Happy New Year
Well, here we are after a very difficult 2009 year and it seems that all of the macro economic issues this past year have solidified a bit, indicating 2010 may be more improved after facing decreased budgets, staff and a return to basics. Hopefully, you focused on improving your core processes, measures, and databases so you are ready for whatever the economy and market brings our way in 2010. Based on many discussions, it seem that 2010 will be a year of focusing on the basic marketing strategies while cautiously moving forward.
I have been reading numerous “predictions” for the new year and have found common themes that seem to have sound thinking for the upcoming year. Based on reading these many predictions, I believe director of marketing at Frost and Sullivan Naylor Gray’s most recent comments capture these themes most aligned with my thinking.
1. Back to the Basics: Marketing 101
In 2009, marketers were challenged to overcome their lack of staff and budgets, forcing many of them to perform different tasks potentially compromising the basics of their marketing programs. With recovery expected to take hold in 2010, marketing teams need to review their basic blocking and tackling to ensure that the fundamentals of their programs are on strong footing.
Additionally, as the marketing automation craze continues to grow, the basics of marketing will take on greater importance. Generating audiences, creating new messages, segmenting the database in different ways, and understanding all the facets of the sales process will be required skills for effective marketing programs. In many cases, successful marketing automation deployment begins with the basics of the marketing program; like so many ambitious new undertakings, it is always best to start with a strong, simple foundation.
Finally, it is absolutely clear that there must be awareness and acknowledgment of this global economic phenomenon and its impact on customers and buying, which means new messaging and segmentation on the high end and a lot of database scrubbing on the low end.
|Examples of Back-to-the-Basics Required for Marketing Effectiveness:
2. Sales and Marketing Integration: It’s All About Process
Marketing and Sales must integrate their processes and objectives; when they don’t, it is usually the marketing team who gets the blame.
There is a delicate balance between Sales and Marketing that is about to get even more precarious. The balance relies on Sales communicating to Marketing precisely what a “lead” looks like and, on the other hand, Marketing establishing the proper way to score this and hand it off. Complicating this relationship will be the ability or inability of both teams to explicitly track the sales process through data points in a CRM system. A poorly understood or poorly articulated sales process will result in the inability to map the marketing program into the sales process. Weakness within any aspect of the sales process will result in a cascading failure between the sales and marketing integration.
Most importantly, a disintegrated sales and marketing process will make the effective implementation of a marketing automation solution nearly impossible. Marketing automation relies on a robust sales process that is clearly discernible by the marketing team charged with generating and qualifying the leads.
3. Marketing Automation
Many B2B companies have not yet automated, but leading marketers will automate in 2010 if they have not done so already. Marketing automation will integrate lead-generation efforts, sales process, contact CRM tracking and Web site analytics into a hyper-powerful tool. There are many companies that provide marketing automation solutions, so marketers looking to automate should be certain that they identify one that best fits with their organization’s culture and needs.
The degree to which marketers will automate will be dictated by their existing practices and budget, but before they do, they should perfect their sales and marketing processes so that they are fully integrated. There are powerful returns for those organizations who master this marketing automation rollout, with some organizations reporting double-digit increases in sales revenues simply as a result of the successful automation implementation.
Additionally, automation will be a blessing for the marketing department that struggles to do more with less. It will also free up resources to focus on the important tasks of building new client relationships, demonstrating value for their products or services, and finally achieving those ROI targets.
4. Content Is King (Again and Always)
Knowing what types of content to select for lead-generation programs and when to deploy them will be a critical success factor moving forward.
Additionally, when selecting the right content, marketers must be able to model out the relevant lifespan of this content to ensure that they have interesting and timely offerings that attract the right kind of attention. There are many different content sources, but what marketers really need is to stand out from the noise with a truly distinct content offering. Many marketers will perform a content audit mapped against buying groups and sales process and discover that they do not have enough of the right kind of content.
Content can take many forms, and includes social media, user-generated reviews and recommendations, e-mail copy, Web pages, customized landing pages, white papers, event sponsorship, thought leadership, case studies, ROI/TCO calculators, benchmarking tools, podcasts, Webinars, videos, press releases, brochures and other marketing collateral, interviews, articles, testimonials and proposals.
5. Convergence of Marketing/Public Relations
PR integration is important. Tactics and strategies need to be tightly integrated between Marketing and PR. With the rise of social media and a movement away from conventional advertising, what the PR team does affects Marketing more than ever.
Further fueling the trend, surveys indicate a shared responsibility between Marketing and PR for social media strategies. And as the Web continues to fundamentally alter buying behavior, much of the decision-making occurs upstream from the vendor via Internet searches. PR can ensure that the company’s value is communicated on a multitude of social media sites and formats. Other items driving this convergence:
- The explosion of online video has placed PR at the center of messaging strategy (media training, talking points, video feedback).
- The rise of marketing automation software that tracks all online user behavior gives PR more reason than ever to drive interest from online media to the company Web site.
- The use of white papers and Webinars requires a coordinated Marketing/PR response.
- As the recession dried up advertising budgets, PR had to shoulder the burden for getting more organic mentions and placements to compensate; this will not stop even when the recession ends.