September 5, 2017
Clients often ask for advice on where they should spend their marketing dollars. Sometimes they have fallen into the trap of focusing more on activity than results. It’s easy to get into the habit of throwing the same old programs at a problem without thinking through what will really drive results and what just isn’t a good use of your budget.
When you are deciding where to focus your efforts, it helps to think about three key factors: the goal of the program, who you are targeting, and what action you’d like them to take.
Is it actual leads or is it awareness around your brand? Once you know the purpose, you can start to develop a strategy to reach that goal and determine your campaign tactics. If you have to limit the scope of your program for budgetary reasons, make sure you understand what it is you are cutting and what the impact on results will be.
Who do you want to reach and where do they get their information? Which websites, influencers and analysts do they turn to for insights? Are they active on social media? Which industry events do they attend? If you know how to reach your audience that will go a long way in helping you decide which activities to focus on first.
This comes down to deciding what you want them to do. If you are trying to generate leads, you need gated content to capture their contact information and campaigns that support that goal. That means you need quality, educational content that they will deem worthy of parting with their contact information in order to download. If it’s awareness you are focused on, look at offers that get your name and expertise in front of prospects to start to build a relationship.
Once you have that information, you can begin building your plan and deciding which programs to add to your mix.
Unless you are IBM or Apple, most companies need to spend some time and money building their brand. After all, your prospects need to know who you are before you can sell to them. Brand building can include activities such as digital ads, SEO, paid search, social media, PR and speaking opportunities. Even tradeshows and industry events, which are often viewed as lead generating tools, can actually be better for building your brand.
If the priority is around targeting prospects that are familiar with your brand, you need to prove your qualifications – and show them why you are the right choice. This is a process and it takes time to guide your prospects through the buying cycle. It’s generating new leads, but also nurturing and qualifying existing leads to move them into (and through) the sales pipeline. Campaigns that offer educational material, such as white papers, webinars, podcasts and demos, will draw those interested in your offerings, position you as a thought leader and move them forward in the sales process. For top tier prospects, having a solid account-based marketing program will help ensure you are reaching your best prospects with targeted content.
Using the marketing mix to intelligently target your audience will ensure you get the best results from your programs. The more you understand who you are targeting and the best ways to reach them, the better the outcome will be.