How We ThinkFirst
ThinkFirst is a multi-disciplinary approach that leverages your financials to determine your customer acquisition cost and growth targets.
When we meet with our clients, marketing is often the smallest part of the conversation. What tactics you have purchased and what campaigns you have run are important. But without a solid understanding of how your business operates, what your sales process looks like and how you generate profit, any marketing strategy will be incomplete and ill informed.
A thorough understanding of your sales process results in a clearer definition of target criteria and a strong fit matrix for market-generated leads. A clearly monitored pipeline provides insights on call answer rate, meeting set rate, appointment sit rate, quote rate, close rate, upsell rate and retention rate, each of which factors into lead volume goals and customer lifetime value. Well-defined operational standards and processes ensure not only customer satisfaction but create a strong and static environment in which marketing tactics can be tested without fear of external variables skewing results.
Financial transparency surfaces a true understanding of the costs assumed to acquire a new customer, defining how much a business can afford to invest in marketing to achieve its growth goals while remaining profitable. Your marketing dollars are precious and should be invested intentionally and with discipline. A 360-degree review of your business allows us to identify and address any operational gaps that might hinder the performance of a marketing campaign before it ever begins and is arguably the most important step in developing a marketing strategy.
Research and Development
Your success is just as much about what is happening outside your business’ four walls as within them. An in-depth look at the industry you operate in, historical and forecasted trends and market share breakdowns help define past performance and highlight future opportunities.
Media monitoring for industry terms and company names on a local and national level provide a sense of the public tone and sentiment surrounding your industry and surface public relations opportunities to combat a negative stigma or position your business as a thought leader within your industry. Competitor analysis, on-site performance, organic and paid search market share, social media strategy, content and customer experience can suggest places where competitors are winning, which you should mirror or determine where gaps in strategy exist, which you could exploit. An evaluation of the current state of your marketing efforts can help determine if your marketing spend is being invested wisely or should be reallocated, highlighting tactics which are not just driving traffic but also converting and providing profitable results.
Your website must be analyzed with more of a scientific eye than a creative one, determining if it is optimized for search engine ranking to drive traffic, as well as convert customers once they reach your site. Many businesses develop websites with aesthetics in mind over performance, but the prettiest site is worthless if it is not designed with the buyer in mind. We work to review the workflow of your site to ensure it is moving a customer through the buyer’s journey with clear calls to action to attract, convert, close and re-engage your site visitor along the way.
Math and Monitoring
What you measure matters. A well-intentioned marketing strategy will fall flat if you don’t know what performed or by how much. Everything in a marketing plan needs to be tracked and monitored. From unique tracking phone numbers to campaign codes, you must drive attribution to every print piece, email, social post and paid search campaign you test. This level of granular tracking must not stop there but should continue through the sales and fulfillment process.
Not all leads are created equal; a direct mail lead may cost more than a pay-per-click lead and close at a higher rate so you can afford to invest more in your print tactics than your digital tactics to realize the same degree of profitability. But you can only learn these lessons with disciplined tracking, so measure more than you think you need to today.
Very few businesses have the patience for true marketing testing, but the exercise is what separates the good campaigns from great marketing strategy. A marketing test involves isolating one variable – a list, an offer, a design, a medium – and manipulating it alone to determine how that single change impacts performance.
Once proven, it involves testing the hypothesis by slowly scaling your investment; using the winning model in 10% of your universe, then 20%, then 40%, only increasing your spend or footprint as the test proves repeatedly at each step along the way. Not everything will work, so you must view findings in a failed test as a success. Findings shape the next test and takes you one step closer to a winning strategy.
When Valve+Meter came into our company, they quickly realized that what we thought was marketing was really just chaos and wasted money. We are now quickly achieving much greater results with a lower spend. Engaging Valve+Meter is one of the best decisions I have ever made.MIKE KENNEY, PRESIDENT, KENNEY CORPORATION
Like What You Hear?
We partner with organizations who are operationally excellent and have an unlimited appetite for marketing that works. At Valve+Meter, we believe in accountable marketing and transformational results. Want to transform your marketing from a cost center to a revenue center?