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If you’re a small or mid-market B2B company, there is only one purpose for marketing:  to drive sales.  You can do this in four ways:

  1. Leverage your sales efforts, increasing the capacity of your sales team.
  2. Allow you to enter the conversation earlier, eliminating competition.
  3. Move the conversation away from [what’s it cost, to what it’s worth].
  4. A combination of the three points above.

Effective marketing should be easy to measure.  There are five key measurements for effective marketing:

  • Shorter sales cycle times.
  • Increased number of qualified opportunities seeking your out.
  • Lower sales costs.
  • Higher margins.
  • Increased loyalty as measured by average lifetime and average lifetime value of your customers/clients.

Untitled-1Unfortunately, the vast majority of small and mid-market (SME) companies are experiencing the polar opposite of these results.  Without realizing it their marketing efforts are actually thrusting them [into the commoditization trap], lengthening the sales cycle and eroding their margins.

The three main causes for ineffective marketing are:

1. Falling into the “We Do” Trap

What’s the ‘we do’ trap, you ask? Whenever you find yourself telling prospects or clients what ‘we do’, instead of collaborating with them or leading the conversation, you are in the ‘we do’ trap. This is a direct path into ‘the commoditization trap.’ When you are telling people what you do, you are making three critical mistakes:

  • You are speaking a language your client probably doesn’t understand,
  • You are not focusing on uncovering the key results that your client wants to achieve, and
  • You are failing to focus the conversation on your compelling difference.

Instead of spending time telling prospects all of your ‘we do’s’; focus on enabling them to understand the problems they have and what they must do to solve them. Then, the only ‘we do’ you’ll need to share is: “We do that.”

2. Focusing on awareness instead of engagement

Traditional marketing, with it’s focus on [branding, awareness and market share], does a tremendous disservice to SMEs.  In today’s noisy marketplace, unless you have billions of dollars to blast your message, awareness is only valuable to the extent that you [earn, and re-earn, the attention of your desired audience].  This is especially true in B2B environments.

A B2B sale is complex, involves more risk and has less frequency of purchase than other types of sales.  Today, businesses need to think of marketing in terms of cultivation. The job of marketing is to engage, provoke, educate and influence your desired markets. It must be done consistently and dynamically. Done effectively, a marketing cultivation program leverages your sales efforts.

When businesses fail to take this approach (and the vast majority fail), the result is far too much weight is put on the sales process. Sales organizations today simply don't have the resources or bandwidth to compete with the complexity and noise that their customers and prospects are dealing with. The impact of this is [the selling organization lose 30 - 70% of their effectiveness].  As such, sales costs get higher and margins get tighter.

3. Focus on broadcasting, rather than sharing.

Claim: We don’t drop calls.  (from your cell phone company)

Claim:  No-fee checking, (from your bank)

Claim:  Easy-to-use CRM

Trust is at an all-time low.  Companies have been lying to prospects for so long that they’re simply not heard.  You’ve got a simple decision to make.  Tell people you’re a rock star, or share and let them determine that for themselves.

[This is the power of content], and it’s under-utilized by the vast majority of SMEs.

How We Solve The Marketing Problem

There are five parts to building an effective marketing approach:

  1. Create clarity around who you are trying to attract.
  2. Identify the High Probability Issues that will drive your customers/clients to action.
  3. Design the marketing model to ensure that marketing connects to, drives and leverages your sales efforts.
  4. Develop a provocative story to open doors and gain your buyers’ attention.
  5. Implement an ongoing, effective communication program to share this story and engage your market.

Imagine has several programs to support these efforts:

The_Demand_Creation_Advisor   The_Demand_Cultivator   The_Demand_Generator   Demand_Creation_Blueprint 

Additional Resources:

  • Download our Making Marketing Work Fast Growth Tips
  • Check out The Imagine Marketing Channel
  • Watch Making Marketing Work Webinar On-Demand.
  • Review Content Marketing Insights from The Fast Growth Blog