The old world is gone.

A global economic recession looks likely. Maybe even a depression.

Already businesses big and small are suffering, and it's hard to know what the hell is going to happen in the future. This virus and its effects are changing everything. 

Businesses need to take a careful look at their marketing.

In an ideal world, every dollar a business spends on marketing helps them reach new people, attract new leads, and make more sales.

That’s not how things work in the real world.

Too many marketing agencies and marketing departments use what I call Fake ROI.

You pay them a large retainer or give them a generous budget, and in return they give you “branding wins,” and “awareness campaigns,” and “social media presence.” All of that sounds like progress, but what happens when revenues are down 40% this quarter and you need to pay your staff? How is a “branding win” going to help you then?

Fake ROI campaigns might be flashy or imaginative, but they aren’t performance-based. It’s hard to tell if they’re working. Since these sorts of campaigns aren’t trackable, it’s often anyone’s guess if they are profitable or if they are losing money. 

Performance-based marketing is different. Instead of trying to build awareness or prop up your brand, the goal for performance-based marketing is to generate a result. It could be a sale, a lead, or a click. You can find out very quickly if your campaign is generating the results you want. 

Businesses can’t afford Fake ROI, not with everything that’s going on. The whole world has changed, and now is the time to make sure that your marketing is working for you. 

Backbone's Nathan Frater and Lucy Mangin


Good marketing is an investment, not an expense.

Performance-based marketing allows you to quantify and track success and failure.

For a lot of businesses, the money they spend on marketing is a “budget”. It’s an allocated amount of money that disappears, month after month, spent on this abstract thing known as “marketing.” 

With performance-based marketing, you can see right away if something is making you a return on your investment or not. 

For example, last month we managed to triple one of our client’s sales, while their market is scrambling to adjust to the new normal. This has easily been their best month for sales in the past two years.

How were we able to do this? Well… we had the numbers!

This client, Casper Fitness, sells workouts and personalized coaching. We knew we had to change something to help them get through this uncertain time with the lockdown and the virus. 

Since we had access to all the information we needed, we cut spending on all experimental campaigns and doubled-down on chasing after his best customers. These customers cost less to acquire and typically spent more on their products. The results showed up right away.

Casper Fitness acquired 86 new customers in February and 91 in March, but over April they got 201 new customers. Essentially a 200% increase. Since we were tracking everything, we could tell this huge wave of customers was a direct result of our new direction. 

The natural question here is "well what was the increase in spend to achieve that? The answer is zero (well a 3.5% increase, which is as good as zero). We spent the same amount of money to acquire 3 times as many customers and all it took was a little blood sweat and content (tears).

If we didn’t have the numbers or the right mindset, then we would have never taken the risks. We just wanted to get the best result for our client, which is what really defines a performance-based agency. 

How most agencies REALLY make their money.

I want to share a bit of insider information on the business model used by way too many agencies. Marketing departments also borrow from this as well, so that they appear more essential than they really are. 

Let me break it down.

First the agency wants to sell you on a project. Could be a new website or maybe a creative ad campaign. You pay the $5000 or $10,000 or $50,000 or whatever. 

Then the next step for the agency is to get you on a retainer. That means every month they can reliably count on your business to give them X amount of dollars and in return they do a certain amount of marketing for you. 

Now all of that seems fine… but here’s where I start to have problems. 

The next step is to continuously sell you on new projects… not because they could help your business, but because the agency needs to make more money. 

So you end up spending more money on projects that may or may not increase your ROI. Agencies become concerned with keeping things the same, instead of asking themselves if there were better, cheaper, and more effective ways to do things. 

This is the time when you need provable results from your marketing. If you want a bit of help, then jump on a call with us. 

Right now the team and I are available for free marketing diagnostic calls. We’ll talk and figure out what your business is doing well and what you could be doing better. 

Don’t worry, this isn’t a “sales call.” You aren’t going to talk to some pseudos-marketer who’ll ask you a bunch of questions so they can try and sell you on some package. These calls are relaxed, there’s no obligation, and we’re happy to give away our best advice at no cost. 

If you have questions, or you are wondering about your marketing, just click the link below and book a call. Again, there’s no pressure with these calls. We’ve been talking to dozens of businesspeople during this weird and uncertain time, and have been giving away our best techniques and advice for nothing. 

Book your call below:  https://grow.backbone.nz/registration

Backbone is a performance based digital agency where we focus on creative growth solutions. We operate on a % of revenue or pay per lead basis and have a clear focus on direct response marketing. What does that mean? We treat your money like it is our money. Ultimately Backbone is one of those businesses that started because the founders couldn’t find what they wanted in the market.