Marketing Success: It's Not Always About Leads

Inbound Marketing, Strategy, Creativity

"Measurement is the first step that leads to control and, eventually, to improvement."
-H. James Harrington (Performance Improvement expert)

For anyone wanting to take their marketing efforts to the next level, this quote will ring true. Making a solid effort to track and measure the success of our hard work is essential for growth. Many marketing departments judge their success based on the number of sales qualified leads (SQLs) they can turn over to the sales department. These prospective customers have demonstrated their intent to buy the company's products and are ready for the sales team to step in and work their magic.

However, marketing has evolved since then. The number of SQLs may not be the best indicator of your success, especially because marketing teams need to focus on long-term brand-building strategies. Read on to learn about other metrics many marketing agencies are using to determine and solidify their success.


Marketing Success: It's Not Always About Leads

Building a solid brand is one of the best indicators of your marketing team's success, especially if you are just starting out. A good, cohesive brand lays the groundwork for future marketing endeavors and makes working with leads much easier. The more consistent, the better.

Determining what makes a brand good is largely subjective. However, branding experts tend to agree that a good branding effort "tells the story" of a brand in a coherent way while offering customers a clear point of entry into the company or product's narrative. Connecting consumers and/or customers to a brand in a meaningful and memorable way can oftentimes create life-long fans of your brand.

Awareness Disguised as Lead Generation 

Another metric for marketing success is awareness. Even a well-crafted brand won't create leads or drive conversions if the product's target demographic has not been exposed to it. Brand awareness gives companies the opportunity to differentiate themselves from competitors and speak to what makes them truly different.

Branding continues to play a role in awareness. What does that mean? When marketing your brand or service, you often focus on giving your business top of mind awareness - say you sell appliances. When your target audience or key persona is ready to buy an appliance you carry, they'll often take to Google to look for answers and research. If your company's website is built to appeal to those types of searches, (combining the right content with SEO best practices) your company can be a solution for people looking for appliances. Keep in mind, however, that it is sometimes easy to blur the line between product marketing and brand marketing. There’s a sweet spot in knowing how to promote a new product while also telling the story of your brand. There is nothing consumers hate more than watching, seeing, or hearing an advertisement and not having a clue what it was for. Make consumers aware in a concise but creative manner.


Finally, alignment is important for marketing success. Alignment is how well your marketing materials line up with the needs and desires of your target demographic. Being on the same page with your target audience is a recipe for marketing success.

If you've created marketing materials that are truly savvy, but you've misjudged your audience, you won't have the desired effect you intended. It is important to have a real, pragmatic understanding of your demographic, or they'll move on, assuming what you're selling is for someone else. This is the opposite result marketing should have on consumers. For example, to make sure your marketing materials are getting at the desired core group of individuals, keep tabs on current trends that relate to your specified age-range or other identifying factors.


At the end of the day, SQLs are one of the best short-term metrics for success and they determine the success or failure of a company. However, marketing teams also build brands and strategies for the long term. The quality of a brand, the audience's awareness of it, and how marketing materials align with your demographic are all useful metrics for determining a marketing team's success.

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