—Sponsored article by The Mezzanine Group.
It’s common for many business owners to consider investing in marketing programs. Especially at this time of the year when many organizations are finalizing budgets and priorities for the new year.
Although the question is simple enough, the answer is not. Marketing today has changed dramatically in the last few years.
Traditional strategies and tactics such as television or radio ads, mailers, and trade shows are still relevant, but aren’t the only opportunities to reach target clients and prospects.
Today, business owners need to invest in websites that meet many search engine requirements such as a passing site speed score and offer a proper mobile experience. Paid advertising on search engines such as Google AdWords and display ads across websites are continuing to grow in popularity, and in functionality. Social media isn’t just a buzzword anymore and has become a revenue generating platform.
These growing marketing opportunities can come off as overwhelming for some, but for the forward thinking organizations, marketing has become a priority investment. Why? With the changes in the the marketing landscape, there are many lower cost and higher return marketing strategies that can be implemented today.
For example, a magazine ad can run an organization $16 for the cost per 1,000 impressions vs $2.50 for a social media campaign. And best of all, social media campaigns can provide ROI metrics such as impressions or click throughs vs. a magazine ad.
Five Ways Marketing Impacts The Growth Of Your Business
Whether you are debating a cut to expenses by cutting the marketing budget or wondering how to build a business case for additional budget, consider how marketing impacts many aspects of the business for some guidance on how to reach your goals.
Where and how does the company compete and allocate its resources? Don’t just limit this to the marketing strategy but the company’s strategy as a whole.
It’s a common sight for many marketers. When a marketing strategy has started, the project will evaluate the overall business objectives. Are you launching a new product? Looking for additional revenues from existing customers? Looking to showcase one product over another for a period of time? All of the above?
A proper marketing strategy plan will include campaigns and tactics that are aligned to 12-month goals and 24-month desired states. Build your annual plan with tactics that support the success of each strategy.
2. MARKET AWARENESS
Is the company known and recognized in the market? Is it credible? Does it have a good reputation?
74% of business buyers told Forrester they conduct more than half of their research online before making an offline purchase. If you are still developing awareness in your market (and we believe you should always build awareness – business is too dynamic to neglect this for long), ensure you have tactics that build awareness sprinkled into your annual plan. It takes an average of 5-7 brand impressions before someone will even remember your brand.
Just as marketing has changed, so has how consumers connect with your brand. B2B brands that connect with their buyers on an emotional level earn twice the impact over marketers who are still trying to sell business or functional value.
You can build market awareness thought leadership, search engine marketing and speaking at industry events. And with 84% of B2B marketers saying building brand awareness is a top priority, there’s a good chance that your competition is focused on building awareness with your desired audience.
3. LEAD GENERATION
Business owners consistently request lead generation tactics in the marketing strategy. It often goes hand in hand with building brand awareness as it’s hard to do one without the other.
Do enough qualified leads come in through the phone or website as a result of inbound and outbound marketing efforts? If so, you’re doing something right, and keep those tactics running, adjusting as necessary.
If not, you may be in the 68% of B2B companies that are still struggling with lead generation.
Build generation tactics into your marketing tactics plan and check that your website is finely tuned. These tactics can sometimes seem cost prohibitive depending on how you balance your ROI, but without lead generation, you’re relying on networking and cold calling to develop new contacts.
Networking has a finite limit and cold calling is less effective as a single tactic. If your organization has too many unqualified leads, you need to analyze and repair your strategy. Usually in those cases, lead nurturing or targeted persona copy on the website can be quick fixes.
4. SALES SUPPORT
Does the sales team have effective materials and tools to convert prospects into customers? Do you have a plan and budget to keep them up to date? According to a 2013 study by CIO Insight, over 46% of B2B purchases involve more than four individuals in the final decision.
Digital sales collateral makes it easy for your prospect to share information about you and your products and services with this larger team. Have an up to date company overview PDF or PPT document as well as a separate piece of sales collateral that describes the benefits of each important product or service offering.
What else does sales need? Assistance with maximizing a trade show investment? There is a cost to pull Sales out of the field to attend the tradeshow and some simple strategies like a plan to draw delegates to the booth or nurturing leads post-show ensures their time is used respectfully.
Perhaps Sales also requires some assistance qualifying leads. They know after the first conversation with a prospect whether or not the opportunity is valid. Take their feedback and consider it when you build a lead nurturing strategy, regardless of how automated with software it might be.
5. CUSTOMER RETENTION & GROWTH
Customer retention should be a critical component to any marketing strategy. Unfortunately, it is commonly missed or forgotten by organizations. You’ve just spent money, time, and energy on attracting a client. Why wouldn’t you continue to connect with him or her?
Customers that are loyal to your brand will continue to do more business each year. Marketing can ensure they will and can assist Sales with customer communication, freeing up their time to develop new business opportunities by using more personal methods.
Use communication channels like newsletters and social media to share updates and company news with your customer champions. Find a tone that is personalized and works with your customer base to make them feel included, appreciated and informed. Additionally, consult with Sales to develop campaigns to assist with their upsell and cross sell strategies. Consider incentives to launch new products.
Finally, consider investing in a proper CRM system. Organizations have seen a 41% increase in individual sales representative revenue numbers. CRMs can also slash marketing costs by 23%. Investing in CRM platform and app have many benefits for both your marketing and sales teams.
Investing in marketing into the next year really shouldn’t be a debate. What you should be asking yourself is how to properly invest in various marketing campaigns and tactics. This will become clearer with a proper marketing strategy that supports your business goals. If you need support with building out a marketing strategy, connect with us at The Mezzanine Group today.