Most of us can appreciate the need to buy a home with a good foundation –you’ll often hear people say ‘that house has good bones’. Having a solid foundation makes it easy to maintain and is often a matter of cosmetic fixes. The same can be said for marketing. Of course that’s easier said than done.
For some B2B companies, marketing is new territory, and there may not be a foundation (or infrastructure) in place. Building an effective infrastructure is an important step in building a marketing program. This consists of systems and processes that help to improve the efficiency and productivity of your marketing. And like building a house, while it’s nice to do it all at once, you can do it a few layers at a time.
If your company has not addressed marketing for a long time and few systems and processes exist, a proper marketing infrastructure can take anywhere from 3 to 6 months (and sometimes longer) to build. The good news is that it doesn’t have to all be in place before you can actually start with the business of marketing. And once it is in place, like your house, it requires just a little maintenance from time to time to keep running smoothly.
Here are a few steps to keep in mind when building your marketing infrastructure:
- Contact Database – There are a variety of available tools and CRM platforms for capturing and storing contacts, leads, customers, past customers, vendors, etc.
- Lead Tracking – Depending on budget, many platforms such as SalesForce and other CRM platforms provide lead tracking as well. This is a critical system to have in place as it provides insight into marketing performance and is often a key marketing metric.
- Website Optimization and Website Analytics – Building a website that is properly optimized for your target keywords and search engines is essential along with an analytics program (Google Analytics is good – and free) that tracks key website statistics such as traffic, organic search, downloads and more.
- Email Marketing Platform – Most companies will need an email marketing or marketing automation platform. Depending on the organization’s size, buying cycle and sophistication a more basic email marketing program such as Constant Contact or Mail Chimp may be used over a marketing automation program such as Eloqua or Marketo.
- Media List and Press Releases – In B2B, PR is often a critical tactic, building a targeted media list by verticals and a process for writing, approving and distributing press releases is essential.
It’s never too late to get started. Take stock of what you have and what you don’t have and follow a plan to put infrastructure in place a few layers at a time.