Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Marketing Two-Step

Here’s another blog post about marketing and dancing.
Gaining Insight
One of the advantages of contract consulting is the opportunity to team with business-to-business companies in a variety of industries -- learning about each company’s challenges.  This provides valuable perspective and insight into common marketing challenges most organizations face in the marketplace. 
While most of my background is in manufacturing and technology, a significant number of projects and clients come from the professional services and non-profit/educational sector.  

Common Goals
Despite the type of business, many of the marketing issues these organizations face are the same. 
At the most fundamental, most organizations want to:
  • expand market awareness.
  • seek out prospects likely to buy.
  • entice prospects to make a purchase decision.
In pursuit of that goal, decades of experience have revealed that the following two-step process is key, despite the company type.  Think if it as a “Marketing Two-Step”.

The Marketing Two-Step
Step 1: Who’s Your Prospect and What Do They Want?   

Most organizations have not taken the time to develop a solid understanding of who the company is trying to attract, and what motivates them.
It’s all very well and good to make assumptions about the marketplace but that approach can be quite ineffective.  The marketing two-step begins with a commitment to allocate resources to get inside the heads of prospects. Instead of designing and creating marketing campaigns, ads, lead generation programs or other marketing programs based on the internal team’s existing understanding of what they think their buyers want, the first step is to ascertain resonating messages, tone and features of campaigns that appeal to what ideal buyers want – not what we think they want. 
This can be accomplished by teaming with reputable marketing research groups, conducting market surveys or focus groups, or even surveying recent wins to determine the most compelling buying decisions of recent closed sales.

Step 2) Set Clear Goals and Targets.    

The two-step also includes a process to team with sales, finance, and other internal team members to calculate the number of leads needed to achieve revenue goals. Then here's the kicker, communicate that goal to the entire sales/marketing team. 
What’s the company’s revenue goal?  Tie that annual goal to leads and sales. How many inbound prospects turn into qualified leads?  How many qualified leads from marketing turn into sales?  What’s the average revenue from a closed sale?  An aggressive program depends on these figures. This target needs to be front and center.

Elegance Despite Difficulty
This marketing two-step sounds deceptively simple, but it is in fact extremely difficult to achieve.  (Fred Astaire sure made those routines look easy! He even makes dancing with a coat rack look elegant!
Like any dance choreography, this key step has to come first to “set up” the rest of the dance.
The trick is to make it part of the routine, do it as elegantly as you can, and go about the step with gusto. 

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