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Using Your Sixth Man to Your Advantage

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Today’s post is from Lorraine Ball, president of Roundpeg.  Her advice on getting the biggest bang for your buck in marketing: understand your clients and establish standards for success.

In basketball, the fans are often considered the Sixth Man.  In your business, Marketing is the “sixth man”. Would you hire an employee without a specific idea of what you wanted the employee to do?  Of course not. As a business owner, when you hire someone you want them to be productive.  Likewise, in order to put them on the right track you outline things such as goals, objectives, and performance so you and your employee know what is expected and how success will be measured.

For many firms, the investment in marketing exceeds the salary you pay a single employee. If you are going to make that type of an investment, I think you need to have some clarity regarding performance objectives and success measures.


© Flickr user redcraig

So Where Do You Start?

Just as you would with an employee, begin with your business objectives.  How many customers or sales do you hope to generate as a result of the investment? Understanding what a single customer is worth will help you match the appropriate investment to a particular marketing activity. Then at the end of the program, campaign or promotion you can evaluate if the money was well spent. Calculating the ROI per customer can provide a helpful starting point for your budgeting process.

Compare Marketing Activities

Hold your marketing accountable.  Those activities which produce better results, such as more qualified prospects or simply more prospects in general, should get promoted while the investments directed toward similar programs should increase.  Those activities which don’t produce results risk being fired!

Just as business owners will disagree on what qualities make up the perfect employee, they will disagree on what marketing is most effective.  Set your own criteria and measurements and you will enjoy a winning season!

Lorraine Ball is President of Roundpeg, a full service marketing firm in Indianapolis’ small business community. Visit them online at

In the NBA, they ought to rename the Sixth Man Award the Jamal Crawford Award, as he’s been one of the most valuable players off the bench for the majority of his career. He’s a dynamic scorer, who is constantly able to come into the game and immediately provide a spark. If you’ve watched any of the teams he’s played for over the years, it’s clear how he transforms his squad when he’s in the game. Marketing really can have a similar sparkplug effect.

It isn’t only important to have a solid marketing squad when things go stale. No NBA team could be successful if they didn’t start out with a solid bench. Even the most dominant players don’t play for at least 20% of each game. But, when things are going stale, that’s when it’s extra important to have a spark like a good marketing team.

Take the time to analyze your marketing activities. This isn’t something you should rush into, throwing money around hoping that something sticks. Be sure to really understand what you need to accomplish in the best case scenario and which clients you’re going to be tracking down. Then, set your team up so they can be successful at getting you to that best case scenario. Once you’ve properly planned, then you can move towards a system of success.

At AccelaWork, we can help you make the most of your marketing activities. If you’re ready to rethink the way you work, contact our business improvement consultants. We can help you improve your work lineup from the all-stars to the 13th men on the bench.

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  • Robby Slaughter

    Thanks for a great guest post, Lorraine!

  • Jeff R.

    Cost of acquisition for any customer is a crucial measurement, and Lorraine touched on what may even be a more crucial measurement, what is the cost in each step of the cadence to convert that burgeoning relationship into a conversion.