Does your management team think of marketing as an asset or as overhead?

The hard part is showing your work

Coming up with creative ideas is the easy part. Well, okay, at least kind of easy when it’s your job to come up with ideas and you do it on a daily basis. You train your mind to make connections that aren’t obvious, think of words that combine into something visual, and visuals that connect and communicate quickly. When you brainstorm as a group, the ideas bounce from one person to the next, and they build off each other rapidly. Some are wonderful, others not so much. But the gems start to build.

Good ideas are pretty easy to pick out of that assortment, but some of the best ideas need some sorting through all those bits and pieces of random thoughts and ideas in order to tease out those with true potential – a process which usually takes a bit more experience to pull off consistently.

The next step is turning those concepts into the visuals and words that communicate quickly, effectively, and interestingly. It usually takes the combination of a talented artist and gifted wordsmith to marry the two mediums into a marketing masterpiece.

It’s a process we do here every day, and I know a lot of you do too. The fun part is the initial wild-idea-anything-goes-brainstorming, then each consecutive step gets more and more difficult. Some people (and some clients) have a tough time finally pulling the trigger on launching that web site, sending out that radio spot to the stations, or printing and sending out that direct mail piece. But there is nothing quite like the satisfaction of a job well done when you get it out the door.

But you are not finished. In fact, you are just getting to the hard part, especially for most creatives. Because now you are past the creative and need to focus on the results.

The hardest thing for most marketers to do, but probably the most important thing you can do, is to track the numbers for your ROI.*

Why? Let me ask you this: does your management team think of marketing as an asset or as overhead? The only way your Marketing Department will be considered an investment instead of an expense is to prove it to management.

So find out those results. Talk loud and proud about them when they succeed beyond expectations. Accept and learn from your mistakes when they don’t. But do the numbers. Show your work.

That’s when you are truly finished.

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*We are assuming that you have already estimated the ROI (Return On Investment) for this project before you begin. If not, you need to learn that ROI is King, and you need to learn to crunch the numbers in order to prove that you are making good decisions with your members’ money. If you aren’t sure how to go about it, ask your CFO what she would like to see. Show a plan and a profit to management and you may be surprised how much easier it will be to get the budget for your next promotion.

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