Marketing problems don't get solved until they are defined. Here's a quick start guide to defining your marketing problem and wrapping your head around the nature of the solution.
10 Marketing Questions to Ask and Answer
1. What is the magnitude of the marketing problem?
Define the problem in terms of its percentage impact on current sales. This can mean the objective for a sales increase or the amount of sales decline to be recovered.
The hidden significance of this question is to understand that the cost of any marketing solution must be proportionate to the magnitude of the problem.
2. What is the time urgency of the problem? When does it need to be fixed?
3. Is the problem primarily a sales, customer, or brand image problem?
4. Does The Problem Require Strategy, Implementation, and/or Tactics?
Strategy: an overall plan with objectives, budgets, and time lines that integrate with overall business objectives, resources, and departments.
Implementation: including detailed time lines and budgets, and monitoring results.
Tactics: specific actions or activities that directly impact results e.g. increased blogging and social media engagement.
5. Is the problem primarily caused by internal or external factors?
Is the problem primarily related to factors inside the company/organization such as process, skills, experience? Or it is primarily related to external factors such as competition and market uncertainty?
6. New or Improved Solution?
Are you fixing something that exists or adding a new capability?
7. Will the solution primarily focus on Inbound vs. Outbound marketing?
Will the solution involve Inbound Marketing (the marketing of attraction and the basis of the new marketing trend), Outbound Marketing (traditional marketing that relies on pushing messages to audiences) or both?
8. Where Is Your Problem In Terms Of The Sales Funnel? Do you require
- More visitors
- More leads
- More sales
9. Will Your Problem Require A Creative Or Analytical Solution?
Will the solution primarily require facts, data, metrics, and analyses? Or is it primarily visual or conceptual, requiring ideas, design and graphics?
10. What Does Your Solution Look Like?
Describe briefly what you believe your solution will look like and what it will include. State strong beliefs about your expectations.
Don't get confused or delayed. These 10 questions can help you immediately focus on your next steps to a marketing solution.
Get a free, no-risk analysis of your marketing problem. Fill out and submit this same checklist online.
20 CONCISE CHAPTERS ON ONLINE MARKETING
As online marketing becomes increasingly important, it becomes increasingly necessary to stay on top of best practices. In "The Ultimate 'How-To' Marketing Guide" you will be treated to 20 key chapters of the best ideas and practices for online marketing.HERE ARE THE TOPICS
1. How to get found online
as a local business
2. How to use your email
3. How to optimize your press release
4. How to ask your boss to reduce traditional marketing
5. How to keep up with the competition
6. How to learn
from companies outside your industry
7. How to measure
8. How to make the most of web ads
9. How to deal with negative comments
10. How to write an ebook
11. How to crowd source videos
12. How to use the web to optimize offline events
13. How to keep up with news and emerging trends
14. How to create an effective buyer persona
15. How to find time to create content
16. How to optimize your Twitter
17. How to choose images
for your website
18. How to qualify leads
for your sales team
19. How to leverage paid media
20. How to kick start your mobile
Here's a sample snippet about landing pages:
Landing Pages Lead to High Conversions
"…after companies spend effort on designing ads, they neglect the importance of the second step-conversions. Many ads direct people to ineffective places like a company's home page. If you click on an ad selling an umbrella, for instance, you don't want to arrive at a generic page that makes you do more work to find the umbrella you want.
"Instead, the landing page should reveal what the ad promised. As a marketer, you need to make it simple for people to take action."MORE IN-DEPTH RESOURCES
Most chapters contain links to additional material and to informative videos. If this isn't enough to capture your attention and feed your knowledge base, even more in-depth content is available via links to these 5 practices that help you uncover, nurture, and close leads:
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
- Email Marketing
- Lead Management
- Lead Generation
- Lead Nurturing
- Marketing Analytics
This ebook was prepared by two of the marketing industry's hottest entities: Hubspot, the provider of the most popular all-in-one marketing software that is backed by such venture capital firms as Google Ventures, Salesforce.com, and Sequoia Capital, and David Meerman Scott, keynote speaker and author of the BusinessWeek bestselling book The New Rules of Marketing & PR
FOUR IMPORTANT FACTS ABOUT INBOUND MARKETING
1. Inbound Marketing is the marketing of attraction-attracting the customers who are looking for the solutions you provide and converting them into satisfied customers.
