015: Marketing Planning, Budgeting, and Getting Sales ROI for Small and Medium Sized Growth Companies with Brian G. Bauer


Brain is a Business Advisor at Cultivate Advisors, and a senior level executive with 15+ years experience in start-up or high growth environments. He understands how business leaders think about sales and marketing. And, since 2019 marketing plans are entering the execution phase here in February, we thought it was a good chance to talk about the seasonality of building out annual plans, and how leaders need to see return on investment for the marketing activities they decide to pursue. We also discuss managing expectations and how marketers should think about demonstrating ROI.

Listen to the episode on iTunes here.

Show highlights:

04:45 – Brian G. Bauer background in online marketing through the 2000’s, broadcast television, to now working with new entrepreneurs and small business owners. Now is a small and medium sized Business Advisor at Cultivate Advisors.

08:00 – Challenges business owners are facing. His segment is focused on under $10 million total annual revenue, with the vast majority of companies being a couple $100k to the low millions ($2-3 million). They have small marketing budgets and typically don’t have staff focused on marketing. Business resolutions are the same as personal ones, and owners are coming into January 2019 trying to map out marketing.

13:00 – Brian uses a high school analogy: being a business owners is like trying to be straight A’s on the report card in various subjects. Business owners have strengths and skills gaps. Certain areas will excel while others need help, in either finance, accounting, HR, sales, operations, or marketing.

17:00 – Lead generation activities (short term metrics and ROI) are different than brand building exercise (long term metrics and ROI).

18:00 – Thinking about a budget, total top line revenue helps to start, then we have to drill down into the nuance of the specific business. At $100k of top line revenue, the mindset is: “how do we hack stuff together and get impact for low cost?” And at $300k, these owners think: “how do we get thoughtful and designate marketing spend?” At annual revenue of $1 million, businesses start to get more traditional about marketing. Business owners ARE willing to invest, but (a) is it the right activity (b) will they get ROI and (c) have they been taught about the right ROI.

22:00 – Considering these challenges, how can we offer solutions as marketers? Focus on client problem before our own needs. Owners want to be heard and understood, and if we can show them we understand and that we have a plan, marketers and sales people get credibility right away.

26:00 – Marketers must kindle a conversation with the business owner about where potential buyers are hanging out in-person and online. Then, the marketer or sales person must show business owner a strategic and tactical plan for execution.

29:00 – How to frame a project or a marketing test to make high impact within 30-90 days. Maximum really is 120 because the owner must see ROI.

32:00 – Industry experience vs technical skills as a marketer, which one matters more and why?

35:00 – On framing an ROI discussion and what biz owners care about in reporting with quantitative and qualitative marketing ROI reporting.

39:00 – Final remarks and where to find Brian G. Bauer online.

Find Brian G. Bauer online: