A great way to review your marketing efforts.
In the business-to-business sector, gaging the ROI of your marketing efforts is never easy. Most B2B companies use several points of contact (or marketing tools) that can range from face-to-face networking to a web banner ad. How do you know if the tools you spend time and money on are working well for you? The Marketing Map is a great visual tool. You can do it yourself with paper and a pen.
Begin by identifying what action you want people to take; the step before the ‘sale’. For example, you may offer a free consultation. It’s something that needs to happen in order to make a sale. Place it in a circle at the centre of the page.
Then, space out all the marketing tools you use around the action item. These are all the different things used to represent or market your company, i.e., business cards, networking, brochures, web sites, newsletters, email signatures, tradeshows, speaking gigs, Twitter, CRM systems, ads, web banners, etc. Draw circles around them. Then, pick a potential first contact point (ie face-to-face networking) and draw an arrow to the next thing they’re likely to see (ie: business card). From there they may visit the website, sign up for a newsletter, and so on.
Draw a line connecting all your contact points until it leads to your pre-sale action step. You’ll see there may be several potential routes from one entry point, so perhaps start with the one or two most likely routes.
Consistency is key.
Consistency is in both look and feel, as well as messaging. When you meet someone while networking and then hand them your business card, does the level of quality of the card or the tag line support what you just told them about your company? For example, you say ‘I’m a high-falutin consultant working with senior corporate lawyers to …’ and then give them your card. Is it as professional looking as what you just said and does any text like tagline back up what you just told them? Or is it amateurish, printed poorly, with a confusing message? When they later check out your website, does the website look like the card and further expound upon your introduction and anything on the card?
Look at any step in your marketing map, think where it leads next: what do they see/read when they get there? Even though each piece will have it’s own unique purpose, they should clearly reiterate the same brand messages. What is the experience as people make their way through your map? Note how you can improve on consistency.
All marketing pieces are potentially a first point of contact, so what does one piece lead people to next? For example, a business card would be early in the chain and not likely lead directly to the conversion point. However, provided it includes the url, it would likely lead to the web site. An ad could direct people to a specific page on the web site or to an event. If prospects don’t tend to make a decision right away, is there a way to keep them in your funnel, like a monthly newsletter?
Repeat this for all points of entry and you should be able to draw arrows from one thing to the next throughout the map. Gaps, or a loner, do not work efficiently for you. There are likely small changes that would connect more points of contact. If you find a way to do this, you will have better ROI. A very simple example is adding the URL to the logo on branded gifts.
And does it lead to the pre-sale action step?
Finally, look at all the paths in your marketing map and see if they lead to the action point. Is it clear what to do next for people who’ve never worked with you?
A lot of time and money is spent on marketing efforts. Review them for consistency, the path between items and the final stretch to action. Reviewing your tools this way may reveal small changes that could make all the difference in the world.