another activity? In 2017, MLB reported a ratings increase of 10% for ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball. That same year also included the third straight season for total attendance decline.

There are often two basic options to drive ticket sales. One option is to lower the ticket price, but this also decreases margins and total revenue. The other option is to add value to the experience.

This is where major league teams can learn from the minors.

Minor league teams cannot rely on star players, flashy lights or media. Instead, teams identify their audience, determine what their audience values and implement a business plan and strategy to meet those needs. The outcome of this is more focus on the overall experience including customer service, personal fan appreciation and promotions and deals that allow fans to enjoy their time outside of the players and score.

For customer service, this is as simple as it sounds. It’s partly why 85% of Prime shoppers visit Amazon at least once a week. The consumer’s expectation these days for almost all products, services and experience is centered around convenience and friendliness. This includes easily accessible parking, mobile ticket or easy box office access and convenient and affordable food options.

Personal fan appreciation ties into customer service. This is when your season ticket representative remembers your birthday, when an usher notices your kids and asks the mascot to come over for a meet and greet or when you get upgraded to better seats or a suite just because you attended.

Promotions and deals are what can draw a mass audience. Examples include family fun packs with tickets, dinner and drinks, Thirsty Thursdays or other promotions that include low cost beverages or theme nights centered around popular movies and characters.

One of the best examples of promotions and deals to drive attendance is with the Charlotte Knights, a minor league baseball team in Charlotte, NC affiliated with the Chicago White Sox. Promotions from 2018 included Friday Night Fireworks, LEGO Weekend, White Sox Wednesdays, All-American Mondays which sold hot dogs for $1 and Bark in the Ballpark where fans could bring their four-legged friends. It’s not hard to determine why attendance numbers are the highest in the league, averaging over 8,500 per game.

Compare these numbers to teams such as the Miami Marlins, drawing just over 10,000 fans on average per game in 2018, and you could argue it might be wise for the majors to take a few cues from minors.