Marketing that Sucks: Part 6

Example #6: Barely Keeping Your Brand Afloat by Refusing to Hire Graphic Design Experts

Successful businesspeople often think – correctly – that they know their business best. This sometimes translates into the assumption that they can thus do everything for their business better than outsiders. Guess what? Those people are wrong. Especially when it comes to marketing specialties like graphic design, which is an essential part of brand positioning, you really need to lose the ego and hire the pros.

Here’s an example – I recently met with a company that is, by all accounts, very successful in their industry. But in order for them to really compete at the highest level for their business, their brand, particularly their graphic design, needed an overhaul. Their website, collateral, logo and more all looked out-of-date. They smartly decided they needed to hire a marketing team to help them move forward.

Then, they not-so-smartly ignored much of what we said and proceeded to share their own logo mockups and branding ideas. Their team members, none of whom have a background in marketing, let alone design, had sketched up some rough ideas. While there is, of course, value in hearing from the team, their mistake was in thinking they could do better than marketing and design professionals.

The takeaway? Just because you know your business well does not mean you can think like a marketer and create beautiful brand imagery like a professional graphic designer.

This team is still trying to make the badly needed updates to their brand, but because they’ve refused the help of marketing pros, they are behind on their deadline and still stuck where they were. So while they may be able to keep their brand afloat on their own, they’re definitely not going to make any waves in their industry.

 

Don’t Let Your Company’s Marketing Suck.

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Marketing that Doesn’t Suck: Part 5

Example #5: Tracking and Proving That Your B2B Marketing Strategy Works

It takes a lot of time and effort to set up a successful B2B marketing strategy, so once you’ve got those building blocks in place, track that success and prove that your strategy is solid. The most successful marketers are able to show what their strategy has achieved for their companies, and even more importantly, fix and improve on what could be better. Despite this, less than half of B2B marketers use analytics effectively.

With the tools available today, from Google Analytics to marketing automation software to call tracking, there are countless ways to measure the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. It’s easy to get busy with the day-to-day implementation and planning, but tracking is important. Make sure that your team formalizes what it measures, and set up metrics for both overall performance, such as YTD numbers, as well as metrics for individual program or specific campaign performance.

Here’s a pretty comprehensive list of metrics that you could be (should be) giving your attention. You can track everything from form fill-outs on your website, content downloads, demo requests and event sign-ups to calls via tracking numbers, which emails work better (try A/B testing a couple of different versions) and which banner ads or remarketing campaigns are succeeding. Successful marketers stay aware of the metrics that matter to their businesses, and they use the tools available to them to analyze and shift their strategies.

That leads to the second, and most important, part of this message: once you know what is and isn’t working, tweak and change your B2B marketing strategy and plans based on the data gathered. What’s the point in learning something isn’t working if you don’t make it better?

Constant improvement should be a key component of your B2B marketing strategy. By measuring and paying attention to the metrics, you’ll see where you have gaps in your strategy or where a campaign has missed the mark. You can also show what is working, and apply the strategy behind those wins to other areas. This will allow you to align your strategy with industry benchmarks and meet the demands of marketplace.

This also means that you’ll spend your money wisely, refocusing resources where you know you’ll succeed. Your budget will thank you, and so will your CEO! Proving the value of your work also proves the value of you and your entire marketing team. Sounds like a win!

 

Need help tracking and proving the success of your B2B marketing campaign?

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Marketing that Sucks: Part 5

B2B Marketing Strategy

Example #5: Businesses That Give in to the Chaos and Don’t Implement a B2B Marketing Strategy

If you’re in charge of your company’s B2B marketing strategy, you know how complicated it can be to get it right. After all, you’re not just trying to convince one guy to buy this one product. You have to prove the worth of your company’s service or product to multiple people on different teams within your target market (or markets!). Many companies find it difficult to nail it all down, so they just end up making marketing mistakes and wasting money. This is why you need a B2B marketing strategy that takes into account the many factors that go into a sale or new contract.

