We’re approaching that time of year when companies are allocating budgets and decisions are being made around the marketing strategy. Whether you are debating a cut to expenses by cutting the marketing budget or wondering how to build a business case for additional budget, consider how marketing impacts many aspects of the business for some guidance on how to reach your goals.
Where and how does the company compete and allocate its resources? We’re not just limiting this to the marketing strategy but the company’s strategy as a whole. Are you launching a new product? Looking for additional revenues from existing customers? Looking to showcase one product over another for a period of time? All of the above? Whatever the case, ensure the marketing strategy aligns with the company strategy. Build your annual plan with tactics that support the success of each strategy.
2. Market Awareness.
Is the company known and recognized in the market? Is it credible? In a recent survey, 74% of business buyers told Forrester they conduct more than half of their research online before making an offline purchase.1 If you are still developing awareness in your market (and we believe you should always build awareness – business is too dynamic to neglect this for long), ensure you have tactics that build awareness sprinkled into your annual plan. These include thought leadership, search engine marketing and speaking at industry events.
3. Lead Generation.
Lead generation is consistently in the top 2 requests for us to consider as we build our marketing strategies. It often goes hand in hand with building brand awareness as it’s hard to do one without the other. Do enough qualified leads come in through the phone or website, as a result of inbound and outbound marketing efforts? If so, you’re doing something right, and keep those tactics running, adjusting as necessary. If not, build generation tactics into your tactics plan and check that your website is finely tuned. These tactics can sometimes seem cost prohibitive depending on how you balance your ROI, but without lead generation, you’re relying on networking and cold calling to develop new contacts. Networking has a finite limit and we know that cold calling is less effective as a single tactic. Sometimes we hear about too many unqualified leads which requires analysis and repair. Usually in those cases, lead nurturing or targeted persona copy on the website can be quick fixes.
4. Sales Support.
Does the sales team have effective materials and tools to convert prospects into customers? Do you have a plan and budget to keep them up to date? According to a 2013 study by CIO Insight, over 46% of B2B purchases involve more than four individuals in the final decision2. Digital sales collateral makes it easy for your prospect to share information about you and your products and services with this larger team. We like to have an up to date company overview PDF or PPT document as well as a separate piece of sales collateral that describes the benefits of each important product or service offering.
What else does sales need? Assistance with maximizing a tradeshow investment? There is a cost to pull Sales out of the field to attend the tradeshow and some simple strategies like a plan to draw delegates to the booth or nurturing leads post-show ensures their time is used respectfully.
Perhaps Sales also requires some assistance qualifying leads. They know after the first conversation with a prospect whether or not the opportunity is valid. Take their feedback and consider it when you build a lead nurturing strategy, regardless of how automated with software it might be.
5. Customer Retention & Growth.
Are customers loyal and doing more business with the company each year? Marketing can ensure they will and can assist Sales with customer communication, freeing up their time to develop new business opportunities by using more personal methods. Use communication channels like newsletters and social media to share updates and company news with your customer champions. Find a tone that is personalized and works with your customer base to make them feel included, appreciated and informed. Additionally, consult with Sales to develop campaigns to assist with their upsell and cross sell strategies. Consider incentives to launch new products.
At Mezzanine, we believe that marketing strategies support business goals. Marketing strategies are executed through tactical plans and each plan normally includes tactics that supports all 5 of these ways Marketing supports business growth. You can read our thoughts about tactics in other posts in this blog or contact us today.