Posts tagged ‘Marketing Consultant’

How do you define a hot lead?

“If you ain’t dialin’, I ain’t smilin’.”

“Fill the pipeline and sort it out later.”

“All leads are good leads.”

We’ve heard them all before. Most people (and seemingly all of my past bosses) equate number of leads with quality of leads. Go to a trade show, have a giveaway contest in the booth, collect 3,000 leads, and consider the show an unparalleled success. Unfortunately, once the smoke clears and the afterglow of the show has passed, you soon realize that those 3,000 leads were nothing more than “trick or treaters” looking for a freebie to take back home. After spending six months chasing down all 3,000 leads, you discover that only 35 of them are actual revenue-generating customers, and only half of them are ready to make a purchase decision. In the end, you’ve spent $100,000 on a trade show that netted 12 customers and generated $150,000 in sales. Take into consideration all the efforts to get the booth ready, manning the booth, and time that the salespeople were out of the field, and suddenly you find yourself in a conversation with your manager about cutting back the number of shows your company attends next year.

The problem, of course, is not the show. Rather, it’s the way you pre-define prospects, leads, and customers. For every marketing program — whether it’s a trade show, advertising campaign, webinar, etc.— you need to have a game plan before, during, and after the event. You need to take the time to fully understand the customers, the needs of those customers, the sales process (see my “Lily pad” marketing entry for more info on nurturing a prospect into a customer), the messages that will resonate with customers in a differentiating manner, and the most effective medium with which to communicate. Complicated? Absolutely, but not on the rocket science level. Effective? Without a doubt.

I’ve helped many companies and clients with their lead generation needs (here’s a success story from my website), so if you’re looking for someone to help you, give me a shout.

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May 22, 2009 at 12:32 pm 5 comments

“Field of Dreams” marketing

Build it and they will come.

If only that were true.

Too often, marketing and product teams fall prey to what I call “Field of Dreams” marketing. Whether it’s a slick new website, or a shiny new product, or a fancy new advertising campaign, many companies will rely on their internal ‘tribal knowledge’ and fail to research, survey, measure, and test new marketing/sales/product ideas. There’s an assumption that, if there are enough people that believe in it, it will inevitably become successful. Even worse is the idea that so much time and money has been sunk into something that there’s no turning back. These thought processes can prove fatal for companies, especially during a recession, when cash is tight and customers are hard to find.

I have a dirty little secret to share: using good processes on the front end can actually help save you time and money on the back end. So how can you avoid stepping on the Field of Dreams? There are several things you can do to sidestep the pitfalls… let’s focus on the three examples above:

  • A slick new website – good websites are expensive, and if they aren’t done right they can actually act as a barrier to customer acquisition (for more on websites, read my entry “Your website is your strongest sales tool“). Ask your customers about your ideas to change the site. Develop a clear plan for what you want your site to accomplish. Hire an experienced expert.
  • A shiny new product – CEOs and VPs love to use their “instincts” to determine the next generation of products and services. Resist the temptation or the results can be disastrous. Use honest-to-goodness focus groups, advisory panels, and marketing research to complement the internal knowledge.
  • A fancy new advertising campaign – alas, marketing teams just love to develop new ideas for communicating to a company’s audience, but that can be dangerous if kept unchecked, leading to groupthink marketing or even worse (yes, that’s a real McDonalds ad). Remember your audience; if your communicating with software developers, for example, you wouldn’t want anything over-the-top or cheesy because they would resist it like the plague.

You get the idea. By applying best practices, like the Aximum Marketing Success Cycle, you can make sure your efforts are focused and on-target. Just keep your eye on the ball and you’ll be fine.

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May 18, 2009 at 4:07 am Leave a comment

Your website is your strongest sales tool

Aximum Marketing's home page

Quick… when someone is trying to find out about your company’s products and services, what’s the first thing they do? Grab the newspaper? Ask a friend? Pick up the phone?

Nope. Chances are they either Google you, or go directly to your website (which is basically the same thing, if you’re engaging in good Search Engine Optimization practices). Your website is without a doubt the most recognizable and most tangible manifestation of your company’s value. Is it sending the type of message and image that you want it to?

For those that have been reading my posts for a while, you know that I’m a marketing consultant. I focus my consultancy efforts on branding, messaging, lead generation, social networking, and public relations. I designed my website with a specific audience in mind, providing a clean, colorful, sharp, Web 2.0-ish experience. Can you imagine if my website, which is supposed to be a shining example of what I can provide prospective clients, looked like this (yikes!) instead of this? All my credibility would fly out the window, with good reason.

Take a look at your current website and ask yourself these questions:

  • Is our website sending the right message to our future customers?
  • Was our target audience the main motivation for its current design?
  • When was the last time we redesigned our website? (Hint: if it’s been longer than 3 or 4 years, it’s time for a redesign.)
  • What is our website supposed to do: provide information, sell products, generate leads, develop communities, something else?
  • If I asked 10 prospects to assess our website, what would they say?

Make your website your strongest sales tool and it will make your life a whole lot easier. If you think it’s time to do something about it, contact us and we’ll be happy to help.

