Last week, I posed the question, “Are you trying to solve the wrong problem in your marketing?  In other words, are you focused on the biggest leverage points to maximize your marketing budget?

There are a LOT of options out there so it’s easy to get confused and frustrated pretty quickly. Plus, there are only so many hours in the workday and only so many balls you can juggle before you end up dropping them all.

So should you run an online ad campaign in AdWords, Facebook, or LinkedIn?  Should you launch a search engine optimization (SEO) campaign?  Do you need new website copy and design to convert more visitors to sales?  Do you need to automate your follow-up to convert more leads into sales?  Or is your bigger leverage point increasing lifetime customer value via pricing strategies, up-sells, cross-sells, and referral programs?

Whoa! Hold on a second. I just got dizzy listing all of those options…

And that is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to all the marketing ideas thrown at you every day in the media.  It’s completely overwhelming.  And what do we naturally do when we’re overwhelmed?


When in doubt, stick to the status quo, right?  Clearly, that’s not the path to a marketing breakthrough.


How to Find Your Marketing Breakthrough

By now I think I’ve made my point.  It’s critical to focus your time, energy, and marketing dollars on the areas in your marketing that will have the biggest impact.  Everything else is a “nice to have” but not a “need to have right now.”

So the next logical question is, “how do you identify the best leverage points in your marketing?  I call this finding your marketing breakthrough.

Here’s the process I use with my clients to find marketing breakthroughs.


Step 1. Isolate Your Marketing Systems

After 6 years of studying engineering, I can’t help but break down a complex topic like marketing into smaller, isolated systems.  That’s just how my brain works.  But if you’re not familiar with this concept, then don’t worry, it’s actually really quite simple.

It’s impossible for anyone to think about your entire marketing system and pinpoint your leverage points.  There’s just too many moving parts.

The solution is to draw some imaginary boxes around different areas so you can focus on each area in isolation.  For example, here are 4 key areas every business can isolate:

  1. Traffic (includes all website traffic sources)
  2. Sales conversion rate (you may need to break this down further into “visitor to lead conversion rate” and “lead to customer conversion rate”)
  3. Initial customer value (determined by your offer and pricing strategies)
  4. Lifetime or 90-day customer value (includes up-sells, cross-sells, and referrals)

As you break up your marketing into bite-sized pieces you’ll find it’s much easier to isolate problems and opportunities.


Step 2. Relieve Bottlenecks

The next step to find marketing breakthroughs is to identify and relieve bottlenecks in your sales funnel.  A bottleneck is simply the area in your funnel that is most limiting your sales.

For example, if you have a lot of traffic to your website and you’re getting a lot of phone calls, but the calls are not converting to sales, then your bottleneck is your phone sales script.  Or if you convert most calls into customers, but you’re not getting any traffic, then traffic is your bottleneck.

To identify bottlenecks, you need the following:

  • Map out your sales funnel using a basic mind map.
  • Using all of your tracking data, add conversion rates to each conversion point in your mind map.  For example, your website should have a conversion rate for phone calls and a conversion rate for any webforms.  Plus, you’ll have a sales conversion rate for those phone calls and webform submissions.
  • Find the weakest link in your mind map.  That’s your bottleneck.


I wish there was a simple, push-button solution here, but there is not.  Plus, every business is in a different situation so there’s really no one-size-fits-all answer to the question, “what’s my biggest leverage point?”  The only way to determine this, is to actually roll up your sleeves and complete the 2 steps outlined above.