1. Realistic Expectations
I'm beginning to sound like a broken record with this one. There are no magic solutions. Direct Mail and other lead generation methods as stand-alone tactics in a vacuum are basically useless. Direct mail, whether personalized direct mail or one to one communication, is a great component of a complete direct marketing program. Stick to the basics...tell your prospect why your product/service is unique, why they should buy from you and why they should buy from you now. And then remember, unless you catch lightning in a bottle or miraculous timing (which can happen) people don't typically make a buying decision right on the spot. They need time to further educate themselves and let it "stew" a bit before they take any action.
1. Realistic Expectations
When we think of marketing and developing a successful integrated marketing communications program what tends to come to mind first are the 4 P's, new business development, direct marketing postcards and maybe how marketing and sales support each other, or could be better aligned. But what about applying marketing concepts to your business process? For this post, let's look at how we can use marketing to get paid faster:
1. Profile and Segment. You most likely already do this. You just don't apply the criteria for business process purposes. You put a lot of thought into profiling an "ideal client"...well part of what makes a client ideal is how they pay. You don't need to judge who's better or worse, but include that criteria to segment your prospects and maintain that information as they become a client. You'll then know which clients will pay best, and which ones you may have to apply tips 3-4 on...
Well, kind of. If you talked to any lead generation agencies or strategic marketing consultancy firms now, or going back a couple of years... the term "spray and pray" would certainly have to be followed by the prerequisite chuckle or at least a smirk. But why would such a popular tactic maybe 5 years ago or longer now be a virtual curse word or insult? Cuz people don't get it.
We're talking about the top of the funnel here folks! I know I'm going down a slippery credibility slope now, but at this stage in the process I want as many people as my funnel can muster. In general, I want you, your friends, your grandma and your podiatrist to know who I am, what I do and how to get in touch with me if you need to. I want to be top of mind.
Of course this "approach" began to lose it's appeal in the world of corporate marketing communications when the only tools in your tool belt were direct marketing postcards and data to print. It simply costs too much to reach out to a large group of unqualified people via print (and many other media) and then fold your hands neatly together and kneel in front of your phone.
But that's a different argument. It simply means you probably shouldn't use print as a cold local lead generation method! To me, as marketing technology has advanced, I've got my CRM, Marketing Automation, and social media to help me manage and track my leads, develop appropriate nurture campaigns and fantastic forums to push my content out. Maybe it's just a matter of changing "spray and pray" to another old adage, "the more the merrier!"
Do you want to build the top of your funnel? Well, here's my top ten and I'm even going to stick with the "T" theme:
10: TEST. Tests don't have to be complicated. As a matter of fact, the more complicated you make them, the more suspect the results. A good old A/B split is enough. Do it with every campaign.
9: TRY. Don't be afraid! Most people don't bite. If you've used direct marketing postcards in the past, regardless of the results, you have to keep it fresh and try new things. Don't necessarily abandon what has worked in the past, but realize that sooner or later, it won't work as well as it did.
I wish! These days, my gut is serving as a rather nifty iPad shelf...it keeps my wrists at an optimal angle for maximum touch screen typing. But that's another story.
I'm talking about some good ole fashioned marketing and sales support decision making. The kind you made with your gut. Yeah, it was equal parts experience, facts, statistics, luck, talent combined with a little bit of "which way's the wind blowing" today that went into all marketing communication strategies.
Dang. (Did I say that?). As we're rapidly whistling into the fireworks frenzy of the 2011 4th of July weekend, I was reminded of my friend Joe Dirt and his simple, logical "business advice" for his fireworks dealer. At The Allied Group, we're always experimenting and providing advice in a business development professional services capacity. Always thinking of and trying new technology, tactics and processes to get that desired result.