A successful B2B marketing plan should start with basics and build from there. So what are those basics? Here are four building blocks that should be part of every B2B company’s marketing strategy:

1. Know your audience.

What’s the point of trying to sell your business if you don’t know the buyer? B2C companies can often identify their target easily, but like I mentioned above, you’re selling to various decision makers in multiple industries. So think it through, and write it down. Pay attention to everyone in the decision chain, and note what makes each one different. What’s important to the procurement department may not matter to the CEO or the end user of your product or service.

2. Provide value to that audience.

Once you’ve fine-tuned your list of aud

ience members, think about what they want or need to hear. Some members of the audience may care about cost savings while another just wants a product that’s easy to use. Your marketing messages should reflect these various perspectives.

3. Explain how your offerings are unique.

Match your company’s strengths and differentiators to those value messages. You’re not just telling your audience what they want to hear – you’re explaining why your company is the one that can deliver.

4. Convert that message into new leads…and new business.

Your message resonated with your target audience – congrats! But now what? You need a solid platform in place to convert that into concrete leads. That could be a) a well-designed responsive website, b) a sales team supported by stellar marketing materials, c) a social media presence that makes it easy to get in touch, or d) all of the above (and more)!

That sounds like quite a lot of balls to keep up in the air at once, doesn’t it? Add to that brand positioning, content marketing, event marketing, and all of the other pieces that go into a comprehensive B2B marketing strategy, and it’s beyond overwhelming. Don’t be that company that ends up in marketing chaos. Get started on your strategy, and reach out to the experts (I’m raising my hand!) if you need help.

 

Don’t Let Your Company’s Marketing Suck (and stop being mean to your Marketing Manager).

Contact us to learn more about our Outsourced Marketing Services >

Strategic Support System for Small Business Owners

Small Business Coaching Helped Me Maintain My Sanity So I Decided to Become a Coach to Help Other Small Business Owners

As a small business owner, I needed small business coaching to maintain my sanity and to fuel my drive. I started my marketing agency in my 20s after working as the right hand to the owner of a small agency. I was relatively clueless about what it really takes to be a small business owner. Now I have 20 years — two freaking decades —of successfully riding the rollercoaster of small business ownership. Let me tell you, it ain’t for the faint of heart. Eating what you kill is a whole lot different than getting a guaranteed bi-weekly paycheck direct deposited into your bank account. The way I’ve learned to cope over the years is due, in large part, to seeking out and working with various small business coaches. This has made such a significant difference in my personal and business life, that I decided to become a small business coach in order to help other small business owners in, what can be, a very isolating, lonely journey.

My main coach provided me with a hybrid of business and life coaching. This made the most significant difference in my world because when you’re a small business owner, business and life are one. About seven years ago, I started studying with him to become a certified coach. This process took me several years to complete  because it wasn’t a quickie online certification program. I trained with him one-on-one, took tests and wrote papers. I was also supervised while coaching three clients — all small business owners — for several months. It wasn’t easy fitting this training program into my life but I discovered that I love coaching small business owners. It lights me up inside. Small business owners desperately need a strategic support system. I know this because I am one. The fact that I now have years of experience successfully running my own business and I am still living it every day, makes me uniquely qualified to be a highly effective small business coach.

For the last couple of years, I’ve been working with a handful of small business coaching clients. I look for clients who really want to work on both themselves and their businesses because I know you cannot move the needle in one area without the other. I am no financial whiz but I do know what every business owner should know about their numbers. I also know when it make sense to tap an expert for more skilled financial guidance.

My core strength as a small business coach is that I can quickly assess a small business owner and their business situation and identify what’s getting in their way of peace and success. Then, I can help them systematically optimize their situation in order to make it work better and achieve their business and life goals. Most importantly, while all of this is going on, I provide small business owners with a much needed strategic support system. I’m not a spouse, family or friend. I am a small business coach whose entire purpose is to listen and help them maximize their personal and business potential.

If you are or know a small business owner who could use a small business coach, please reach out or share my information. I’d be happy to schedule a complimentary consultation to see if there is potential for a good fit.