2. Inbound Marketing has grown from a simple idea 5 years ago to a highly sophisticated, disciplined, and analytical process that measures the return on your marketing investment and points to ways to improve it.
3. Inbound Marketing is rapidly replacing traditional marketing because it works better in today's digital environment of engagement.
4. There is nothing like Inbound Marketing, and if you are not mastering it, your business will be left behind by those who do.WHAT INBOUND MARKETING LOOKS LIKE
HOW TO MASTER INBOUND MARKETING
Inbound Marketing is built around the sales funnel of attracting, converting, closing, and delighting customers. Here is a quick summary of its key points and actions:Attract
- Creating content with a purpose
- Creating effective landing pages
- Perfecting the conversion process
- Sending the right email to the right lead
- Being a Smarketer
- Cultivating happy customers
Of the nine actions above, the one that is most likely new to you is that of smarteting. Smarketing is the process of aligning marketing and sales around a common goal and common understanding of detailed customer identities (personas).TWO WAYS TO LEARN MORE ABOUT INBOUND MARKETING METHODOLOGY
- Download "How To Grow Your Business With Inbound Internet Marketing."
- Learn more about Inbound Marketing with this ultimate glossary of 250 Inbound Marketing terms.
SEE WHAT INBOUND MARKETING CAN DO FOR YOUR BUSINESS. GET A FREE WEBSITE ASSESSMENT TODAY. Just click on the link, below.
Inbound Marketing chart, Smarketing, and marketing concept via Hubspot.
Organize Your Marketing Strategy Around The 4 Cornerstones of Business
Each business has its own unique story. But one thing that all businesses have in common is the need to wrap their hands around the total enterprise: where it is, where it’s going, and how to get there. One effective way to accomplish this is to think of the four cornerstones of a business:1. People2. Management Process3. Assets & Resources4. MoneyPEOPLE
People refers to having the right person in the right place. This cornerstone includes a consideration of leadership development, staff training, and all the skills involved in interviewing and evaluation.
Marketing strategy must be led by strategic thinkers as well as excellent tacticians.MANAGEMENT PROCESS
Management Process refers to effective decision-making and taking action. Included in this cornerstone are business strategy and creating a motivating environment.
Marketing strategy must be incorporated into the entire management process, not be included as an after thought.ASSETS & RESOURCES
Assets & Resources, beyond plant and equipment, includes such intangibles as corporate competencies, brand image, content, relationships, and databases.
Marketing strategy must recognize these intangible assets.MONEY
Money refers to how it is allocated and the return calculated in such areas as media, presentation materials, web development, content generation, as well as salaries.
Marketing strategy must be adequately funded. Begin by determining the appropriate percentage of total spending that should be budgeted on a long-term basis, then ensure that the total spending amount is reasonable given the marketing objectives.Though simple, this 4 cornerstone approach provides a user-friendly framework to managing a business-based marketing strategy.STRATEGY, PROBLEM SOLVING & EXECUTION
Effective marketing solves problems and there is a proven process for this: Discover the Problem-Define the Strategy-Execute the Plan. Click here
to go directly to an article that discusses how Strategy fits in with problem-discovery and plan execution.NEED LEADS?
Need more immediate help building leads? Request a free, no-obligation website assessment, below.
AVOID THESE 7 CRITICAL MISTAKES
Are you the owner of an e-commerce site and now realize that your e-commerce solution is not an effective inbound marketing solution, that is to say, your site is not attracting enough traffic and leads? Or, are you just getting into e-commerce and looking for marketing solutions so that your ability to attract traffic is as effective as processing orders?MAKE A BETTER BUSINESS DECISION BY AVOIDING THESE 7 CRITICAL MISTAKES1. Using too many piecemeal features rather than integrated solutions.
