I recently made a radical career shift, jumping from a finance career in the real estate and insurance industries, to be the co-founder of a digital marketing agency. My experience with marketing agencies throughout my career had always left me disappointed. I had this recurring feeling that the goals of the agencyand my company weren’t properly aligned. In addition to that, there was also a perpetual communication barrier, as if we were speaking different languages. I thought bringing a traditionally financial, data-driven, analytical approach to an industry historically defined by the creative would be a tremendous value.
A few months prior to my departure, I was on a conference call with my old firm’s marketing agency. As we poured through the reporting package, I pressed the agency on why the package was so thin and why the data was so raw, with no analysis or recommendations. The bungled response can be boiled down to the idea that the marketing agency’s job was to generate leads. The implication was that robust reporting and analysis were not required to measure success of this narrow goal.
We are all products of personal experience, creating biases that shape our thinking. Many marketers have “Top of the Funnel” bias, focusing on the amount of raw leads generated. This bias is the result of two major factors; a misunderstanding of the true role of marketing in the sales process and selection of a performance metric that is easy to meet. When marketers have this “Top of the Funnel” bias, the valuable data from within the marketing funnel is lost or opaque and reporting focuses only on early stage information. Coming from a finance background, my focus has always been on the “Bottom of the Funnel,” where the marketing and sales process culminate in revenue creation and the ability to measure return on investment leaves the theoretical and enters the practical.
If a marketing agency has a myopic view of your relationship, focuses on the creative, branding and cosmetics, without an active interest in “Bottom of the Funnel” data, you’ve found an agency focused on doing what they love, but not interested in helping your business grow. A “Full Funnel Approach” necessitates a marketing agency to inquire about the sales cycle, client lifetime value, client acquisition costs and ROI thresholds. Once you’ve found an agency that is interested and focused on meeting your financial goals through marketing, instead of seeing the creative process of marketing as the goal, you will have found a partner worth working with.