Many companies have found the secret to short-term ROI. Opening with new platforms or growth-hacking strategies can result in a quick profit, but this type of ROI is fleeting. It shouldn’t be your go-to for lasting success.
Don’t put your long-term ROI at risk by getting distracted by short-term gains. I get that it’s easy to fall into that trap, especially because we’re very aware of how the latest trends are shaping the marketplace. But to be truly successful in content marketing, you’ve got to look at the big picture. Here are five things to keep in mind when steering your marketing tactics toward long-term ROI:
1. Keep your marketing engine tuned with engaging content.
It’s not rocket science: Content marketing works, and it’s simple to use. I like to break it down this way: First, create content that engages your audience. Then, distribute that content so it reaches your audience consistently and moves your brand from their short-term memory to their long-term memory. This process puts you top of mind so your brand is recalled at the right time and moment to create opportunity for your company.
If you do it well enough, this technique can bleed into other areas of your company, meaning your marketing isn’t limited to one department. There’s now content recruiting, where you nurture recruits (instead of leads) with content that engages them until they think of you as a possible future employer.
Content can also be used for investment relations outreach to educate current and potential investors or as a form of continued training and education for current employees. The list goes on and on, which is why an investment in content marketing is really an investment in multiple departments that can help lead to long-term ROI.
2. Fuel your marketing tactics with a full tank of gas.
Content fuels the majority of marketing tactics, whether that’s through short-form social posts or long-form whitepapers. Too often, though, someone leaves the tank empty, and when that happens, your team has to focus on making it to the next stop (short-term wins) instead of looking at the whole strategy for long-term success.
The only way to rectify this is by looking at the most underutilized asset within your company that can fuel marketing: your employees. Learn how to effectively crowdsource by looking to your internal team’s knowledge, experiences, and insights, and pull from there to build a knowledge bank and get started.
No matter what service or product you’re offering, your team is what differentiates your company over time. You have to harvest and manage that knowledge so it isn’t isolated and can become useful in the long run.
3. Make sure your driver understands the directions.
I was speaking to a company the other day, and its marketing director’s No. 1 goal was to help her execs better understand content marketing. As smart as she was, you could tell she felt helpless because her CMO and other executives really didn’t understand her area. When your top goal is educating your executives instead of marketing or creating sales for the company, that’s a significant problem.
As an executive, it’s your responsibility to understand the areas you oversee and the efforts of your marketing team. With that comes understanding the value of content marketing. How else are you going to know the problems they’re trying to solve and empower them to execute?
It isn’t your marketing director’s responsibility to train her executives. Invest in experts to train them, and let the marketing director concentrate on adding value to the company the best way she knows how: by driving marketing and sales.
I’ve seen the best ROI results from executives who have received the training needed by experts in the field. This kind of training has empowered them to better lead their staff and make sure everyone’s priorities are what they should be. If executives are unsure of what their marketing team members should be doing, they won’t know where they’re headed on the path to long-term ROI — or, worse, won’t be able to recognize that ROI when they see it.
4. Don’t take your eyes off the road signs to ROI.
Time and time again, I see executives abandon their marketing efforts because they’ve looked at the wrong metrics. Relying only on quantitative, short-term ROI can — and will — ruin a good thing. Sure, short-term ROI can help you identify short-term wins and profits, but it kills your brand’s ability to cement itself as a leader in the long term. You have to take both quantitative and qualitative ROI into account.
The bottom line is that the more strategic and meaningful your brand is, the better it will perform over time. Don’t let small wins convince you that a long-term strategy isn’t worth it just because you aren’t seeing anything happen right away. Remember why you’re in it for the long haul and what long-term ROI can mean for your brand.
5. Don’t be afraid to buy a new car.
In the past, companies could invest significantly in a pay-per-click campaign and have that be the single vehicle driving the majority of sales. Well, things have changed. Algorithms evolve, and competitors find out what’s working for you and copy it, which drives up costs. Perhaps your customers begin consuming content differently than they have in the past. Companies that thrive on certain tactics alone won’t be able to survive when changes happen.
This makes an integrated approach to marketing vital for long-term success. I just spoke to a mid-level brand the other day, and my contact told me the company’s PR, SEO, content marketing, and social media initiatives were all very siloed; they barely communicated or planned together.
It’s crucial for sports teams to communicate and work as one, and the same rules apply to communication departments. Did LeBron James win the championship alone? No. He’s amazing, but he obviously needed help from Kyrie Irving and other teammates. Your PR department can’t execute entire marketing campaigns alone; it’s crucial for these departments to work together to win.
As satisfying as it may seem, short-term ROI can derail your marketing efforts and distract you from the bigger picture, which could ultimately sacrifice your brand’s story and staying power. Remember these steps to ensure your team sees long-term marketing success.
This article was written by John Hall from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.