Your Top Marketing Hits

“Oh, you’re a fan of [BAND NAME]? Name five of their top hits.”

Saying that someone needs to be able to name “top hits” if they’re really a fan of something—typically a band—has turned into a joke and a meme. But as marketers, it can also be something of a thought exercise.

Quick: Can you name your company’s top marketing hits?

For salespeople, it’s typically easy to glance at the numbers and recite which products or services are the “top hits,” because those are the ones that have moved the highest number of units or generated the most profits.

But for marketing, it’s a little murkier. Some successes are traced directly back to sales—but other wins are about raising awareness, earning favorability, bringing in new audiences, or even winning awards. 

If someone asked everyone on your team what your three “top hits” were this year—or in the past decade—would they all produce the same answers? 

We imagine not. That might be for many reasons—for example, people tend to overemphasize the value of, and better remember, the projects they contributed toward. That’s natural.

But it’s not about necessarily reaching a consensus—it’s an important exercise to consider. It shows how people think about what a winning marketing product or campaign looks like and how it can be gauged.

It might open conversations about how the business can uniformly quantify and rank which efforts are most meaningful and valuable—which can be useful in raising support from business leaders, influencers, and stakeholders. 

It can also help point you toward the kind of work you should be pouring future time, energy, and labor into in the future. What deserves to be replicated? What is producing revenue? What is earning people’s fondness and pride?

The exercise can (and should) also be taken outside of the marketing team—and outside of the company entirely. Find out what projects your customers and clients remember best. Find out what the CEO liked and what’s top-of-mind from years past. Measure those spontaneous answers against what the numbers show. If they don’t entirely reconcile, sit down and discuss why—and if it changes the direction you’ll want to go in when planning future campaigns.

Comedians always say that within the best jokes is a kernel of truth. In the case of the “top hits” trope, that also holds up. But you’ll never know just how useful it may be for you until you ask.

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