According to Wikipedia, “bang for the buck” is an idiom meaning the worth of one’s money or exertion. The phrase originated from the slang usage of the words “bang,” which means excitement, and “buck,” which means money.
My “best bang theory” is that for companies to take advantage of and benefit from a best bang for the buck strategy, they must approach it from a position of strength and knowledge — not by “shooting from the hip” (another idiom). They need to analyze market segments and saturation levels, degree of reach, penetration and cost and make a decision that very logically will deliver the best bang for the buck.
Analyzing marketing segments. Understanding your market position is an important step in the process. Know where you have the greatest growth potential — it could be through new customer acquisition, but it could also be through current customer relationships.
Is there potential to grow market share? Which markets and/or products provide the greatest profit margin? Your bang for the buck will be determined based on the degree of opportunity and profit growth.
Degree of reach. You should have a marketing plan with strategies for how you will grow your business within select markets. If you don’t, get one. Analyze each marketing tactic based on the degree of reach within the potential prospect base.
A trade show, for example, may be a great marketing strategy, but it may only reach 10 percent of the market — those who attend that show. That does not make it a bad marketing tactic.
My point is that you should know what your degree of reach is for every marketing dollar spent. You should be able to look objectively at the cost per thousand of prospects reached. If you do this, you will have a better sense of which tactics deliver the best bang for the buck.
The penetration factor. Meaningful market penetration is necessary in order to assure your marketing message is heard by the prospects that have a need, that you have provided sufficient opportunity to gain purchase consideration and that prospects respond.
Marketing penetration can be determined by the probability of frequency of messaging needed to elicit a response. Not all marketing tactics require the same level of frequency, so it is important to understand best practices for each.
Ultimately, your goal is to reach an adequate level of market penetration to optimize results. So, your bang for the buck strategy and consideration needs to address degree of penetration within chosen markets.
Oh yeah, the buck. Underspending can be as ineffective as not spending at all. And, if there is no committed marketing strategy, you spend a little here and there, try this or that and in the end have very little results. You sum it up to “marketing just doesn’t work.”
I couldn’t disagree more. What doesn’t work is the approach. So when factoring in the above points, you should be able to delineate what you can do to get the best bang for the buck.
Just make sure you are spending enough to get adequate results. You don’t want to be “pennywise and pound-foolish” (yes, another idiom).
The best bang theory. Starting from a position of strength makes sense when you really think about it. The smarter you are about your market position, the greater results you should see from your marketing investment.
Take an assessment of how effective you think your current marketing program is. Is it 50 percent effective, 25 percent effective or 75 percent effective? If you could increase that percentage and put that money to work in smarter ways, how long would it take for you to make that change?
Invest in developing a strategic marketing plan that defines your company’s market position and maps out a strategy for how you best compete and how you are going to increase market share. That’s my best bang theory.”
Kelly Borth is CEO and chief strategy officer for Greencrest, a 21-year-old brand development, strategic marketing and digital media firm that turns market players into market leaders. Borth has received numerous honors for her business and community leadership. She serves on several local advisory boards and is one of 30 certified brand strategists in the United States. Reach her at (614) 885-7921, firstname.lastname@example.org or @brandpro. For more information, visit www.greencrest.com.