Inevitably, effective marketing requires action (lots of activities must always be done). In such frenzied efforts, though, it can be all too easy to get disoriented. Typically, we start off with desired outcomes in mind, but over time, the actions overshadow the outcomes — success becomes checking things off on the to-do list vs. fostering desired outcomes. We get stuck on a hamster wheel of effort when we should be racing to rack up some real mileage.
What Data Says About the Activity-Oriented Approach
With an activity-oriented approach, activities become the primary investment and the means of measurement. We get tied up in tackling activity after activity in the hopes that eventually something will work out. It’s not surprising that activity-oriented environments have a way of distracting us from focusing on outcomes and causing us to spin our wheels — a lot. We end up performing numerous activities, and on the surface that might look like a good thing, but there's no direction or reliable way to measure the success.
These types of activities can take both internal and external forms. Here's a couple of examples:
Internal: Getting pulled into looking at basic activities like: emails sent, campaigns completed, and content assets created.
External: Engagement data that stops at the activity itself instead of going deeper into the connected behaviors, such as: total downloads, views, and impressions.
Activity-oriented metrics show us that something has happened, but they don't provide any clear meaning.
When everything we do is based on activities, the mere act of performing an activity can look like a success. But no matter how much we do, it’ll never be enough, because our activities aren’t tied to a desired outcome. So the data isn’t telling us anything we don’t already know. It merely says, “You’ve done something.” And that’s it.
If this is the data you’re seeing, your marketing efforts are activity-oriented — not outcome oriented.
Time to realign.
There’s a dynamic to strike between activity and outcome. Yes, the data should show an activity was done, but it should also show a defined outcome resulted from it. Notice the use of the word “defined.” We’re not looking for just any outcome, and not only a desired outcome, but a specific and measurable one. Regardless if a desired outcome was achieved or not the insights are valuable either way -- what was defined either happened, or it didn't and the data can help you better understand why.
So, if your data is saying your marketing efforts need to be refocused to begin proving marketing ROI, here’s where to start.
Improve your Marketing Efforts with Efficiency and Effectiveness
Typically, Healthcare IT success is viewed as – above all else — patient outcomes and patient experience. But when it comes to the Healthcare IT marketing space, efficiency and effectiveness are the primary hallmarks for success. That's why it's important to use them to structure your overall objectives and establish strong benchmarks you can begin tracking against.
Effectiveness, of course, reflects the quality of the outcomes yielded by your efforts. Efficiency reflects the quantity of effort applied for the specific outcomes. But why are they the hallmarks? Because they keep us focused on allocating our efforts in the right places.
Efficiency in marketing can’t be overstated. And that’s true in the healthcare IT industry more than any other. And to a degree, effficiency depends on effectiveness. What good is an abundance of activities when they're not effective? It creates a diminishing level of efficiency -- the more you do, the lower the return, so the more you have to do just to maintain performance. Ramping up marking activities actually becomes a waste of your time — and worse — a waste of your buyer’s time.
It's also worth noting, wasting healthcare It professionals' time is unwise. Consider the million-and-one tasks any given medical professional may have to perform every day. If one of these buyers takes the time to read your email and it turns out to be a distracting waste of time, you’re damaging the relationship. That's why you need to spend less time on quantity and more time on quality, more time on effectiveness. After all, one high-value informative email is far more efficient and effective than 10 spammy emails filled with irrelevant or aggressive content.
It should be no surprise that the quality and relevance of your content directly correlates to conversions. Higher-quality content that delivers value outperforms low-quality content every time. So it's more important to have a few good assets that work well and yield valuable results than to have an abundance of generic low-performing ones. Once you refine your content and have a proven formula for success you can work on increasing the overall volume and frequency. Over time your efficiency will increase and you can produce more assets of the same caliber and strengthen the relationship. And this gets you to a point where performing more activities actually does yield more results and improves your marketing ROI.
The Data Says it All
When you look at your data, you want to see a story. The data should be telling you how effective your efforts are performing against the desired outcomes. And, just as importantly, it should be telling you how much effort it takes to reach those outcomes. Once you have effectiveness, you can then begin to ramp your efforts efficiently and maximize on the returns.
Building efficiency and proving marketing ROI means making the process easier and spending less time struggling over the same tasks and activities day after day. More leads from fewer campaigns is exponentially more valuable than more leads from more campaigns. It'll free you to focus on initiatives, tactics and tasks that can further build on your overall strategy. It gives you time to focus on what you should be doing: telling good stories and creating emotional connections. Something you can do better when you have less pressure and more freedom.
So, are you listening to your data? Or are you just investing in activities?
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