22 June, 2012
Marketing is about raising awareness of your product or service and convincing customers to buy from you in a way that produces profit for your company (if you are a commercial organisation). But time and again we come across projects where clients are finding it difficult to establish a dialogue with prospects and generate sales. So what are the main reasons for this? Some of the more common ones are:
- a lack of understanding of who the target market is and their needs and wants
- poor quality data
- a tactical approach to marketing in an ad hoc manner
The success of any marketing campaign is down to planning, if you don’t plan then when the campaign doesn’t work don’t look too surprised!
But seriously all it takes is forethought, a plan that can be fine tuned and an on going commitment. Marketing doesn’t work over night, it takes time to build relationships, convince prospective buyers that you are the right choice. However I have often heard the comment “I Don’t care about marketing just get out there and sell” – suffice to say those companies no longer exist because the importance of marketing within the organisation was not understood. Marketing requires investment in time and money, it is not an after thought,its not merely a tactical window dressing brochure producing activity, its too important for that.
The principles and practices of marketing haven’t changed in the last 25 years, the tools we use have become more sophisticated, more attuned to the individual particularly consumers in the b2c market through the use of social media. But what about b2b?
Here its different, sales cycles are complex, decision makers can be varied, politics gets involved. This is where you need good quality market intelligence. But where you do you get it from?
You can buy in data from data providers, but be aware that your competitors are probably also buying the same information. But will the data be of use regarding your service or product? The answer is to improve the quality of the data by further cleansing and tuning. Most data providers will supply you with a company name, financial figures or the board of directors, but who is responsible for the product or service you are marketing? In other words you need to locate the decision maker and find out their requirements.
Unfortunately this is where without a plan it can unravel. Well meaning projects have occurred where a database is built only for it to fall out of use very quickly because of poor buy in by the marketing and/or sales team or that once done we don’t need to do it again.
Remember a database decays by around 25% every 3 months, you need to keep on top of it if its to return value; a high quality database should help drive the marketing activity and be able to justify the expenditure to the Finance Director and CEO through the sales revenue achieved.
So, you have bought a database, invested time and effort in identifying the decision makers who might need your product or service, so now you want to send them something, a brochure perhaps or a leaflet or an email?
The answer is you send them nothing.
You send them nothing because first and foremost you need a contact strategy that will engage with them by sending them meaningful content and messages across a spectrum of media in a way and a frequency that the prospect wants. If you want the prospect (target market) to see you as knowledgeable, trust worthy and someone they can do business with then you need to invest time and effort.
Marketing is not complicated, its common sense, but it needs planning, commitment and appropriate on going investment to succeed.
Link to BASF Coniroof case study:
Posted by Chris