3 Action Steps to Energize Your Marketing Strategy
All too often, sales and marketing people have different objectives. If they do, they can spend more time bickering than creating bottom line results. Or worse, they just go their separate ways.
If you want to find out if your sales and marketing people are working together, send them a simple questionnaire. Make sure a copy goes to every sales rep, manager and executive. Send it to every person in the marketing department and the people at your ad agency, design studio or public relations firm.
Ask them this: “In fifty words or less, who is our ideal customer?” The answers will be revealing.
1. Re-define Your Target Markets
I’ll hazard a guess that there is a “mission statement” proudly displayed in your lobby or in a prominent position on your office wall. Great! Everybody needs a mission. Now, how about putting a “market statement” right up there beside it.
A market statement should clearly describe your ideal customer or Class A prospect: the 20% of customers who account for 80% of your sales.
Every member of your sales team must know what your ideal customer looks like. If they don’t, how will they know when they find one? Equally important: Every element of your marketing program must target Class A prospects if you expect to see tangible results.
The next step? Share your vision.
2. Build An Integrated Marketing Team
One way to get people working together is to create a marketing team. Select representatives from sales, marketing and customer service. Have them get together with account executives from all outside agencies at least once a month. Stress cooperation and teamwork. Encourage idea sharing.
If an outside agency is uncomfortable sharing ideas, get a new one. Turf battles will kill an integrated marketing program.
Sit in on all committee meetings, share your vision, but don’t take control. You will demonstrate confidence in the team and learn a great deal by listening.
3. Find An Outside Marketing Advisor
Your marketing team may be outstanding, but it’s hard to judge performance until sales results are in. Sometimes you need a fresh pair of eyes.
Suggestion: Seek out an independent marketing executive to act as your advisor. Someone with zero stake in company politics. Someone who can tell you what works, what doesn’t, and what you have to do to get profitable results. Find someone who knows how to get the most from ad agencies, graphic designers and PR firms.
Have your advisor review your marketing plan, suggest new strategies and help evaluate program results. Have him sit in on meetings with your marketing team and outside vendors.
Downsizing has made a lot of experienced people available for consulting roles. You can add a key player to your team without a lot of overhead.
OK, 4. Don’t Waste a Penny
If you are planning to spend anything on marketing this year, stop. Save the money until you have an advisor and an integrated marketing team in place.
Make them justify every element of their plan.
What will it accomplish? How will it support the selling process? How will results be measured? Does the message match our target market?
Until they do, don’t spend another penny.
by Ken Sethney [Marketing Coach]
True confession: I wrote this article in 1993. There aren’t any references to social media or online marketing, because they didn’t really exist then. A year later, I started traveling around the country speaking to groups of business owners, key executives and CEOs. My topic: Marketing and the Internet.