The 2 Most Deadly Sins of B2B Marketing

There are two major reasons why marketing is failing at your small- or medium-sized B2B firm:

You view marketing as business triage. Your company applies a collection of tactics (often labeled as a “marketing campaign”) only in response to a problem; typically involving the loss of a key client, or decline in revenue. When business is good, little or no time is invested in marketing. When business (inevitably) takes a dip, only then does marketing becomes a priority.

You expect marketing to deliver immediate results. Either because your company always views marketing on a “cause & effect” tactical basis, or because marketing triage must be applied quickly to revive an ailing company, the marketing function is given insufficient time to produce tangible results. It’s no surprise that marketing professionals have the shortest tenure of any corporate function in the asset management business.

The hard truth is that very few B2B business owners either understand the marketing function, or have the discipline to design, implement, measure and adhere to a consistent marketing approach that builds brand equity and market engagement over a sustained period.

To establish the infrastructure and internal culture necessary for the marketing discipline to succeed, we offer the following simple path:

  • Create a Written Marketing Plan. This need not be in a 3-inch binder; a two-page document is often sufficient. Include goals, strategies, responsibilities, timelines, budgets and ways to measure results. Without a Marketing Plan you’ll waste lots of time and money. And unless it’s a written document, you won’t have commitment or accountability.
  • Gain Senior Level Commitment. The honcho in corner office (which might be you) must understand, endorse and support the Marketing Plan. This involves more than lip service. If your Plan isn’t properly staffed and funded at the outset, there’s no real commitment to marketing.
  • Do a Few Things Very Well.Your marketing success will be based on the quality and effectiveness of a limited number of strategies / tactics. Firms sometimes go overboard, thinking there’s a correlation between the size of its marketing investment and business results. But less is usually more, in terms of marketing ROI.
  • Build and Nurture your Database.Direct and easy access to your company’s clients, prospects, referral sources and opinion leaders is essential. Without an email pipeline, the marketing value of the content you create is close to zero. If your firm’s thought leadership simply sits on its website or social media, you’re missing the opportunity to build relationships with people in your target audiences.
  • Create Meaningful Content. Self-serving, long-winded white papers and research reports have very limited appeal. Generate content that validates your company’s intellectual capital, that’s easy to read, and focuses on timely topics that people have a genuine interest in.
  • Drive Top-of-Mind Awareness. To be included on the short list of candidates for an assignment or sale, you need to build awareness with key decision-makers. To accomplish that goal, share your content directly with target audiences on a quarterly basis. (More frequently than that, and you may be viewed as a pest.)

Most importantly – with apologies to Glengarry Glen Ross – B2B firms must commit to:

A… Always

B… Be

M… Marketing

… for the discipline to be effective. Otherwise, the traditional short-term, hair-on-fire approach to business development will keep your company from ever reaching its full potential, regardless of its quality or reputation.

Effective and Easy Digital Marketing for Franchises: Simple and Powerful Marketing Ideas

A lot of small businesses and especially franchises struggle with marketing. This is especially true when the time comes to decide where and how to invest a limited budget. With the wide variety of marketing tools and techniques out there, it can be tough to be a marketer. One needs to be adept at choosing effective and easy digital marketing for franchises.

Sure, you can go out and research all the different digital marketing ideas for franchises. You can spend a few years trying to implement all the conflicting advice and eventually get results. Alternatively, you can hire a small business marketing consultant to save you years of trial & error.

Whatever option you choose, you still need to understand the commonalities behind any successful marketing strategy. Getting your basics in order will help you choose effective and easy digital marketing for franchises.

The crucial point in marketing is to take some time to research trends in your industry, and discover your customer needs and behaviors. Based on the information you gather you will be able to make a plan and develop a strategy for effective and easy digital marketing for franchises. This way, you can make the most of any budget you dedicate to promoting your business.

You have the opportunity to use numerous digital marketing campaigns for franchises, for a small amount of money. Word of mouth and referral marketing are practically free, but at the same time they are some of the most powerful marketing strategies.

It’s important to remember that whatever you do to spread the word about your business, it has to touch your customers on an emotional level. It’s the secret of effective and easy digital marketing for franchises. Some of the most successful companies in the world have achieved their best results when they’ve used experiential marketing. It’s because they managed to reach deep into people’s emotions.

Give your customers an outstanding brand experience and you’ll make them your ambassadors.

EFFECTIVE AND EASY DIGITAL MARKETING FOR FRANCHISES

1. DEVELOP AN AWESOME WEBSITE

Regardless of the type of business you run, good online presence is a must. The hectic modern lifestyle leads people to search for products and services online and make their purchasing decisions on the go. Moreover, studies show that more than 70% of internet users do their shopping through mobile devices, so you need to make sure that your website is mobile-friendly.

