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Does your marketing plan speak CFO?

I was recently asked to critique a client’s presentation of her new marketing plan. She had a very well-thought-out strategy. She had compelling arguments. She had a plausible schedule. A reasonable budget. It was a great plan and I am sure that her CMO will approve it. There’s just one problem. Her CFO won’t.

And that’s the problem with most marketing plans that I see. We’re still talking about brand awareness when we need to be talking about sales.

Now, understand–I know why we talk about brand awareness. For many kinds of marketing–TV, print, radio–brand awareness is all you get. But in digital marketing, you can usually measure more, except we sometime settle for brand awareness.

I still see clients buying ads for reach. Why they need reach, I don’t really know, because I can’t find any correlation between more reach and actual sales. When you are stretching for more reach, you are likely reaching less and less qualified prospects. So, maybe you do make them aware of your brand, but if they don’t buy, who cares?

To your CFO, sales is what matters. My theory is that if someone buys something from you, at some point they became aware of you.

If your marketing plan speaks CFO, not only will your CFO approve it, but you might actually make some money, which is kind of the point of marketing.

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Mike Moran

Mike Moran is an expert in digital marketing, search technology, social media, text analytics, web personalization, and web metrics, who, as a Certified Speaking Professional, regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide. Mike serves as a senior strategist for Converseon, an AI powered consumer intelligence technology and consulting firm. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website, ibm.com, most recently as the Manager of ibm.com Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He is a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research. Mike worked at ibm.com from 1998 through 2006, pioneering IBM’s successful search marketing program. IBM’s website of over two million pages was a classic “big company” website that has traditionally been difficult to optimize for search marketing. Mike, working with Bill Hunt, developed a strategy for search engine marketing that works for any business, large or small. Moran and Hunt spearheaded IBM’s content improvement that has resulted in dramatic gains in traffic from Google and other internet portals.

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