April 9th, 2019

What is Outcome Marketing?

by Katelynn Watkins

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction; Newton’s third law of physics tells us that.

But that fact doesn’t just belong in scientific discussions. In fact, you probably see it applied more times in one day than you even realize!

Believe it or not, that includes your marketing strategy. When you publish a blog post, for example, you often hope for a certain reaction from your target audience. The question is, do you want results or outcomes? There is a difference, and knowing all about it can help shape your marketing plan for months to come.

The Bigger Picture 

Simply put, outcome marketing refers to the bigger picture. Analyzing an outcome requires you to lay out a narrative, a complete storyline from start to finish of what your marketing team has done and where it got the brand by the time all was said and done. It’s not about the details; it’s about analyzing the campaign as one working machine and whether that mechanism propelled you forward, or shot you even further backward. When you do this, it’s easier to see what directional changes need to happen so the brand can reach its long-term goals, or the end of the story, so to speak.

Outcomes vs. Results

So how does this help when you compare the outcome marketing approach to that of the results analysis? In this case, results mean all of the specialized metrics, or benchmarks, that you can glean from a regular marketing report: page views, bounce rates, clicks, post engagements, etc. They show success in one area of the campaign, down to an individual component and exactly how well it did in a plethora of ways. Tools like Google Analytics, Twitter Analytics, Facebook Insights, and basic reporting software can show you all of this and more.

And these are important, especially if you’re looking for quick changes you can make to the way you market a business or brand. If your post on social media didn’t get as many clicks as you hoped for, then you know to plan out some different content in next month’s calendar, or maybe even do a follow-up post that reintroduces the topic in a different tone of voice. But if you want to know how your social media accounts are affecting your brand’s bottom line on a grander scale, then you might want to start dabbling in outcome marketing.

Getting Started

It can be hard, restructuring the way you think about the feedback you usually receive on a marketing campaign. So, we recommend starting small. Rather than making an abrupt transition to this method of planning, ask your marketing team to begin by outlining each marketing campaign as a whole, instead of focusing on each part on its own. The idea is to see how each piece fits with the next, and how they work together to get the cogs turning.

Essentially, you’re looking at quality, not quantity. Sure, one PPC ad may have gotten a lot of attention, but did it get your business any longstanding clients? By itself: probably not. But, when combined with the efforts of social media campaigns, savvy content marketing, and the talents of your sales reps, that one ad could very well have set off a chain reaction that culminated in a new working relationship. And if so, then your team can trace back and identify what didn’t quite pull its weight, then adjust or eliminate it from the campaign accordingly.

Fine-tuning your marketing strategy isn’t always a walk in the park, but using the outcome marketing approach can sometimes help you see the forest instead of the trees. From there, the idea is to have a better understanding of the campaigns as a whole and what they need to succeed. Contact Sage Island’s marketing experts if you want a few extra pairs of eyes on your next project!

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