But if you're having trouble figuring out your fickle funnel, you might want to look at some basics. What about your product/program/service offering? Is it compelling? Is there anything that differentiates you from your competitors? If so, are you telling your prospects about it, or do you just assume they know? Are you providing informational and educational content as part of your corporate marketing services to help nurture your prospects through your selling cycle? Ask yourself two very basic questions: 1. Why would a prospect buy your product or service? and 2. Why would a prospect buy your product or service from you?
As we sit and appreciate some great fireworks demonstrations this weekend and think about our marketing communication strategies as our minds drift, remember, there are duds in every display. A dud doesn't have to kill your performance though. Just stick to the basics...build a fundamentally sound program and try to set realistic expectations.
And if you need a little inspiration, take 2 minutes and listen to Joe!
Part of being a top direct marketing agency is listening to your colleagues, right? Well here are some quick recommendations that I've learned, observed and tried to give your LinkedIn profile a little boost!
1. Who Cares. Wow. This applies to sooo many fundamentals of marketing. Even though LinkedIn has done a nice job walking you through an easy-to-navigate, simple interface, it doesn't mean you need to follow it to the letter of the law. Go through your profile and ask yourself, "who cares"? If the answer is "nobody", then go back and make sure that what you're writing is compelling, relevant and valuable to your audience.
Do you find yourself constantly searching for that little nugget that will make all the difference in your business development efforts? Do you cringe when the topic of marketing communication strategies comes up and you're tired of thinking, you just want results? Does it seem like everyone else gets good results and for some reason you just aren't? Do you have all the hi-tech buzzwords spinning around in your head and are waiting for someone to turn them into something concrete and actionable?
Well, time to wake up and pay attention. Here are 4 reasons why you need to stop searching, stop hoping and start doing:
1. The game has changed. Your audience hasn't. They are still there. And they still buy. And they can and will buy from you. As a matter of fact, it has changed for the better. With technology, you can actually reach your audience with content that is relevant to them much more quickly and cost effectively than ever before!
2. Hope is not a strategy. Acquiring marketing consultancy services may sound a bit lofty. So think of it differently. Pro-active vs. re-active. A pro-active approach, by its nature, eliminates hope as a strategy. Would you rather be the driver, or the passenger way back in the third row?
Here we go again. Beginning of June...things are starting to heat up and this one's got a little different flare to it. Here goes according to Yahoo:
Lauryn Hill. Looks like Ms. Hill thought she was tax exempt! But somehow those things seem to have a way of catching up to you!
Drew Brees. Being a sports fan, I was aware of this. Seems to be getting a lot of press. He's in the final year of his contract, but if the Saints don't want to 'disrespect' him, I guess they need to get this done now!
Marco Rubio. I have to say, I didn't even know who he was. And now that I see it has to do with politics, I know why. I guess the Senator from Florida gets Jeb Bush's support as Romney's running mate. The drama.
Why is this one different? Well, for the first time it wasn't dominated by beautiful women! You've got Lauryn (and I went with her picture of course), but Drew and Mr. Rubio throw off the trend.
Let's face it, technology has pretty much invaded every aspect of our lives. And as much as you try to "unplug", it has become increasingly impossible to navigate your way through a typical day without encountering technology in some way.
But what about those of us who are technologically challenged? Or even worse, technically technologically challenged!
Well, good news...there's an app for that (just kidding)! But seriously, technology has actually set out to address this very issue. With the introduction of "smart" technology (devices, services, software etc...) the technology itself actually possesses more and more of the intelligence. So in order for the user to have a successful user experience using very sophisticated technology, the user doesn't really need to be all that, well, smart!
As a top direct marketing agency, if I help build an integrated marketing communications campaign for example, I don't necessarily need to understand how it "technically" works. Nor do I need to really understand the technology that makes it work. And that doesn't decrease my value at all.
The bottom line is that the world is predominately populated by relatively unsophisticated people (myself included). For technology to be fully adopted and successful, it needs to penetrate the market beyond the tech savvy and be simple enough to be useful by those who struggle to work their DVR.