Part I of How Meeting Our Goals Was Killing the Company. If your marketing department is meeting your goals for lead volume, cost per lead, and overall spend, how could your company be suffering? This video reveals the horrible secret…


So, we had a client—this is one of our larger online clients as well—and they are in the in the business of selling large basically storage containers. Those mobile mini office things that you see alongside railroads.

And when starting to have initial meetings with them and onboarding them as a client, their senior management team walks us through and articulated their goals for us. And they took us through, overall, what their primary acquisition focus was, Again, we’re going to be focused on mobile offices, specifically. A secondary and far less important goal for them was this storage containers category. And they said, “Really, I don’t want to allocate any spend at all whatsoever to the PODS category; that’s a money-waster for us.”

So when looking at the account, this is basically what we expected to see: beaucoups of money allocated to mobile office. Well, some spend towards storage containers. Obviously, as much as we can get for brand. And then zero’s been allocated to the PODS category, just as senior management directed.

So what we did was started our account analysis—and, really, anyone can do this. We pulled long-term search query report data and basically went through and themed each of the queries based on the product category that it was associated with. Then PivotTable’d and aggregated that data to get to spend number.

So, again, this is what we would expect to find. Where in reality, what we found was something much different.

They were spending only about half of their budget on their primary product offering that they wanted to grow; much less on the storage containers; still doing about right on brand. And a whopping 30 percent on the PODS category that they did not want to put any investment into it all whatsoever; a loss leader for them.

How could this happen? It goes back to alignment. So the marketing team was given a series of goals. The goals were:

  • Get me 2,500 leads; I want to take them to sales
  • I want them to be about $40 a lead, and
  • Our budget is going to be around 100k

Great! So when looking at the goals… Okay, leads right on the money, bullseye. Our cost per lead, fairly close as well; I’m comfortable with that. And then our spend—again, right there on target. So overall we’re winning, right? We’re hitting goal, I feel good about it.

But should I? Not really. Overall, what this strategy was doing was incentivizing performance to the actual goal target, not towards the product line and the product growth is what the senior management team wanted.

So what you have to do with your marketing teams is: be very, very clear in your budget-setting process and very clear in terms of how they are segmented and how they’re managed—there should have likely been a separate specific budget for the overall storage category itself. And then you need to align your spin with those goals as well, and then make sure that you’re doing those checks.

Again, the very simple process of going through and reviewing your query data to inform whether or not the actual business goals—the company goals that you want to hit—are how you’re allocating your dollars.