It can be all too easy for non-Marketers to imagine that generating leads is simply a matter of firing off a ‘marketing campaign’. Invariably anyone from the CEO of a start-up to a Sales VP in a major enterprise will answer the question “how do we get more sales?” with “we need to run a marketing campaign”. As a result, an external agency or the internal marketing department is instructed to create one immediately. If their response is to dive headlong into creative design or marketing tactics it will probably end in wasted cost and a pretty disappointing level of return. This is because, as any seasoned B2B Marketer knows, you cannot hope to have success without explicitly clarifying who you are selling to, what they are buying and why, understanding how they make their purchasing decisions and deciding what you are actually trying to achieve with the campaign.
Here are five things you need to clearly define before getting into the fun stuff, or “the colouring in” as some of my dismissive sales colleagues used to call it.
1. Decide on your target market
Despite your understandable view that everyone is bound to want to buy your new offering, it will actually be more attractive to some businesses than to others.Your best strategy is to initially focus your activities where that attraction is strongest. This will be as a result of a combination of factors such as industry, size, geography, external influences/regulations, competition. The closer you can define your target market segment the more compelling you can make your messaging, the more realistic your business targets and more successful your sales activities.
2. Describe your typical buyer
As with understanding your target market, the more precise your knowledge of who you are selling to and why they are buying, the more successful your messaging, sales and marketing activities will be. You need to understand about them as individuals (hence the term ‘buyer persona’ and the advice to actually give the persona a name) as well as businesses so demographic information is a start. However demographic information is the same for whatever buying decisions they are making so you also need to identify specific factors that connect them to your product or service – what is their ‘pain’ that you are addressing, what is the trigger that makes them consider you, what criteria influence their decision, what would success look like to them, and what perceived barriers are there to your solution. You also need to understand how your prospects like to get the information about offerings such as yours – and what influences their decision-making.
3. Understand your value proposition
It is not enough for you to describe your product or service – your prospects need to be clearly told what specific value it delivers to them and why it is better than any other way of achieving the same end. This messaging will vary depending on the target market you have selected and the buyer personas you have identified. You have to be able to make clear that you deliver everything that is important to the buyer and is delivered by your competition, but, more importantly, identify the elements of your offering that are important to the prospect, unique to your proposition and provable/defensible – this is your competitive differentiation. In the B2B world, it is very much more likely that a successful Value Proposition will target the removal of a ‘pain’ rather than just the receipt of a ‘gain’.
4. Define the buyer journey
In the old days, companies talked about a ‘sales cycle’ that described the steps a salesperson went through from making contact with a prospect to the sale. The modern B2B world has turned that around and now the buyer is in control – there will be a set of steps a buyer goes through from recognition of a pain or need to be addressed through to purchase and advocacy. Typically they will not involve a selling company directly until they are well along that buying journey so it is essential that your marketing activities enable them to be aware of your propositions before they contact you and find it easy to get you when they need to. This means you have to understand this buyer journey and the buyer’s need for information at each step so that you can target your activities to deliver exactly that.
5. Agree your campaign objectives
The reason for your marketing campaign will dictate where you should focus and spend most of your time and resources. Perhaps your objectives can be summarised as a measure of either “creation of market awareness for your company and your products or services” or “creation of sales leads for your companies products or services”. These objectives are not mutually exclusive, but you must be clear about which is your top priority as that will direct your efforts. Obviously to be true objectives they also need to have real measures of success associated with them so that you know when you have achieved them!
Have you done all five? Then – go ahead, have fun! Why not try Augentia’s Campaign As A Service and increase your chance of a successful outcome?
First published in Go2Markit Consulting Blog