If you are like most business owners, CEO's, and sales reps - you want to see "more quality leads" from your marketing investments. A solid marketing strategy will do that. At the same time, it will also help you increase conversion rates and protect margins. In other words, a solid marketing strategy can help you generate more quality leads and close a higher percentage of the business you pursue without cutting prices.
So what does good marketing look like? From my perspective, a solid marketing strategy covers 5 core elements.
1. Clear definition of target prospects
Define your audience. A valuable marketing plan clearly identifies the people and organizations that you are selling your products to. But it's not just about defining your target market; to be effective, you must determine these groups of people, investigate their wants and needs, and establish genuine methods on how and why they should work with you. A growing term used in the digital marketing arena is personas. This is a detailed personalized description of the individual you need to reach and influence in order to sell your products or services.
Does your marketing strategy include a well-defined list of the markets, companies, and personas of the individuals within those companies or organizations that you will be selling to?
2. Clarity of message
Some refer to this as "sales ready messaging". This is what we sell. This is who we sell it to. This is why they choose to purchase from us rather than a competitor.
Clarity of message has a lot to do with branding and positioning. Is your brand platform strong? Does it clearly convey who you are, your personality, and your value proposition? Has this been internalized throughout your organization?
3. Multi-faceted tactics
A solid marketing strategy increases the number of people in your target markets that are aware of who you are, why you are relevant to their needs, and why you are the preferred provider. To accomplish this, a solid marketing strategy will include a variety of marketing channels. Each channel is aligned and works in concert with the other channels so that you have visibility in the markets at every stage of the buying process. It might also be worth noting that 8 of the top 10 marketing channels are digital. Are you using a variety of marketing channels to reach your markets? Of the channels you are using, how many are digital?
4. Clearly defined goals and measurements
Although it is impossible to track the exact impact of your marketing efforts, useful tracking is an essential element of effective marketing. From a business perspective, tracking can help you justify your investments in marketing. While this is helpful, there is a more important reason to effectively track the impact of your marketing efforts and utilize today's web analytics and tracking technologies. Tracking and skilled use of analytics will provide you with the insights you need to not only justify your marketing investments but also help you improve your marketing and gain a competitive edge.
A related but separate element of good tracking is the definition of your goals. Simply saying you want to increase leads is not a "well defined" goal. It is a general statement. Increasing the number of "A" quality leads (where you have defined the attributes of A,B & C leads) by 20% is a more specific goal and will help to provide more focus. Saying you need to increase leads for a particular product or from a particular market is another example of a more clearly defined goal that can help you focus on your marketing efforts and justify that investment after the fact.
But goals should go beyond simply the measurement of leads. There are many other data points that can be considered that will indicate whether your marketing is moving things in the right direction. Web analytics can tell you if more prospects are interacting with your brand and/or if there is greater visibility for a specific product or service.
There is one main consideration with all of this. Ask yourself the question: do you have specific marketing goals that are tied to specific business objectives? Business owners and CEOs will not simply welcome greater investments in marketing. They will welcome investments that help them achieve specific business goals. Therefore the more clearly you can define goals that relate to specific business objectives, the easier it will be to justify your investment and the clearer road map you will have from which to develop your marketing strategies.
5. Integrated sales and marketing efforts
In today's world, a much larger portion of the buying-decision-making-process takes place before that potential new customer ever engages with a sales person. Therefore, it is even more important that marketing and sales efforts are tightly integrated. Marketing's job is to identify target customers and provide them the pre-sale information that will lead them to your company. Then by using marketing automation tools you can now work hand in hand with sales showing them where to invest their time to close more sales more quickly.
- Could you do a better job of identifying who you are going to sell to?
- Is your messaging and brand positioning as well defined and clear as it should be?
- Are you using a variety of channels to reach those people you want to sell your products or services to? Are you making good use of digital marketing channels?
- Do you have clear marketing goals that are tied to specific business objectives? Do you have appropriate tracking and measurement in place that will help you both justify and improve your marketing?
- Are you coordinating your sales and marketing efforts to develop marketing strategies that increase the power and efficiency of your sales team?