The more piecemeal features you use (e-commerce, email, lead tracking, CRM, blogging, analytics, etc.) the less likely that each feature will talk to the others (i.e. be usable), the more time and complexity you introduce, and the final total price may be more than integrated solutions that initially appear to be expensive.
An ideal solution would have the best inbound marketing and e-commerce software seamlessly integrated. This ideal solution doesn't exist, unfortunately, so it will be up to you to select and integrate what best works for you. This doesn't mean that there is no software without both e-commerce and inbound marketing. It exists, but the quality of inbound features is limited and may not be adequate for your current or future needs. Start by understanding the power of inbound marketing
I recommend that you first educate yourself on inbound marketing
. The best integrated inbound marketing software that I know of (and personally use) is Hubspot, and I use Hubspot as my gold standard. Hubspot identifies these 9 core inbound marketing areas:
- Calls to Action
- Closed Loop Analytics
- Landing Pages
- Lead Management
- Marketing Automation
- Search Engine Optimization
- Social Media
Learn more here
about what is involved in each core area so that you can make a wise decision on what you must have.
Unfortunately, Hubspot does not have its own e-commerce solution, but does integrate with e-commerce services such as NetSuite. My experience is that this integration may be costly and difficult. One solution that I have found to be cost-effective is to use Hubspot on a subdomain of your e-commerce site.
Remember to consider integration with tools like Salesforce and the capability to seamlessly integrate with Social Media, particularly Facebook for e-commerce.
New apps and capabilities will arrive with increasing frequency. Ensure that the solution you select is on top of industry developments (even better is to have them lead the industry) and is committed to integrating them so that you won't need a new stand-alone solution.The bottom-line message here is to first determine your inbound marketing needs (present and future) and then to select the solution(s) that is most completely integrated with your e-commerce software.2. Undervaluing Vendor Support
Of the many areas of support, the three key ones that have made a difference to me and my clients are:Problem Solving:
Problem solving goes beyond simple solutions and includes the ability to help articulate the problem, understand it in the context of what I am intending to accomplish, and to offer a range of advice that goes beyond the issue being discussed. Obviously, you don't want to hear the person on the phone clicking his/her keyboard in search of the answer database. Professionalism:
Professionalism includes someone who is articulate, patient, not condescending, and who will stay on the phone with you as long as you have a problem to solve or a question to ask.Depth of experience:
The best support I receive is when I speak to someone who has hands-on experience with Internet marketing and is deeply involved in social media and technical issues. This gives added value to the support session.3. No Free Trial or A Short Trail Without Adequate Support
A trial of the software is critical and the best trial is free, is at least 2 weeks and ideally 4 weeks long, does not require a credit card on file (beware a "no charge" initial trial that automatically starts to bill you after a specific time), and includes a knowledgeable rep who will walk you through features and benefits.4. No Custom Design/Apps/or Qualified Vendors
At some point, and this may come at the very beginning, you will want features that are not included in the available free templates or available but incrementally priced templates. Look for professional designers and coders on staff and certified vendors for the solution you are considering. Experience with your e-commerce or inbound marketing software will greatly reduce time, cost, and angst to your solution.5. Underestimating The Need For Technical Expertise
Much of the software you will be considering will not require technical expertise, for example with html. This is a feature claimed my many software providers and offers real opportunities to save. But while this is true, having technical expertise is definitely a plus. One way to bridge this is to have vendor support that can provide you with both instructions for personal use and also the ability to do some html tweaks themselves on your behalf. In this regard, the ability for provide support by viewing your computer screen is a definite plus.
