Top 10 Guide: Marketing your Start-Up and SME
Immerse yourself with international brand man and entrepreneur, Graham Dodridge who shares his insight and experience.Download Now
Let’s start at the beginning.
What’s your proposition? Why will customers want to buy your product? The greatest marketing strategies are grounded in customer insight and understanding the market. Depending on your product or service this can vary in scale from quantitative market research through to focus groups or workshops.
How will you connect with your audience? How do you know your campaign is going to resonate with them? Do you even (really) know who your audience is? “It’s the IT Director” “It’s a C-Level campaign. We do everything at C-Level”. The truth is there are likely to be multiple influencers involved in any buying decision all with different emotional drivers. In the modern era of digital marketing techniques you have the opportunity to connect with them all 121 and your brand will mean something different to each of them. It’s important to recognise who these influencers are and play to their individual needs. Of course, budget doesn’t always allow you to target everyone involved in the decision making process, but through research and gaining customer insight you will be able to refine your targeting and messaging to the most important members of your audience and the most relevant sectors. Focus your budget and time on where you’re likely to gain the greatest return.
Budget and targets.
It’s important to consider the budget and target setting alongside one another. You’ve got your target list of accounts and you’ve got the insight you need. How many leads do you expect to generate and what are the likely conversion ratios likely to be based on previous activity? By considering and working back from the revenue your campaign needs to generate and therefore the number of leads, you can get a feel for the sort of budget you should put behind the activity to achieve great ROMI.
Data. Don’t forget the data! You’ve done the insight piece. You have a robust messaging framework in place and know how many leads to generate but without good quality data, your efforts will be wasted. Do you have complete coverage of your target sectors? Have you completed a GAP analysis to make sure you have the right job roles and functions? You can easily buy in data lists but if it’s a highly targeted campaign with a limited number of target organisations, then why not build it from scratch as this is the best way to make sure your data is as up to date as it can possibly be.
The ‘BIG Creative Idea’
It’s BIG. It’s creative. And, it’s going to make you famous… but only for a short time if it doesn’t deliver results.
This is the fun part, bringing your proposition to life around a central galvanising idea and creating the belief behind your product or service. A comprehensive agency briefing is key and it’s worth making time to invest in getting this right. Or, better still involve your agency early on in planning to help them really get under the skin of your proposition and target audience. Believe me, it will pay dividends further down the line.
The comms plan.
There has never been a more exciting time for the marketing industry. We can be more targeted and make our campaigns more relevant than ever before. As part of researching your audience, you should have been able to gain some really valuable insight on how your target audience consume information. It will be different for all of them, depending on their role and level within an organisation. It’s no longer a linear process as the AIDA funnel might suggest but it is vital that you consider the type and mix of valuable content that will help to accelerate your prospects through the sales funnel, and at each stage remembering to clearly sell the next step.
Marketing automation allows campaigns to be more targeted, relevant and timely than ever before. But, remember it isn’t a silver bullet and will only be as good as the insight and planning behind it.
Your key stakeholders.
It’s important to make sure your key stakeholders are onboard with the campaign. You would have most likely involved the sales team in your initial insight gathering phase and it’s important they’re behind the campaign and have the right tools to close deals. Remember, ROMI is delivered through actual business won, not just on the number of marketing qualified leads generated!
And finally (or not).
It’s easy to breathe a huge sigh of relief once the campaign is underway and the first elements have been deployed. The tendency can be to move on to the next thing. But it is important to take the time to review the results, the conversations being had between sales and your customers. Use this valuable ‘live’ insight to further refine your approach and get every penny of your marketing budget working as hard as it possibly can.
Business Director, Silver Agency