As a director, you’ve had a clear vision for your company from day one. You know what ultimate success looks like and you know the interim milestones that you can’t wait to celebrate. You are the expert in your field so you know how to lead the company, direct the team and leverage the power of the technology, but while you take centre stage, every leading man or woman needs a supporting cast.
As a marketeer, I’ve supported many stars over the last decade, helping them to discover their fame and fortune. But I’ve also seen many struggle to realise their dream. It’s your time to shine, so don’t fall foul of these marketing strategy mistakes.
“I want to be a thought-leader”
It’s a desire I’ve heard many, many times. The trouble is, that in order to be a thought-leader, you actually have to have something original to say. Over the years, I’ve worked with several companies that have the ambition, but either don’t have the opinion to back it up, or worse, they’re afraid of publishing anything in the public domain.
One of the best campaigns I’ve ever worked on was for a company that was selling fuel cells. The client was perfect as its managing director had a lot to say, which made for very interesting and educational content. And he was more than happy to engage with the industry and media, which in turn led to several speaking slots at industry events, press coverage and sales. The marketing campaign was so successful that it reached the finals of the National Business Awards.
…and yet your corporate colour is blue, you use stock photography, and your communications are full of promises to deliver ‘first-class service’, be a ‘trusted partner’, and implement ‘bespoke solutions’ that will cause a ‘paradigm shift’ in the industry – just like every other IT company.
If you have the ambition to be different, you need to position yourself accordingly, highlighting what you can do better than anyone else. In marketing we talk about ‘unique selling points (USPs)’, but the truth is, being unique is rare since most things can be easily copied. Therefore, you need to determine why you’re different and what actually makes people buy from you. Never assume you know what this is; perform exercises like a customer survey or competitor analysis to give you the answers.
“We get plenty of leads from [vendor]”
Receiving qualified leads from a vendor is great for your sales funnel, but you shouldn’t rely on it as your only source of new business. I’ve witnessed many companies hit crisis point as their leads start to dry up when the vendors change strategy, choose to sell direct or share them across more partners.
To ensure your company remains successful, you need to retain control of your own destiny and engage in your own lead generation activities – receiving vendor leads should only ever be viewed as a bonus. Your marketing strategy will identify who your potential customers are, where they are and how best to engage them. And don’t forget, it costs five times as much to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one, so remember to nurture the clients you already have.
“Great idea, but let’s think about it”
It’s one of the most frustrating phrases I’ve heard throughout my career, and a key reason I’ve chosen to stop working with some clients. I love my job because I can see the direct impact my skill has on a business, helping it to realise its ambition. But when a client comes to me with a problem, such as needing to boost its sales pipeline, raise its brand awareness or strengthen its positioning, and I’ve spent time analysing the situation and crafting a strategy to overcome that problem, only for the client to then ‘think’ about it, my heart sinks.
Opportunities are lost by those who sit back and wait, while those that did something and grabbed the first-mover advantage experience success. If you’ve reached out and engaged a marketing professional, you have to trust them with your vision. It’s true that not all marketing campaigns deliver the results you want, but what about if they far exceed your expectations? Where would your business be then?
“We already do a lot of marketing”
Great news! So tell me, what return is it delivering? Every good marketeer knows that your marketing has to deliver specific results, so you can determine the return on investment. Failing to measure what matters means you can quickly waste time, money and effort on marketing tactics that fail to move your business closer to where it needs to be.
Successful companies outline key performance indicators (KPIs) for every marketing campaign, defining what success looks like so they can easily report back on what is/isn’t working, and tweak the campaign accordingly. KPIs can be anything, such as number of new leads, revenue, website visitors, social media engagements…etc, as long as they link back to your overall marketing objectives (and therefore your overall business objectives).
What can I help you with?
From marketing strategy formation through to content creation, I help SMEs in the IT and technology sectors to build their brand and generate leads. You know where you want to be, let me help you discover the path to your company’s success.