Do you have the resources to achieve your business goals?
Altimeter Research recently released a new research report entitled Key Elements of a Next-Gen Digital Marketing Strategy. In the report, they correctly identify that marketing is no longer considered a stepchild on the organizational chart but rather a leader in innovation and digital transformation.
Today, achievement of many business goals requires an integrated digital strategy that encompasses traditional awareness goals as well as the ability to reach customers on an on-demand personal level thought to be unachievable just a few years ago.
Below are my thoughts for business-to-business marketers as they start to navigate the technology and resources needed to achieve their business goals.
What are the main factors that dictate whether your business thrives or dies?
There are operational factors, like revenue vs. expenses, strategic investment in equipment, employee cost, long term debt load, factors such as these are the mechanics of the business. While they are important and cannot be taken lightly, where I’m coming from is fundamentally, what keeps the doors open?
- Long-term relationships
- Mass marketing to a specific demographic
- Fashion or style maker
- Channel Partners
The bullet points above point to the sources of your business. If you accept this premise, then the business question becomes how do I sell to these sources and how does marketing and technology affect business success?
Today, marketing’s success can be traced to selecting the correct digital strategy and the corresponding channels and tools needed to reach these sources and create a brand preference.
For example, say you’re a small B-to-B company (sales $5 – to -$10 million) with long sales cycle time, then it’s probably wiser to invest in relationship building and vertical market advertising rather than demographic advertising. Choose marketing goals that encourage one-to-one communications delivered over the extended sales cycle. Be sure to include influencers as well as decision makers on the distribution list. Because the target audience will be relatively small, concentrate on customized content such as emails, product updates, company announcements, success stories and newsletters.
Do you sell through your website?
If this is the case, the goal is to drive traffic and present a seamless customer experience. It’s important to remember that you’re still in the relationship business, but there are quite a few more moving pieces. The complexity is raised due to mobile platforms, order entry, shipping and returns. All it takes is one bad experience in any of these areas and it’s a one-time sale without the opportunity to upsell or cross sell. Here you want to be investing in paid search and display advertising, social media, and email. Customers that are searching the web for products usually have an immediate need to buy.
Do you have the right people?
Technology is relentless and keeping up with it is more than just hiring people to run the machines and understand the dashboards. Persuasive content creation is what sells the product and builds the emotional engagement with your brand. Good design, appealing color pallets, and easy to use navigation all come into play. In addition, having a champion from management who is attuned to both company goals and technology challenges is critically important to achieving success.