Marketing is always under pressure to prove its worth, with those who hold the purse strings often wanting an immediate return on investment, and this is prominent now more than ever following the recent years of “austerity” in the UK. But it’s worth remembering that marketing truly enhances enterprise value when it balances immediate revenue generation with longer term reputation-building – or to put it another way, balances sales today with enhanced saleability for tomorrow.
While B2B marketing has made significant advances in terms of measurability and commercial accountability over the past few years, in some situations B2B marketers have been guilty of forgetting the bigger picture – what our audience really thinks about our brand. By taking an integrated approach to marketing programmes we stand a better chance of succeeding in all areas: revenue generation, reputation-building and maximising overall return for the business. And with the New Year and refreshed marketing programmes now well underway, it’s a great time to check the balance between revenue and reputation. Here are some pointers that may help.
Start with the insight
To initiate any communication that will drive the right behaviour you need to really get under the skin of your target audience and unearth a simple insight that will resonate. It was through a little upfront research that we discovered that many businesses were not putting Lumia smartphones on their shopping lists because they thought no one else was – so, by simply sharing the figures of Lumia’s growing business market share and a series of customer case studies, we were able to support a rapid uptick in demand as business decision-makers gained trust in the brand.
Employ engaging techniques
There has been a huge amount of research into the science behind decision-making. While B2B marketers have always done a good job of presenting the rational arguments needed to make and justify a decision, we can neglect the often critical intuitive and emotional elements of the process. Think the recent Volvo truck ads – like this one featuring Jean-Claude Van Damme. While not every organisation will have the budget necessary to employ Jean-Claude to capture the audience’s imagination, intuitive engagement can mean taking simple steps – like fine-tuning the wording of a simple email to make it simpler to digest, and consequently more appealing.
Marketers of all hues are regularly criticised for following fads and being too quick to jump on the latest channel bandwagon. Whilst there is absolutely nothing wrong with a bit of innovation in your channel strategy, the simple rule of thumb remains: to go where your audience is and to look for the blend of channels that will optimally engage your audience. Simple really!
Link sales and marketing
We’ve been harking on about the importance of sales and marketing alignment for years now and in many businesses a lot of progress has been made. But keep in mind that your customers don’t care if you have sales or marketing on your business card, they just want you to deliver them great value and great experience at every touchpoint. So maybe we need to take the sales and marketing alignment discussion to the next level and think about integrated customer engagement… now there’s a thought!
Constantly measure and optimise
For complex B2B engagements, the best results normally stem from continual improvement, so listen to audience feedback every day, measure the response you are getting, and keep fine-tuning your campaigns. If something’s not working, change it. Often this means implementing lots of micro adjustments rather than a big, costly and time-consuming change. Try to take learnings from every prospect interaction and consider whether the successful method can be duplicated across other campaigns.
Of course – each of these areas could take up an entire white paper – this is just a snapshot to give you some food for thought. If you want to discuss how any of these areas could fit into your own 2015 marketing plans then just get in touch