One of the critical challenges I continue to hear from leaders of B2B companies is that they have little to no idea of how much any marketing campaign generates in orders and profits. Lots of great reports, but the bottom line is that we can't seem to correlate effort to payback. "Make Your Marketing Count" is all about accountability, responsibility, and results.
This is the final blog in this series, so, let's recap the journey so far:
WHY are we doing this?
Getting enough "good" leads to generate at least 9X return on every marketing dollar spent.
WHAT are we doing exactly?
Connect the sales goals to realistic marketing activities and execute flawlessly
Now, let's look at HOW we're going to "Make Your Marketing Count." First, we need to set the stage.
Per the diagram below, the ideal marketing process must be centered around a modern website and an Integrated Business Development platform (CRM and Marketing Engine), as shown. Inbound Marketing efforts (i.e., creating a "pull" through social and engaged networks) and Outbound Marketing activities (e.g. "pushing" content through traditional outlets) merge into a single interconnected, automated platform that seamlessly integrates with Sales using CRM.
Over the years, I have been honing and perfecting a methodology that has worked in many industries and settings, from exotic alloys used in Formula 1 racing to millions of parts in consumer packaged goods (CPG). Here's an infographic about the whole process:
It is not rocket science, but it takes a certain amount of discipline and specific tools to get through the exercise. Let me explain each step briefly:
1. Market Mapping
By comparing and contrasting multiple end markets, products, channels, and geographies, we can create a shortlist of 3-5 "segments" on which we should focus our marketing and sales activities. It could take weeks or months using traditional methods. Good news: You can use more straightforward tools and challenge yourself to do it in a week.
2. Set Goals and Research Target Audiences
Now that we have "only" 3-5 segments to focus on from market mapping, you need to spread your marketing budget and assign specific goals for each. From there, research and identify whom we are going to target in each segment, where, and how. Then develop personas for the typical technical specifier, buyer, and VIP (the one with the money). We need to understand (to a degree) the questions to which specifiers, buyers, and VIPs may need answers, what their hot buttons are, and where they typically go to find information before making a purchasing decision.
Lastly, we need to start identifying where the "watering holes" (i.e., information- gathering places) are: Trade shows, trade associations, websites, trade publications and perhaps other events or sources one would not directly identify with the industry or trade.
3. Market Planning
At this stage, start listing events and activities on a calendar, and align them to your goals and budget. This process usually requires a give-and-take approach that includes:
a) Using a simple "lead-to-close" ratio that works for you, determine how many leads you need to meet the goal.
b) Estimating the number of leads that could be generated from the activities and check to see if we're "in the ballpark." If not, readjust accordingly.
c) Evaluating costs (direct and indirect) for each activity and determine whether the budget will support it. If not, readjust accordingly.
At this stage, technology is useful. Managing this level of complexity, touchpoints, interactions, and conversations would quickly become too expensive if done the traditional way.
Fortunately, over the past few years, Marketing Automation has improved dramatically and is becoming both affordable and usable by most of us.
This diagram gives you an overview of how Marketing Automation works.
Marketing Automation software is the "glue" that binds together multiple campaigns in multiple channels. The trick is to have landing pages, blogs, social media content, ads, and mailers all originating and leading back to the platform for maximum efficiency.
5. Content Generation
Content is still KING. To generate traction of the website and enhance the lead conversion ratio, you need to attract and engage with potential prospects year-round, and around events. Based on the plan in Step 3, you will need a lot of content, which can get expensive. One simple tip: Leverage automation in step 4 to combine with the "Lego blocks" of content you have in your Content Management System (CMS) such as videos, blogs, catalogs, flyers, and photos, and turn them into engaging, and authentic messages.
6. Measure & Adjust
One can only manage and improve that which is capable of being measured. Traditional marketing metrics of impressions, cost-per-click, open rate, click rate, and many more of the same alphabet soup is exciting but not necessarily useful to successful B2B marketers.
Marketing Automation solves a lot of those issues by creating a genuinely integrated campaign-focused "bird's-eye view" of activities and results. In some instances, we can even tie the system to a customer relationship management (CRM) platform in a way that measures conversions and sales within the system.
There you have it: HOW to "Make Your Marketing Count" is a six-step process that's easy to follow!
As always, I look forward to your feedback.