In basketball, the fans are often considered the sixth man. In your business, marketing is the sixth man. Would you hire an employee without a specific idea of what you wanted the employee to do? Of course not because, as a business owner, when you hire someone you want them be productive. To put them on the right track you outline things such as goals, objectives, and performance measure so you and your employee know what is expected and how success will be measured.

For many firms, the investment in marketing exceeds the salary you pay a single employee. If you are going to make that type of an investment, I think you need to have some clarity regarding performance objectives and success measures.

So where do you start? Just as you would with an employee, begin with your business objectives: How many customers or sales do you hope to generate as a result of the investment? Understanding what a single customer is worth will help you match the appropriate investment to a particular marketing activity. Then, at the end of the program, campaign or promotion, you can evaluate if the money was well spent. Calculating the ROI per customer can provide a helpful starting point for your budgeting process.

You need to compare marketing activities, then hold your marketing accountable. Those activities which produce better results (such as more qualified prospects or simply more prospects) get promoted, and the investments directed toward similar programs should increase. Those activities that don’t produce results risk being fired.

Just as business owners will disagree on what qualities make up the perfect employee, they will disagree on what marketing is most effective. Set your own criteria and measurements and you will enjoy a winning season!

Want a copy of Lorraine’s ROI Worksheet? Simply drop her an e-mail at or call 317-569-1396.

Publication date:03/22/2010