Many B2B companies don’t do much ongoing marketing, beyond the start-up package, making individual pieces often done separately. We often have clients approach us initially for a branding package or website, then a year later they decide to participate in a tradeshow and call us for a booth and something to hand out.
For some items done separately means time and different suppliers. The risk may very well be marketing tools that are inconsistent and/or function in isolation from each other. What’s the danger of this? Ineffective marketing that isn’t worth the money invested in it, that may also devalue all other existing pieces.
The first challenge: seeing each as part of a whole
Understanding that all your marketing tools (every point of contact) work together to pull your prospects deeper into your sales funnel and ultimately lead them to a sale, is half the battle. It takes multiple points of contact to make a sale. They include human contact, business cards, referrals, advertising, email campaigns, your LinkedIn profile, etc., etc. Many people rely on the website to make the sale, to entice that call to book an appointment, but how do they get there in the first place? What other pieces of your marketing have they come in contact with on the way? When B2Bs examine their Google Analytics, they’ll see the most traffic is direct or searches for their name, as opposed to a random Google search for your services. This means they must have heard about you another way.
Think of your points of contact as a path
As a prospect works their way through all your points of contact, think of it as a path. All main points are connected, any major changes need to be sign-posted and it should lead to a destination.
Think of their experience when going from one point to the next on this path. The first thing they saw or heard will establish an expectation, a relation to your brand. When they move on to the next thing, is it consistent? Does it carry on the same colours and design elements, the same message? Breaks in consistency can range from merely less effective results to confusing enough to halt prospects in their tracks.
Are they compelled to move forward on to the next thing? Do they have more than one option? For example, they go to your website but aren’t ready to buy, can they sign up for a newsletter?
Are you wasting money on marketing?
There are two sides to this – you could literally waste money on an ineffective campaign, or just not get as good an ROI as you would like. If you consider each item as part of a whole when doing all at once, but especially if there have been time lapses, you can make small adjustments or enhancements that make not only that piece work better and increase it’s ROI, but also the thing it connects to, and what that connects to as well. Swag (like pens and mugs with your logo) are much more useful with a URL on it. If you do some sort of promotion to drive people to your website, do they see something related to that promotion when they get there?
Top five ways to ensure your tools are working optimally:
- Draw them up as a map with your goal (i.e. call for meeting) at the centre so you can visualize going from one to the next through the prospects’ eyes.
- Establish basic strategy, like target audience and what you stand for up front, it will really help guide you when adding pieces down the road.
- Every time you add a piece check that it’s consistent brand-wise with other marketing tools. Think design – colours, fonts and basic grid layout. Also think messaging, the way you talk about the company and it’s value proposition.
- Ask yourself what you want prospects to do once they’ve seen the piece (i.e. call you, go to website, Tweet about you). Does it encourage them to do it? Can you make it more purposely drive prospects to the next part, or more parts of your funnel?
- One of the best ways to maintain a strong map is to have all pieces worked on by the same person or group. That means, find a marketing company to help that understands your business and goals, who you work well with and can do it all so you aren’t bouncing from supplier to supplier, or doing it yourself.