Archive for June, 2011
Has anyone else noticed that the current technology marketplace seems to be looking a bit cloudy? Technology marketing departments have been clambering for some time now to get their Cloud offerings out to market, and Apple’s announcement of the iCloud has brought the conversation to the front of people’s minds once again.
Over the last six months we have seen a vast array of Cloud offerings, all branded in a very similar way; white clouds, fluffy clouds, silver clouds, clouds with wheels, clouds with doors, clouds with blue backgrounds, clouds with no backgrounds, clouds that look like a collection of meatballs and of course Apple’s immaculate, confident and minimalist image of cloud.
The problem here is a simple one, so many Clouds and so many cloud images, are vendors, associated marketing departments and agencies slightly missing the point by relying on a shorthand label that can mean so many things to different people?
Clearly it’s important to firmly plant your flag in the sand in an emerging market but isn’t it about time we stepped away from the cliché of the catch all label and begin assessing the products themselves in relation to the buyers needs.
As bigger budgets fight for ownership of the same space, differentiation is going to be key, especially for smaller players. Both the thinking and the execution will need to go a little further than the creation of a cloud logo.
We’re at the Cloud Computing World Forum today and are looking forward to exploring the Cloud further, and hopefully discovering more to it than it’s white flurry exterior!
We all know a good marketing brief is fundamental to any successful campaign. Defining the key messages and target demographics, analysing the competitive landscape and setting deadlines can ensure that your marketing campaign is focused. But how can that focus become success? And what is the basic unifying factor missing from the traditional brief?
Defining the key message
Without an industry standard for writing briefs it makes sense to build the basics around the one true goal of any marketing campaign – sales.
The reality of marketing is to achieve a bottom line objective. With that in mind the brief has already begun to take shape. The client, agency and creatives are straight away on the same page. This allows marketers to map the brief to the customer’s buying journey, defining the touchpoints, and providing valuable and insightful marketing.
A revenue-led focus on your key demographic forces marketers to use their increased knowledge of B2B buying cycles. Collated through open conversations taking place in social media this intelligence enables marketers to hone in on leads at different levels of the buying cycle. With sales goals steering the brief this information can help focus the campaign to the right people, enabling marketing to communicate with the most relevant and timely messages.
Analysing the competitive landscape
How many sales do we need to achieve business success? This is the question that runs through a brief from beginning to end. With this clarity of purpose the competitive landscape seems to fade away. We are no longer competing for sales we’re achieving them. By assessing conversations taking place, especially through social media, we can uncover buyer behaviour and transform it into a more personalised marketing experience.
A revenue-led direction delivers your deadlines for you. The more targeted the brief and the greater the results meaning that deadlines in the traditional sense become less important because the achievements are more significant. What this enables is marketing targets to become sales targets and vice versa. This creates a situation where marketing and sales are working towards the same agenda, brief and deadlines.
With a sales-focused principle in place marketers are encouraged to take a greater interest in the buying cycle, developing a long-term, strategic brief that concentrates efforts on the individual buyer. This system of refining marketing activity creates a lead nurturing scenario to ensure a more qualified prospect reaches the sales department. With that in mind briefs become less about an interpretation of success and more about the measureable achievement of it.
With a deeper focus on lead nurturing, enabled by the unified goal of a revenue-focused brief, sales and marketing come together to ensure business success is shared and quantified on the bottom line.
For years’ now marketing has proclaimed its ability to enhance lead generation, stuff your pipeline full of potential clients, increase brand awareness…the list goes on. So what would you say if an agency stepped up from potential outcomes and asked for a definitive revenue goal instead?
Now we’re on the same page!
Bringing sales and marketing together creates a unity on which marketing strategy, execution, and outcome can all be measured. With this in mind agencies, marketing teams and sales could, and should, be held accountable for the decisions they make. Now before accountability starts feeling like a scary prospect, think of the pros (and the reality!)
With a collaborative goal, our minds become focussed.
By thinking about the revenue outcome across every step of the process, and using research to analyse the impact of various marketing channels, we can direct marketing spend to the right place at the right time; in short we can successfully use research and a common revenue goal to achieve better results.
Where does that leave the creative folk?
This should in no way stifle the creative input of a campaign. In fact would the opposite not be true? We all know that the stronger the foundations the sturdier the house, the same can be said of creativity. With a strong goal in mind, and research to underpin the idea, the creative becomes more relevant, more focused and genuinely effective. Which is what we’re here for after all!
So why isn’t every one doing it?
It seems obvious that marketing should produce ROI worthy of shouting about, but for too long clients and agencies haven’t dared to ask the question as to whether a campaign has achieved real bottom-line success.
With technology offering a helping hand and many more campaigns being executed online we have the tools to measure our success, so why not focus that success where it should have always been…on the revenue generated!
For more on results-led marketing, click here.
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