What’s Marketing Insurance and Why Do You Need It?

There are no guarantees in marketing. That is why the CMO role has a higher turnover rate than any other in the executive suite. The entire cycle of brining a product or service to market – from early concept to getting it in front of customers – is challenging. As a result, a lot can go wrong.

That doesn’t mean companies are going to stop introducing new things for customers to buy or investing significant money to make sure they know about new products and services. Instead, marketers need ways to reduce their risk at each step in the process, increasing their chance of success as much as possible. They need insurance.

The simplest and most affordable way for marketers to protect their investments is to improve what happens at the point of customer contact. This is the moment of truth for every product. If you reach that point, the advertising and marketing has done its job. The customer is either evaluating your product or is serious about buying it. Marketing spends the majority of their money to make sure that moment happens, but oftentimes leaves the moment of truth to someone else. Why?

To get marketing insurance, marketers need to invest a small amount of the overall marketing budget to make sure the customer contact lives up to the expectation the brand has set. It is aligning the promise to the experience. In the past, delivering on that promise might have been another department’s responsibility. The following are XX reasons CMOs and their teams can’t afford to sit back and let someone else handle the moment of truth:

1) Conversion is King. The ultimate measure of marketing is sales (aka, revenue, conversion). Does customer interest turn into money for the company? For marketers, there is tremendous leverage in helping customer-facing teams to align the promise to the experience. It is expensive to drive demand, so increasing conversion, even by a small amount has a huge impact on how performance is judged. When conversion goes up, cost to acquire goes down. It’s that simple.

2) You are Marketing for your Competition. There are very few companies that have bullet-proof brand loyalty. A friend of mine used to work in the home theater department at Best Buy. According to his experience, he could influence the TV brand a customer decided to purchase 90% of the time. All the advertising money in the world can’t change this. If a salesperson can switch based on their preferences, why aren’t companies spending more to influence this audience? Insurance is making sure that people want to tell your story. When this happens, your marketing investments turn into revenue for your company, not the competition.

3) Abandoning Projects is Expensive. Many products have slow sales at the start. It is natural. Something is new and people aren’t aware of it yet. However, companies don’t have a high tolerance to let product sales be sluggish for too long. In order to evaluate the true potential of a product, companies need marketing insurance. Too many times companies scrap a new offering before truly understanding if the marketplace wants it. In reality, the problem is as simple as customer-facing employees aren’t talking about it. If marketers invest in the customer conversation, they are increasing offer rates, improving the effectiveness of the story and giving themselves the best chance of converting to sales. Without that insurance, companies don’t have an accurate picture of the product’s potential and could pull the plug on a worthwhile offering. Who takes the blame? Marketing!

The marketing department is supposed to “own” the customer relationship. Marketing insurance is about investing to ensure the internal view of the brand or product matches the external image. Moreover, it is about adding a dimension to a marketers playbook that improves execution, rather than waiting and hoping for results. Marketers make big bets every day. A little insurance should help them rest easier.

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