August 13, 2021
What is Outcome Marketing & Why Is It Like Rocket Fuel for Brands?
Outcome marketing. Don’t write it off as another ad-world buzzword. While the name might sound like another spin on the same old marketing spiel, it really is a new way of looking at things. And its ability to translate into tangible results for ag brands really does shift the entire marketing paradigm. So yeah, we’re buzzing about it, but it’s not a buzzword.
Wait, What’s An Outcome?
First, to understand outcome marketing, we have to understand exactly what an outcome is. For so long in the world of marketing and advertising, there’s been a focus on outputs, not outcomes. Spend this amount of money, get this many print ads, this many digital ad views, this many video views. Those are outputs. Get your product or service in front of this many people, and hope something sticks.
On the other hand, an outcome is a tangible thing. If done well it increases the value of your marketing, while driving efficiency into your marketing activities. A sign-up for your newsletter, a completed contact form, a qualified marketing lead. As one WSer bluntly put it, if it gets measured and the result nets you a bonus – or gets you fired -, it’s probably an outcome. And this is why it’s so valuable to our clients. With different sales cycles, deeper nurture campaigns, and so much value placed on a very targeted audience, you can’t bank on the traditional outputs that agencies have relied on for so many years. Switching to an outcome marketing mindset requires a shift in strategy and general thinking, but the results prove more valuable year over year, whether you’re selling software or seeds.
Outcome Marketing is Marketing That Closes the Loop
Outcome marketing puts the customer, your audience, in the heart of every marketing strategy, rather than focusing strictly on your product. The end goal for any marketing plan should be growth, whether you’re creating new demand, capitalizing on existing demand, or driving and retaining current demand, and outcome marketing does just that. It’s an extension of growth and brand marketing together that goes the extra distance in making sure that all activities work together to reach a laddered, measurable goal. The goal is quality, not quantity. Ten million views of a video are worth less than 200 qualified leads if none of those viewers are engaging with your brand to create a real marketing outcome.
Outcome marketing brings your sales and marketing teams closer together, connecting marketing data, behavioural analytics, and customer insights into your CRM. Combining and properly using this data helps create support materials for retailers and sales reps to empower their sales process. When it’s all executed properly, outcome marketing serves as a scalable, automated, lead generating system that arms reps, retailers, and your customers with everything they need for successful purchase experiences. It also builds the pathway for measured brand loyalty. For more on the intersection of outcomes, digital, and agrimarketing, check out this article.
How We Approach Outcome Marketing
As much as we all would love to pretend creative creation is all dark arts and magic, it truly is a blend of art and science, with a healthy dose of experience sprinkled throughout.
In an oversimplification, we’re driving demand generation-combining brand building with lead generation and measuring real outcomes for businesses.
We start with what we term front end planning, where we evaluate opportunities, determine business/marketing alignment, and weigh the benefits and the risks of any strategy on the table. Most importantly, we treat client relationships like partnerships. We put in the work at the start to gain a full understanding of what a client’s desired business outcomes are, then go back and forth to develop a shared definition of success. There’s a full-on assessment that happens for the sake of planning before we even start moving the needle anywhere.
We then move to the engineering stage. This is where all department experts come together to develop solutions to achieve the defined outcomes. Removing the barriers of a siloed approach. We’re designing the plans, creating messaging maps and creating KPIs. And if something changes during the rest of our process – whenever the client comes back — and they tell us that there’s been a market shift, or there’s been a product shift, we come back to the engineering stage, and we reevaluate the plan that we’ve put together, because everything is designed to work in unison for maximum benefit.
Next, we move into execution. Because engineering has created clear pathways, execution is much clearer, agile and efficient. This is where we test, pivot if needed and maximize our planning. We’re looking at numbers, we’re looking at data. We want to see that we are moving towards reaching the outcome. If we aren’t, we move back into the engineering phase to realign. We move the burden for success to WS and off of our client’s shoulders – a radically different approach in marketing.
Throughout, we validate. This is where we’re looking at that outcome that we agreed upon with the client. Watching together with our client as we reach the outcomes defined.
Where It Can Take You
When executed properly, the results of outcome marketing are markedly different from what you might be used to. Suddenly you’re not just banking on a certain amount of impressions hopefully translating into increased sales, awareness, growth, etc. Increased sales can be your measurable result. Marketing and sales become intrinsically linked, to the degree that you’ll ask yourself why it hasn’t always been this way.
Marketing should always serve to support growth of a business, and with outcome marketing, it really can. At WS, growth is at the centre of any activity, not what your ad spend was, how many impressions a certain video got, or how many awards the campaign garnered. And in the world of agriculture, growth is what matters, whether it’s in the field or at your year-end. It comes back to boosting the ROI of your marketing spend —and bringing the voice of your customer squarely into the C-suite.