Another crucial point that you need to take into consideration is the optimization of your website. SEO is one of the most powerful tools for a successful online marketing strategy. Taking your place on the first search engine results page will wipe out your competition in no time. It will improve your image and bring the customers to you.

Look at your website as a place where customers can find solutions for their needs. Provide as much helpful information as you can, and do it in a language that your customers will understand. Assure them that you are there to help, not sell.

2. DEMONSTRATE PERSONALITY THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA

Social media can be your greatest asset if you know how to use it. It gives you the opportunity to show some personality regardless of how serious your products or services are. It enables you to get to know your customers and connect with them on an emotional level. With social media, your brand can easily become your customer’s trusted friend.

Memes, comics, and infographics are some of the most powerful social media tools. They are visually appealing, aren’t time-consuming, and allow for people to get the message at a quick glance. Find a way to incorporate them into your brand tone and entertain your customers. People like and share this type of content, so it will drive up good referral traffic.

Real time marketing is another insanely powerful technique to grab your customers’ attention and go viral on social media. Choose an event that can be somehow related to your business and use it for promotion; it’s great local digital marketing for franchises. Just be careful with this and make sure that you won’t insult anyone with your witty marketing move. Otherwise, you may end up with tons of negative publicity.

3. SHOW YOUR EXPERTISE

If you want to convince people that you are a leader in your industry, you need to demonstrate your expertise. The easiest way to do this is to start a blog and share your blog posts through social media. Use catchy headlines and write on trending topics related to your industry to show that you’re in the know.

You can also use an opportunity to be a guest speaker at an event or a class, or host your own event. This will boost both your personal credibility and your company’s credibility. Just remember to direct your online and offline demonstration of expertise to your key audiences. Address their pain points and offer your expert solutions.

4. LISTEN WHAT CUSTOMERS HAVE TO SAY

You can’t develop a real connection with your customers with one-way communication. Use every opportunity to listen to what your customers have to say. Encourage reviews on your website and comments on your social media profiles. This will eliminate the anxiety of the unknown for the prospective customers, and show your current customers that you really care.

Develop a strong customer service. It’s one of the best and the most overlooked ways to ensure spreading a good word about your business. Try to provide customer service through every possible channel – live chat, Skype calls, phone calls, and emails. Ensure your customers that you are there at any time.

5. BE KIND AND GENEROUS

Start a loyalty program and use it to show your kindness. Treat your loyal customers as if they are your closest friends. Send them handwritten thank-you notes, seasonal greetings, birthday cards, and small surprise gifts. These small and kind gestures will make them your loyal and active ambassadors. You’ll have their families and friends as your customers in no time.

Show kindness to people who are not your customers, too. Give them the opportunity to experience your product or service and the chances are they will want to purchase it. You can also produce creative, branded items and use them as giveaways.

Give something back to society and your company will be associated with these good deeds. You will surely feel good while doing it and people will appreciate it. Donate some of your product or services to a non-profit organization sponsoring a charity live auction. You can also sponsor other charity events such as marathons, or sponsor a little league in your neighborhood.

DO YOU HAVE ANY OTHER IDEAS FOR EFFECTIVE AND EASY DIGITAL MARKETING FOR FRANCHISES? TELL US IN THE COMMENTS!

Business-To-Business Direct Marketing Action Now

Among the many forms of marketing, you’ll find a branch that has a specialty all of it’s own. Business to business direct marketing should be designed to sell your products or services to another business, not individuals.

Advertisement that appears in trade publications and journals is one form of direct marketing. Fliers, mailings and catalogs are another. People tend to think that business to business direct marketing is, in it’s core, a technical advertising. They cannot be further away from the truth. Sending office supplies catalog, like the big chains do, to offices and businesses, is a form of a direct marketing technique and is not technical at all. Business advertising is the kind of marketing that looks for a reaction from the reader. The goal is to elicit immediate action.

The strategy is different because the target client is different. Instead of selling to many customers one product at the time, This type of marketing aims at selling many products to one customer. The buyer in the campaign is different because it is part of his job description. He has the company’s money to spend and he needs to make a good impression. This creates a difference in relationship that needs to be cultivated.

Some of the same principals of business to person marketing still apply; focusing on the target clients, compiling an accurate mailing list, creating the advertising and making sure it is a call to action on the part of the recipient. A coding system in the mailer or catalog is very useful in determining what worked where. A test of the campaign should be performed, and so on.

The aim of marketing is to create a community with the customers and maintain it by offering incentives and bonuses. Customer satisfaction is very important. Developing added venues of communication with the customer, building retention and loyalty and enlarging the pool of customers by good word of mouth are essential in any business to business direct marketing campaign.