An annual physical "health check-up" is more often than not a point of contention. You start to hear your mother's voice in the back of your head, "have you been eating enough veggies? What about exercising? You have too much stress built up." Of course, that doctor visit is inevitably delayed another year. Telling yourself what's the worst that can happen? But we all know the adverse effects of not keeping up on our mental and physical well-being. You might not be surprised to discover that a marketing assessment is the business's equivalent to the yearly physical. That's right; your company is terrified of visiting the doctor.
One of my biggest day-to-day challenges is convincing a business they need a comprehensive assessment. It invokes a controversy that is difficult to describe. When simplified, though, it comes down to companies wearing blinders. They are eating their own dog food, so there is no reason to look for the next best thing. To settle is the comfortable path to take. These managers aren't becoming lazy; they just don't know what they don't see. This response appears so often it's generally the accepted norm.
Matrix Marketing Group has offered our free marketing assessment for over twelve years. There are ten categories with 130 questions total. While each business's results are all over the board, the consensus regarding quality provided has been outstanding. Whether you've been looking for an agency to outsource marketing activities or you just need a quick consultation, Matrix enjoys helping people. Our model has always been based around helping where we can and finding capable substitutes where we can't.
Why do I need a marketing assessment?
People don't operate their business to be average. They drive it to break a status quo. An active manager realizes they can't be on top of every aspect of every project and missing a key marketing category can be the differentiator that loses a company's edge. In industries where competition is fierce organizations can't rely on branding and positioning alone. There is an extensive list of fundamental categories to keep up on, and it can become rather overwhelming:
- Business Core
- Brand Positioning & Messaging
- Audience & Channel Building
- Lead Generation
- Content Creation
- Link Building & referrals
- Website Design & Flow
- Social Media
- Email Marketing
- Search Engine Optimization
- Pay-Per-Click Advertising
- Traditional Advertising
- Marketing Technology
- Public Relations
That is truly just a sample of the activities that go into a hardworking marketing department. Each of which requires a unique skill set to implement successfully. Most marketing teams don't have enough resources to fulfill the requirements, and most marketing managers are too overworked to notice where everyday undertakings are going awry.
What happens when organizations take their assessment?
After gathering results from our free in-depth assessment for over twelve years, Matrix decided it was time to aggregate the data and review the trends of our prospects and clients. We felt that by sharing the results, businesses might see the error in complacency. The outcome is frightening, to say the least. There are ten sections within the assessment with 130 factors. Respondents answer each question with a quantitative score between one and ten. After receiving hundreds of submissions, 80% of the organizations finished with a failing grade. That's a hard pill to swallow for most companies trying to build a predictable, scalable revenue system.
Average Question Breakdown
Strengths are questions that have been answered within the 8 - 10 range and represent the organization's strengths. These are typically areas we won't touch on unless there were inconsistencies in the data that was provided. Neutral questions have been answered in the 5 - 7 range and provide a business insight into their secondary areas of improvement. Weaknesses are failing grades between 0 - 5, these are of primary concern, unless of course, they don't apply to the designated responder's market. Weaknesses are the broadest range which makes it feel like data is skewed towards failing a larger amount of participants, but would you be satisfied with a 50% on an exam? That clearly wouldn't reflect an understanding of the material associated with the category at hand. In all honesty, a 60% or 70% wouldn't either. As a business looking for a way to the top, you want nothing but an A game.
A quick breakdown shows, public relations, lead generation, and content creation were reoccurring areas of expertise with the lowest score. The category averages have failed to rise above two out of ten! The common denominator seems to be a lack of digital marketing means or activities. When we dig deeper into these sections, PPC advertising, public relations, and referral generation pose severe issues to businesses. Which is why you'll see a large amount of agencies and consultants that specialize in these areas. However, if they aren't adding to a big picture strategy, the rate of success significantly drops. Don't treat these as one-off projects, incorporate them into a plan that matches your marketing goals. That is much easier said than done.
The top performing categories are marketing strategy and business core. Being the one outside and looking in, that's great! It means there is a foundation that has been formed and it ONLY needs to be molded in the correct direction. A large amount of the legwork has been taken care of, but at some point, resources run thin and corners are cut. That is why marketing outsourcing has become a popular option amongst management teams.
I would be interested in seeing if your organization can pass our marketing assessment. It has the ability to draw all the dark marketing corners out into the light. You'll find items that are rarely thought about and trends that can save your sales pipeline from going down the drain.
Notable averaged data points:
- 69% of respondents don't use any marketing automation systems
- 55% of businesses were in operation for 10+ years, yet still lacked a portion of critical marketing activities
- 60% of respondents feel they had no clearly defined branding and messaging strategy.
- 68% aren't generating enough leads to meet increasing revenue goals
- 88% aren't converting leads to sales at an acceptable industry rate
- 1 in 4 respondents had no idea how long their average sales cycle was.
This statistic alone begs the question: How can the management team accurately structure their hiring practices, growth forecasts, and any other number of critical decisions if there are no indicators to build a sales cycle? It is a prime example of running blindly through the market, but yet again, it appears as a common re-occurrence. Please excuse my overused metaphor, but, many of these businesses can't see the forest through the trees. They are running at such a breakneck clip and trying to fix so many in the moment obstacles that the long term goals become distorted.
New Evaluation Method
With this refreshed perspective of our aggregated data, we are rolling out a new shortened marketing assessment. It's important these results are accurate for both Matrix Marketing Group and our responders. Rushing through questions doesn't benefit anyone. Therefore, our fresh 30 question version piques interest and alerts to any negative trends that need to be explored on a deeper level. But, there is still only so much an optimized version can do with the limited data provided. If serious issues begin to peek through the cracks, the in-depth version will need to be put into play to get the most precise findings.
After completion, you receive a complimentary consultation from a Matrix representative. They will explain the areas that need critical improvement (weaknesses), touch on secondary areas of improvement (neutral), and create an actionable plan of attack for future efforts. Some categories may not apply to your company's marketing goals and those will be hashed out in the conversation. If you don't want the consultation, let us know, and we will send you the results in an email. Just remember, raw data isn't very useful until big picture strategy and execution process are correctly applied.
Don't wait to take your assessment and see where your company stands. Pushing it off another day, month, or year is only doing a disservice to your organization. Do you remember our initial doctor check-up question, "what's the worst thing that could happen?" I think the results provided above can clearly answer that. Anywhere the competition gains a foothold you've just lost yours. I am currently unaware of a market where market share is stagnant for any long term period.
I'd enjoy hearing your thoughts on our findings. Whether you agree with them, think we missed an important pattern, or would like to see more data points included. Be sure to take yours and see if you have what it takes to pass.