Small Business Coaching for Small Business Owners

Strategic Support System for Small Business Owners

Marketing that Doesn’t Suck: Part 4

Example #4: Companies that Utilize Outsourced Marketing Services as a Part of their Growth Strategy

 

I just had a call today with the Director of Marketing for a mid-size technology company that is looking for an outsourced marketing resource to help them update their company’s positioning in order to be more relevant in today’s market. She has been with the company for six years and felt they needed professionals that specialize in technology marketing to take a hard look at their company and competitive environment and provide them with insights and strategic guidance. She said they were too close to be unbiased. I asked her if they have an in-house marketing department and she said, “I am it.” She works with a variety of freelancers in order to make their marketing happen. I asked her if it was hard not having a dedicated team that was all working from the same sheet of music and she said “it’s exhausting.” I bet it is.

There is a way to utilize outsourced marketing services to support a company’s growth and there is a way not to. The modern, effective way is to have a Director of Marketing or Marketing Manager at the helm internally at your company and then an outsourced marketing partner that provides all of the possible talent needed to market efficiently and effectively. This partner is dialed into your company, offerings, target audiences, customers, competitive environment, team, business objectives and strategic marketing plan. They have one or two people that are your everyday points of contact and that orchestrate all of the initiatives that you have underway. This way, your Director of Marketing or Marketing Manager, can focus on wrangling what he/she needs internally to keep things moving without having to make heads or tails out of communication from an unintegrated team of freelancers. Ultimately, the dynamic between your internal marketing person and your outsourced marketing partner becomes yin and yang, where each is using their strengths to make your marketing machine hum while getting each other’s back.

The other, more “exhausting” way is to piece things together with a hodge podge of freelancers who don’t typically interact with one another and are task driven instead of strategy driven. Sure, many of the freelancers are talented individuals who do a good job but that’s just it, it’s a job, a project, not an integral component of your strategic marketing program that they are actively living every day.

It’s understandable that companies today don’t want to staff an entire marketing department with all of the talent that is really required. They don’t want the headaches or the overhead. So they find one person with a marketing background, give them some sort of budget for freelance talent and expect marketing miracles to happen. Piecing things together is penny wise and pound foolish. If you’re going to outsource your company’s marketing, find a partner who can become an extension of your company, a participant in your total success. Otherwise you’re just treading water. and limiting your company’s growth potential.

Marketing that Doesn't Suck Outsourced Marketing Services

Don’t Let Your Company’s Marketing Suck (and stop being mean to your Marketing Manager).

Contact us to learn more about our Outsourced Marketing Services >

Outsourced Marketing Services

Marketing that Sucks: Part 4

 

Example #4: Companies that Make their Marketing Managers Carry Too Heavy a Load and that Should Really Consider Outsourced Marketing Services

 

Companies outsource a whole lot of stuff today and this includes outsourced marketing services. But outsourced marketing services still haven’t caught on as much as they need to with small to mid-size businesses. The most common situation we see out there in Marketing Land today is small to mid-size companies that embrace marketing but terribly understaff this function in their business. They hire one Marketing Manager and expect them to function as their entire marketing department. Let me tell you, it isn’t pretty. These are some of the most stressed out people you will ever meet. They are wearing so many hats and are responsible for having more specialized skills than any human should be required to have in a lifetime.

On top of all of this, these very same Marketing Managers are expected to prove their worth by making sure their marketing efforts are producing ROI. Sounds like fun, huh? That’s why so many of these talented individuals last for a year or two and then find a healthier, more supportive work situation. But then there are the savvy Marketing Managers that seek out agencies like ours that provide outsourced marketing services to small to mid-size businesses. They work with us to help make the case to management that they can’t do it all on their own and that their company can have the benefit of a dedicated marketing department for significantly less than the cost of staffing one simply by retaining an outsourced marketing agency. Plus, this type of arrangement will up their company’s marketing game on every level, enabling them to achieve the results they are seeking.

The moral of this story is one person does not a marketing department make. Marketing in today’s complicated world requires a massive amount of different skills and talents to be done well and achieve results. If you’re a company that embraces marketing but doesn’t want to staff up, seriously consider outsourced marketing services so you don’t have a revolving door of marketing managers.