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May 14, 2009 at 2:24 am 1 comment

Social Media success story

Sure, you’ve heard a lot about social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and, yes, even WordPress (I’m being ironic). But there haven’t been a lot of success stories attached to those ‘new marketing’ tools, mostly because a lot of marketers aren’t clear how to measure success. Simply put, success is defined as the achievement of pre-determined goals based on actual, real-life business needs and objectives.

Here’s a great social media success story from my company, Aximum Marketing. One of our clients was trying to elevate his company above the competition during a downtime, while his rivals were scaling back on marketing and overall customer communication. The goals were focused on lead generation, website visits, ecommerce revenue, and industry leadership. By developing a number of different social media programs, we were able to get some amazing results for them. And the real kicker: the initial execution on these initiatives cost only about $5K, and had a ROI of 350:1 after 4 months. Read all the details, as well as my other success stories, and contact me if you’d like to incorporate social media into your company.

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May 13, 2009 at 3:51 am Leave a comment

Market sizing vs. market segmentation

tape-measure

Does size really matter?

Get your mind out of the gutter. I’m talking, of course, about market sizing, a common and deceptively unproductive exercise. Let me explain… how many times have you heard someone say something like this:

“We’re looking at expanding our business into the Blah Blah industry because it’s currently a $78 Billion market and expected to grow 10% this year. If we could only get 0.04% of the new market, we could add another $3.12 Million to our revenue stream with almost no effort at all!

You’re currently nodding your head and saying, “yup, I’ve heard that before.” Or perhaps you’re saying, “yup, that’s me.

As you know, this approach can be very challenging for many reasons. By jumping into the big pool, you’re joining the countless competitors that are doing the same thing. This results in lots of companies chasing after the same dollars, with very little chance of getting them. In all reality, only the biggest companies in your industry have a chance of winning most of that business, and you’ll unfortunately spend a lot of time, money, and energy with little to show for it. Another disadvantage with this approach is that it’s very broad and unfocused, which means you’ll need to spread your resources very thinly across many different marketplaces, demographics, price points, and time frames.

To answer the question, “does size really matter?”, the answer is yes, to a degree. It’s the first half of a great solution to help you expand your business and increase your revenue. The second half of the solution is market segmentation, which will be your very best friend when it comes to new business development. Market segmentation makes the numbers derived from market sizing realistic, attainable and, above all, more focused on customers that play to your company’s strengths while reducing the amount of competition.

Let’s take the Blah Blah industry as an example. Suppose you did a little more research and determined that focusing on customers

  • in the southwest
  • that are female
  • between the ages of 24-40
  • with median incomes of $61,000
  • that like the color fuchsia

presents a current market of $46 Million, which is expected to grow 30% this year. Yes, this is way less than the $78 Billion mother lode, but there are only 3 competitors in this entire micro-market and one of them is probably going out of business this year. That means that you are competing with one other company for almost $14 Million worth of new business, and $60 Million in total. This approach allows you to ignore 99% percent of the overall market, most of the competitors, and a majority of the business development efforts, while providing over four times the revenue potential.

Ah, the magic of market segmentation, the less popular, often misunderstood, and regularly underutilized little brother of market sizing. If you do your homework and spend a little more time and resources on good market research, the results can be amazing. If you need some guidance with this, talk to us. We’d love to help you.

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May 10, 2009 at 11:55 pm 3 comments

Marketing Churn – what is it, and how to avoid it

churn

Ah, yes. The beauty of the ocean crashing upon the shoals, cascading across the water-beaten rocks in an awesome spectacle of raw, natural power. For eons, these rocks have borne the brunt of nature’s wrath in an unending tug-of-war between an unstoppable force and an immovable object, providing constant movement but no objective sign of progress.

Do your marketing efforts feel the exact same way?

If they do, you’re not alone. It’s all too common to have marketing teams engaging in tons of activity, constantly moving and working on stuff but providing no real signs of progress. We call this seemingly futile exercise “churn.” This is one of the main reasons why many people see marketing as an inefficient and unmeasurable activity, and it’s also a big reason why marketing budgets are so high. Not only is churn frustrating to management, but it’s also discouraging to your marketing team. And don’t even ask about how it affects your relationship with your customers.

What’s the best way to avoid churn? If a solid process is put in place on the front end, it’s easy to keep marketing activities more focused, more disciplined, and more tightly aligned with the overall goals of the company. At Aximum, we use a system called the “Marketing Success Cycle,” specifically designed to eliminate marketing churn:

  • Assess the current situation based on past communication activities, current needs, competition, and marketplace trends/factors
  • Report the findings in clear, unambiguous language, focusing on how to improve communication and increase revenue opportunities
  • Diagnose the best courses of action based on timelines, budget, and goals
  • Execute on the agreed-upon strategies and tactical components of the plan
  • Measure results, proactively report metrics, and compare actual results to goals, all with continuous improvement in mind

If your marketing team has a strategically-minded person at the helm, they can incorporate this process and achieve much better results. If you find yourself in need of a person like this, or you just need some help to take things to that next level, give us a call at 480-814-8838 or send us an email and we’ll be happy to speak with you about how to make your marketing activities churn-free.

Now go play in the surf. But be careful… those rocks can be slippery.

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May 8, 2009 at 8:47 am Leave a comment

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