Monday, February 13, 2012

Three (More) Marketing Red Flags

The author, marketing pro Susan Gunelius, suggested that if a business or organization identifies any of the five marketing red flags offered up in the post, then it's likely time to retool the company's marketing strategy.

The five red flags suggested by the author included (paraphrased here by your truly):

  • There is a mismatch of “look/feel” in branding and collateral
  • There is a distinct lack of goals and marketing strategic direction
  • The marketing department only has a hazy guess as to how to connect with customers
  • Marketing materials talk only about the product or business, not the customer or prospect
  • The organization is consistently outperformed by competitors

Amen to that! There’s no doubt these five red flags offer up valuable information to business marketers.

Redder Flags
Funny, not sure how I missed this post from last year as Entrepreneur is a regular haunt.  

In my mind, the following three red flags are equally as important as the points summarized in the article.

You haven’t asked your prospects to review your marketing messaging and materials. I’ve said this before.  I get tired of hearing it myself.  What’s the point of marketing messaging (or a website; a brochure; a case study; etc.) if nobody ran it by key prospects or customers?  The keynote address from Kristin Zhivago at last year's Marketing Sherpa conference covered this same ground. It’s all well and good to come up with pithy and clever marketing language and slick looking design work, but does it resonate with the target audience?  Would your customers have any interest? There’s only one way of knowing:  ask them!  

You don’t pay attention to relevant marketing metrics. Here again, post after post in this blog talks about results, outcomes and metrics.  If the web team can’t quickly answer how many non-paid visitors found the website, or how much time they stay on the site, or the site's bounce rate, is the team effectively managing the website?  If the PR team can’t figure out how many folks read a media placement or press release, what’s the point?  If the direct marketing team can’t measure the amount of qualified leads turned over to sales, that’s a big red flag in my book.

You don’t engage with your company’s direct sales force.  I’m recently concluding a lengthy engagement with a bob client, and have learned a key lesson during my tenure:  the marketing department must act as a sales department service center.  It’s paramount to keep a direct line open with the key sales team and lead qualifiers.  What are prospects' top concerns?  What information is most valuable to those late in the sales cycle? What are the objections the sales team has experienced with missed sales opportunities?  If marketing exists in a vacuum, and doesn't receive this mission-critical feedback, and makes no effort to check in with the sales team, what’s the point anyway? Are we marketing for our own amusement?

Oh dear, this sounds a lot like a rant! Red flag! Red flag!

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