Make Every Marketing Dollar Count - Truths of Business Development

Posted by Megan Miller on January 22, 2019

group meeting

Many of you have heard the quote from John Wanamaker that says: “I know that half of my advertising dollars are wasted…I just don’t know which half.” 

Sadly, too many firms can say the same about their marketing efforts and resources. In my past, I was with a firm that sponsored an event that they considered to be their biggest bet of the year. In total, it cost about $50,000 to sponsor and participate. Every year, when I would ask for budget approval to sponsor this event again, the owner of the firm would ask me how much business we generated from this event. The first year, I had no idea. I just knew that the project managers and client managers believed we had to be there. How quickly could I have gotten that budget approval if I were able to prove we generated $1 million in pipeline from that event? Or inversely, if I found that we never generated any business from the show, or at least not enough to justify our presence, I could show the other stakeholders that we would be better spending that $50,000 on more profitable marketing efforts.

That said, ask yourself – if you looked at your marketing spend for the past year, are you able to show hard numbers and identify the campaigns or events that produced the biggest bang for your buck? Can you quickly show which campaigns or events may have been a waste of time and money?

Just like identifying your most profitable projects as discussed in the previous blog post, visibility is key. How are other firms in the A&E industry tackling this?


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Just like tracking your projects and pipeline in a CRM system is crucial to your business, so is tracking your marketing efforts. It provides a clear process starting with tracking marketing campaigns, identifying who you had conversations and interactions with as a result of the campaigns, associating opportunities generated with their appropriate campaign source, identifying how many of those opportunities became projects, and ultimately how much revenue those projects generated. That way, you can easily say, “after executing this $50,000 event, we won these five projects worth $1 million. We should definitely plan on sponsoring again next year.”

So, as you are planning your marketing efforts for the coming year, ask yourself these questions:

  • What are your strategic growth goals for the coming year and how do your marketing campaigns align and support those goals?
  • What are the key focus areas the business development team is targeting?
  • How can we align our marketing spend with those targeted areas?
  • Did we execute these campaigns well in the past?
  • If so, what was our ROI based on awarded projects?

When marketing and business development efforts remain closely aligned, you’ll start to find a much greater return on investment, greater appreciation for marketing campaigns, and a greater willingness to spend money where it counts.

If you missed the other blogs in this Business Development series, be sure to check these out as well:



About the Author

Megan Miller is a product marketing manager with Deltek and works with architecture & engineering firms around the world to help them improve their business processes through technology and thought leadership with resources like Deltek Clarity and Deltek’s leading project-based software solutions. Connect with Megan on LinkedIn.