At no point in recent memory has marketing played such a critical role in a company’s survival, then it does today. Everything in a business depends on marketing. Take away marketing and how will you generate leads for sales. Take away sales and your business is done. Your marketing ROI has never been more important then it is today.
As Mark Cuban said; “No sales. No company.”
According to the recent CMO Report: Covid-19 and the State of Marketing nearly 66% of marketers say that their role within their company has increased in importance during this pandemic. This makes perfect sense as we look for the need to increase sales, often times through lead generation activities such as increasing brand visibility and marketing messaging that spotlights your unique value position.
The challenge is that every resource that your company has is probably being stretched to capacity right now and if you’re like a lot of companies right now, your marketing resources are running pretty thin. A recent article in Forbes explained that an average of 9.2% of marketing positions have been lost as a result of this pandemic. That’s a pretty substantial loss at a time when marketing departments can least afford to loose resources.
The fact is, however, that you have to change your marketing to match market changes.
Digital Is The Answer
Your customer’s behaviors have changed over these past months and in many ways they’re not going back to the way that they were and digital in at the core of those changes. Again, we have to look no further that that recent CMO Report to find that 61% of marketers say that they have reallocated resources to improve their digital efforts and properties.
Digital has the ability to target your marketing audiences with laser-like precision, it’s adjustable on-the-fly, and digital gives you the metrics that are necessary for ROI. However, the challenge with digital is the vast landscape of all of the digital marketing channels that are available. It’s difficult to know where to place your marketing dollars and many times companies will try to be everywhere, dramatically diluting their marketing efforts and ROI.
There’s a lot of talk surrounding the benefits of multi-channel marketing and it’s all true. Using multiple channels are extremely beneficial, especially today as customers behaviors online are changing rapidly. 52% of marketers use 3 to 4 channels (source). However, using a multi-channel marketing strategy doesn’t mean using all of the channels that are available to you.
Multi-channel marketing is using, as the name implies, multiple channels to market to and communicate with your customers and prospective customers. To successfully run a multi-channel strategy you need to, first, identify where your customers and prospective customers are most likely to see your marketing messages.
As an example, social media is a marketing channel compiled of a lot of different platforms. Platforms from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and on and on. If you don’t focus your social marketing on the appropriate platform(s), you’ll end up diluting your marketing dollars and your ROI will be miniscule. As an example; as a B2B company, a channel that most likely will not bring you a great ROI is Facebook, while LinkedIn may be the ultimate social media platform for your company.
To successfully use multi-channel marketing in your digital marketing strategy, here are a couple of steps to take that will help to maximize your marketing investment.
Identify Your Audience:Just about every B2B client we’ve worked with has multiple audience segments. Sometimes these audiences are defined by the type of products that they purchase, the types of services that they require, or even the industry verticals that they belong to. Identifying your segments will help you to drill down and find out what the best channels will be to get your marketing message in front of them.
Identify Your Channels: Pick the channels that are most likely to deliver your marketing messaging to your audience segment and then measure the results that you get from each channel. Once you start marketing in a channel, don’t add channels or change channels without using your marketing data to make a change decision. Arbitrarily changing or adding channels is a sure bet for loosing marketing dollars.
Relevant Messaging For The Segment: Make sure that you’re changing your marketing messages to be relevant for every audience segment that you’re marketing to. As an example, this blog post is specifically for B2B companies. If I was talking about how to increase consumers coming into your retail outlet, you’d stop reading it immediately and the investment that I have in this post would be completely wasted.
Relevant Messaging For The Channel: Every marketing channel has strengths and weaknesses. An educational or informative article on Instagram isn’t going to work. Conversely just images on LinkedIn isn’t going to work either. Use the right creative for the channel that you are using to attract your audience.
Make The Experience The Same: Your buyers are on a number of channels every day. Let’s say that you send a buyer a promotional email about a new product. Then later that day that same buyer sees one of your display ads on a website that they’ve visited. Then the next day while they’re doing a search they see one of your paid ads on Google. Each of these experiences should be consistent.
To further get more from your marketing dollars, be very clear about your objectives for every single campaign that you run. Without clear marketing objectives you will certainly end up wasting money. Marketing is all about goals; the amount of traffic to your website, the number of downloads of your latest educational paper, the number of leads that you’re getting for your sales team. All of these goals are critical to any business. Without clearly defining these types of goals you can’t measure the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. If you can’t measure the effectiveness then you are wasting money.
The best way to plan out your marketing goals is to, first, write your goals down. 61% of marketers have a documented strategy, and those that do have a documented strategy are 313% more successful (source). Pretty compelling reason for documenting your marketing objectives.
The next step to creating solid marketing objectives is to use the SMART method for identifying and documenting those objectives
Specific: Your goal must be specific. The goal of increasing traffic to your site is not specific. Increasing the traffic to your site by 15% is specific.
Measurable: You absolutely must have a way to measure every objective. If it can’t be measured you will never know the ROI for the activity.
Achievable: Is this objective actually achievable. In other words, do you believe that you can accomplish it? If you don’t believe it’s possible, no one else will either and it will ultimately fail.
Relevant: Is the marketing objective that you are setting relevant to your company, your team, and your current situation. Is this the right timing for this objective? Does this objective match up with everything else that’s going on in the company?
Time-bound: Have you established a time-line for the objective’s release and conclusion. “Increasing traffic to your website by 10%” is not time-bound. Increasing web traffic by 10% by the end of the 2nd qtr is time-bound.
As a B2B company there is no greater marketing/sales strategy that will maximize your ROI than Account Based Marketing. ABM is a highly focus B2B marketing strategy that brings together the actions of your marketing and sales departments and gets them moving in unison with your company’s goals and direction.
An ABM strategy, as an overview, will focus your marketing efforts and consequently your marketing dollars, on the companies that represent the best fit for your company. It dramatically reduces the old strategies of spending your marketing dollars trying to attract any prospect that is breathing, only to end up filtering them out at the sales stage, or worse yet selling to them and realizing that because they are a bad fit for you, your company will never be profitable doing business with these bad fit companies.
We recently held a webinar on the benefits of an ABM strategy for B2B companies. You can take a look at the recording from that webinar just by following this link.
As we stated in the beginning, marketing has never been more important than it is in todays environment, while at the same time resources are being highly strained. You can still do marketing, but it will be better if you use a much more focused strategy as it will allow you to make a higher impact on the buyers that you most want to do business with.
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