I have a few concepts that tend to guide my actions and strategies in the workplace. I’ve tried to capture some of them below – and I’m more than happy to talk over anything via LinkedIn.
Thoughts specific to marketing’s role and how buyers act Create and plan an effective outdoor advertising marketing strategy by knowing the various types of outdoor media to reach more people. See https://www.outdoor-advertising.org.uk/ to find out more.
If I can’t tie a project to revenue impact, it’s not a priority.
This happens when you work at the company whose Chief Strategy Officer, Dr. Debbie Qaqish, invented the term “revenue marketing.” My team wasn’t held to MQL or SQL numbers – it’s a revenue number.
SQLs and MQLs are operational metrics that drive pipeline optimization, but only one number truly matters. And that guides our business finance and resource planning for the team, because if we’re working on things that won’t move the needle, it only hurts ourselves and the company’s bottom line.
But you can’t track/attribute everything
That’s because for some actions, it’s either difficult or downright impossible. Podcast appearances, being found in Reddit threads, etc. can be excellent ways of getting in front of the right buyers and influencers for what you’re selling.
And logging these activities in your CRM helps craft a picture of how marketing is influencing the market. I know these are good steps to take for brand awareness!
I’m also on board with the concepts around dark social/dark funnel. Last touch attribution (“they filled out a contact us form on the website, so website gets credit for the lead!) is well past its expiration date, but they can be useful in understanding the conversion points and path buyers take.
It just can’t stop there.
Customer retention is just as important as net-new
Marketing should be working on both fronts.
Metrics such as lifetime value and churn rate can be great indicators to marketing on what needs to be done. Obviously, a strong connection to sales and customer success is also necessary!
Companies still investing heavily in net-new demand generation without having marketing help with customer retention only lower their revenue ceilings.
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Good marketing makes people feel what you want them to feel, which makes them more likely to buy.
Call it emotional advertising, but I believe it’s at the core of any marketing plan. A good ad catches a person’s attention and makes them want to learn more. It takes them to a great website experience with an eye-pleasing, easy-to-use interface that inspires trust and makes it easy for them to do the thing (contact us, build a vehicle, buy something online, etc.) you hope they will.
After all, you don’t have much time to make inroads – usually a couple of seconds, or even less.
Bad marketing turns potential customers away or just doesn’t make them care, just like a poor website creates distrust or drives people to your competitor’s site. After all, each of us are subjected to hundreds of ads everyday – and remember precious few, if any, of them later.
From the colors, white space, tone/style of text, and imagery used to the timing of when an ad hits or who it’s shown to, so many factors go into moving the needle. But the attention to detail is well worth it when crafting a narrative to inspire action.
The buyer is always in control.
Demand generation is bandied about as a catch-all strategy, but I think it has one flaw that many marketers fall into:
You cannot choose when to engage. Buyers are in control, and they’re better than ever at hiding. Intent data, chatbots, and other tech can only get you so far. For those who have that data, how often do you get the dreaded “anonymous website visitor” anyway?
One has to assume your buyers are in places you can’t control. Think podcasts, Reddit threads, Youtube channels, Slack groups, LinkedIn networks, etc.
Forrester defines a demand gen program as “A … program engages buyers at every touchpoint throughout the three major stages of the customer journey, from first knowledge of you until they convert into a qualified lead.”
The work done to inform that “first knowledge of you” is vital, but really can only be tracked by “vanity” metrics. Yet, these matter.
For example, say your CEO gets on a podcast that, using a tool like SparkToro, is listened to by your target audience.
What’s the value in that? (Downloads, lift in branded searches, etc.)
Is this direct impact on revenue? Not unless somebody tells you they found out about you via that podcast when booking a call – or if your sales team asks.
Yet, it’s massively important to get where you audience is spending their time.
Lead management and customer experience are dead without buy-in from Sales.
I’ve seen it firsthand: Marketing and Sales arguing over what a “good” lead is, with revenue dying in the pipeline.
Or, even worse? Salespeople thinking they got less commission on marketing-sourced leads, leading to all sorts of shenanigans within the company’s instance of Salesforce. Yep, seen that happen (egads).
But if customers are further along than ever before in their buying journey before ever talking to a salesperson, then marketing’s role is only increased in driving successful pipeline.
Marketing and Sales have to have a strong relationship, or both will dramatically suffer.
Marketing leadership ideals
Thoughts related to being a leader within your organization.
Strong marketing collaborates across departments for better cohesion and long-term planning.
Communications? IT? Finance? Customer service?
Through projects of all sizes, marketers work across different teams to implement and execute desired strategies. The more integrated marketing is with others, the less guesswork there is on how to align with overall company strategies and objectives.
When upgrading a website, it’s important to work across traditional team lines. Marketers are working on the front-end content, but must collaborate with a web team and IT to ensure the back-end is updated, secure, and with a user-friendly design.
It must also support other business objectives, such as graphics supporting a traditional marketing campaign or a more streamlined customer service portal to make it easier for end-users to contact the company and have their request route to the right internal team.
Rarely do decisions made only impact your team.
You hire people do to a job. Let them do it.
I’ve had the privilege of stepping into various leadership roles throughout my career, but also having many excellent superiors with varied management styles. I’ve noticed a few trends:
- Good managers display trust in their employees, champion them to key decision-makers, and mitigate risk while allowing employees to try new things
- Bad managers fail to set long-term vision for a team/project, are too reactive to problems instead of finding solutions, and often over-micromanage the small details
As with most things, nuance and balance are vital. Sometimes, an employee may need his/her manager to step in and back them up, or provide guidance on the best way to move forward with a project.
I’ve had to place a team member on a performance improvement plan and worked with them to increase productivity and prioritize appropriately.
But ultimately, your job is to serve the team and make them the heroes.
Not the other way around.
Status quo is not status quo.
One of the biggest barriers to progress I’ve run into is a mindset of sticking with what’s worked in the past – or what a person is most comfortable with. A vendor, program, or even staff member may have been the ideal solution years ago – but that doesn’t mean it’s the same today.
This also goes for levels of success. It’s good to celebrate the wins, but following that up by asking “How do we get better?” keeps teams moving forward.
Go to bat for your team.
Something I’ve noticed among my favorite bosses: They sing your praises publicly to other team members and executives alike. It brings recognition to those who otherwise may not be noticed by decision-makers and makes them rightfully feel appreciated.
A related note: Those same superiors also did a great job of providing real, honest feedback and weren’t afraid to give criticism – but in a private setting.
Asking “What could go wrong?” often saves trouble
This stems from spending some time in Public Relations. Even small potential issues need solutions before they can spiral into bigger problems, and anticipating them in advance can take a good plan and make it airtight.
Asking hard questions matters. For example, would a particular photo, used in the context and associated with particular text, be taken in a way you don’t intend? Does it matter if a :30 video spot for a client happens to have actors of only one ethnicity when they are trying to reach an entire city?