Viewing posts categorised under: Marketing Strategy
Marketing at its CoreNot so long ago, marketing was a pretty straightforward thing. You figured out your target audience; did your research; created an advertising plan that probably consisted of print, radio, and maybe television; and measured your results. These days, things seem a lot more complicated than that, but they’re really not so different. I will agree that planning and executing a marketing initiative can be pretty confusing. There are so many options today, and the more you research, the deeper you go, the more involved things become. But it all boils down to one thing - It always has been and always will be about getting to know your client, not selling yourself outright.
It’s All About the ClientAt its roots, marketing’s purpose is still the same. The American Marketing Association defines it as “the process for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for clients, partners, and society at large.” Notice that you don’t see words like advertise, promote, or sell in this definition. It suggests that the winner here is not the marketer, but the client. That, my friends, is what marketing is all about, building and nurturing a relationship. Giving the client tools and ideas for their success. When you scratch their back, they’ll eventually scratch yours.
Knowledge at Your Literal FingertipsWe live in a world where we have instant access to endless knowledge. Type a keyword into Google, ask Siri a question, and you get a response in mere seconds. It’s pretty amazing. Websites, social media, email, blogs, metrics…it can be enough to make your head spin! The Internet has changed how we market and how people receive and interact with brand information. I’ve even seen suggestions that marketing is dead. Really? What’s dying are the old, inflexible marketing systems and channels that are too rigid, take too long to measure, and are simply not cost effective. “Permission marketing” is the modern way. It’s the idea that consumers are more open to messages when they invite the marketer to interact with them, rather than being attacked from all sides with things like pop-up ads, disruptive commercials, and cold calls.
That Whole Relationship ThingWe’ve talked about this before, but I can’t say it enough. Marketing is all about courting your clients. Making a sale is like signing a marriage contract. You wouldn’t marry someone without dating them first, right? It’s the same with marketing. You have to establish a trusting relationship with potential clients and make them aware of the value you bring to your partnership. How can a company survive without continually building relationships and feeding the pipeline? I guess if the company doesn’t rely on revenue streams it could…but is there such a company? I think not. Marketing is a vital function of any company, and it always will be. It is a matter of maximizing your budget, targeting your right-fit client, and utilizing those channels where your potential clients reside. Build your unique strategy, plan it, execute well, measure, refine and repeat. Marketing may have many faces that change regularly and swiftly, but its soul is always the same. Get to know your client. Inspire trust. Establish a lasting relationship. Nurture that relationship, and that client will remain loyal. If you need help sorting through the options available to you, let’s chat. I’d love to help you simplify your marketing and get results!
Sales + Marketing = SmarketingAccording to HubSpot, smarketing is the “alignment between your sales and marketing teams created through frequent and direct communication between the two.” Goals can be reached in a much quicker, more efficient manner through smarketing. Traditionally, the world of sales without marketing has been somewhat disruptive. Approaches like cold-calling and unsolicited ads are basically shots in the dark. You can fire all you want to, but you’re never guaranteed to hit your target audience. This is where marketing proves its value. Whereas sales are focused on numbers and end goals, marketing concentrates on the journey toward that end goal.
A Common LanguageIn order to align sales and marketing properly, you’ll need to create a common language between the two. For example, the sales funnel has been used for decades to measure stages of buyer readiness (leads, prospects, and customers). The marketing equivalent to the sales funnel is known as the buyer’s journey (awareness, consideration, decision). Even though these two tools use different metrics, they actually align pretty well. Basically, leads are in the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey. Marketing helps turn them into prospects by identifying their point of pain and providing valuable content. Prospects move into the consideration stage, where you can market to them by offering free resources and showing them what your brand does. Once they’ve decided how to solve their problem, prospects move into the decision stage and become customers.
Sales Without Marketing is Like Proposing Marriage on the First DateAny good relationship requires a courting period. Think of marketing as dating and sales as marriage. The best way to develop a relationship with a lead is to offer relevant content like educational blogs and how-to guides. This allows you to take a cold lead’s hand and guide them through the sales process in a gentle way, reading their level of engagement to determine where they are in the buying process and responding in kind by presenting the right information. Sticking with the lead throughout the journey means you will be top of mind when they’re ready to become a customer. In keeping with the courting analogy, dating is even important after marriage. “Date” your customer by continuing to provide educational content and offers. This will help you nurture that relationship past the point of sale, letting the buyer know that you’re there for them and ready to help with whatever post-sale needs they might have. Marketing builds brand awareness by identifying a lead’s point of pain and educating them through valuable content that helps them solve a problem. As thought leader and bestselling author Seth Godin says, “Selling to people who actually want to hear from you is more effective than interrupting strangers who don’t.” After all, who doesn’t want to hear from someone who’s offering to help?
In the digital age, remarkable, relevant content is the key to attracting customers. You know this. But do you know how to tailor that content to fit into each stage of the buyer's journey?The fact that content is king has no doubt been pounded into your head and left a lasting impression. It’s true, though. Buyers actually experience the majority of the sales cycle through web content. That means they’re more than halfway through a decision to buy before they even speak to a salesperson. This means you need to intercept them early on to influence that decision. Creating that content can sometimes be trickier than it sounds. How do you know what kind of content your prospective buyer is looking for? This is where the buyer’s journey comes in. “Too many companies’ landing pages are still collecting too much information at the early stages of a relationship,” says Lori Wizdo. Buyers at each stage have different needs. Too much bragging about your product early on can chase them away.
The Buyer's JourneyThink of the buyer’s journey as a bridge that connects a prospect's initial search to you and your brand. Now split that bridge up into three parts:
- The awareness stage
- The consideration stage
- The decision stage