 

Don’t Let Your Company’s Marketing Suck (and stop being mean to your Marketing Manager).

Contact us to learn more about our Outsourced Marketing Services >

Marketing Goals and Objectives

Marketing that Sucks: Part 3

Example #3: Flying-by-the-Seat-of-Your-Pants Without Marketing Goals & Objectives 

Marketing without clearly identifying marketing goals and objectives is not only pointless but a big waste of money. Yet it’s amazing how many companies — of all shapes and sizes — are doing things this way. It’s not their fault, really. Most marketing departments are operating in a state of perpetual overwhelm and simply reacting to the deluge of random initiatives that land on their plate. Maybe they started the year with a list of strategic goals but, more often than not, they haven’t looked at this list in months.

What is the secret to keeping your company’s marketing goals and objectives top-of-mind even with all the one-off requests and initiatives that come your way? We say use your marketing goals and objectives as the navigational system for your marketing program. Keep them front and center in your workday. And, when random, miscellaneous projects come your way, ask in a direct yet always nice manner how this fits in with your company’s marketing goals and objectives. Maybe even cut and paste them for easy reference. This doesn’t mean you won’t ever have to do things that aren’t on course but it’s a way of helping to keep your marketing goals and objectives front and center for everyone in your company so you can continuously steer your efforts in the defined direction. You may even want to keep a log of the initiatives you tackled that weren’t on track along with any notes about their effectiveness.

Now what if you’re a company that is running your marketing without any goals and objectives? None. Zilch. You’re just doing stuff and hoping for the best and maybe not even monitoring the results of your efforts. The message to you is STOP! This is just no way to market in today’s day and age. It’s a huge waste of time and money. Find yourself a strategic marketing partner — ahem, like us — to guide a discussion with the key stakeholders in your company about what they want your marketing to achieve. A good strategic marketing partner knows how to ask the hard questions in order to define realistic, achievable marketing goals and objectives. They will also have the chops to create a strategic marketing plan that is aligned with your goals, objectives and, most importantly, budget. And, they can help you “police” your marketing program so that it stays on course with the marketing goals and objectives that were defined.

 

Don’t Let Your Company’s Marketing Suck.

Sign up for a Complimentary Online Presence Assessment and download our handy 6-Month Content Planner. 


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Social Media for Business

Marketing that Sucks: Part 2

Example #2: Social Media for Business to Business that Has No Strategy Behind It 

Social media for business to business is pretty much a total wash without any strategy behind it. Sure you can show a pulse for your company online by posting articles, videos, infographics, etc. (we do this) but to really reap the big benefits of social media for business to business, think Search Engine Optimization. Search engines are always hungry for fresh, relevant content. The more relevant (keyword-focused) content you put out, the more links there are driving people to your website. You want to create a web of relevant links online that drive people to your website for your offerings. There are lots of ways to put out content online —blogs, social media, directories, public relations, etc. If you’re serious about being found online, SEO should be factored into your social media strategy. They key to this is to make your blog the heart of your social media strategy. A blog provides a central channel for you to push out content to all of your social media channels. To make life easier come up with a 6 to 12-month strategic content plan that is aligned with your business goals. Then, do 6 months of keyword research for all blog post content. Develop a list of words, phrases and questions by looking at your website, reviewing social media sites your prospects use, looking at your competitions’ websites, analyzing industry blog posts, having sales staff provide you with the FAQs they hear the most, etc. Use Google Trends (unpaid), Word Tracker (free 7 day trial) and SerpStat (free and paid options) to find keywords with good search volume and low competition. Then, plan your content by using a content planner (you can download one here). Post your content according to the schedule on your blog. Be sure to consistently optimize the URL, the title in your blog post and make sure keywords are in your first paragraph and that any images are also optimized.

Social Media for Business

Don’t Let Your Company’s Marketing Suck.

Sign up for a Complimentary Online Presence Assessment and download our handy content planner. 


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