For example, online word editors might produce results that just don't look right, and no amount of editing yourself can fix the problem. Having someone who can look at your html and apply fixes is an advantage. Some of the most comforting conversations I have had with my solution providers (both inbound and e-commerce) were then they say that they'll fix my technical problem themselves while I watch online and wait on the phone. 6. Ignoring The Benefit of Continuing Learning
I personally want to grow in my marketing knowledge and capabilities and keep pace with the increasing amount of content and best practices being introduced. So it is a special advantage to work with a company that will supply me with continuing education and instill a sense of confidence that they are at the leading edge of thought leadership. For example, within one day of Facebook's most recent News Feed change I received a whitepaper from my inbound marketing company on what the changes mean and how to use them to my benefit.
Marketing solutions are evolving and new vendors are appearing almost daily. Ramping up to your new e-commerce/inbound marketing capability should be considered only the first step in a continual learning process. I know one company that embraced inbound marketing with blogging, but stopped far short of other activities that could contribute to lead generation and sales.7. Underestimating Your Time Commitment To Do Things Well
As a business owner you are well aware that projects can take more time than estimated. This is certainly true with integrating inbound marketing with e-commerce. A lesser known time bandit is underestimating the time it takes to do an established task well. For example, creating a whitepaper that can be used in your sales funnel will take a certain amount of hours. But to be truly useful, you will also want to create blog articles on it, calls-to-actions, custom landing pages, email thank you's, and workflows. So look for the vendor that can not only guide you in all the steps, but make them efficient.
At the same time, be prepared for time-consuming change. Just when you are comfortable with you solution you will learn of a competing service that may offer a better solution or a beta test of the next generation of software you are currently using. Expect this to happen. A Final Word
When considering e-commerce and marketing software, it's easy to take your eye off business fundamentals like marketing strategy, how you blend traditional marketing with inbound marketing, and new product development. To help, we provide management services not only to guide you in making the best decision about marketing software, but with also with core marketing processes. Click on...
I've based this article on my extensive experience with Hubspot, Shopify, and NetSuite and a look at iPage and Volution. If you would like to have a short conversation on whether any of these services are right for you, please connect with me here.Inbound marketing chart courtesy of Hubspot.
You think you are prepared for your sales call.
- Prospect lead data studied: check.
- PowerPoint polished: check.
- Prospect and company Googled: check.
- Consultative selling points rehearsed: check.
- Clothes pressed and shoes shined: check.
But you arrive and discover that your prospect doubts your credibility, questions your expertise, and doesn't connect with you. What happened?
It might be your LinkedIn Profile, of lack of it.
LinkedIn has grown to 200,000,000 members and these members are searching your profile before you call on them. They want to learn about your:
They want to know:
- what you do
- who recommends you and for what
And they want to see video, presentations, and other proof. In other words, you are being vetted before you even speak a word.
CASE STUDY FROM IBM: LINKEDIN AND THE ROI OF SOCIAL SELLING
In Your Social Profile Must Be Amazing, Jennifer Dubow, Global Social Business Transformation Leader at IBM, writes "By using LinkedIn, in particular, in combination with IBM Social Business tools our reps were able to generate more leads and close more opportunities compared to reps who did not."
Arm yourself with an All-Star LinkedIn Profile and put yourself ahead of competition. Start by downloading this one page LinkedIn Profile checklist and see how complete your profile is.
Click to download your LinkedIn Profile Checklist.
If my marketing efforts don't result in a sale, they've failed. I am, therefore, very attuned to selling. A recent article by Claire Axelrad (an expert in philanthropy) gave me new insights into selling that I'd like to share with you.
In To Sell is Human; To Give, Divine - Why We're All in Fundraising Now Claire describes her experience from a talk by Daniel Pink, author of To Sell Is Human. She discovered this connection between selling (for profit) and fundraising (nonprofit) that has important implications for sales and marketing alike:
"(Both) truly are similar processes. Yet it turns out, if done right, neither is about the business of pushing useless, unwanted stuff on others. Those who will be most successful will understand that their real business is serving their customers’ needs. Effective selling — fundamentally human selling — understands the need to provide something of authentic value. If we’re not providing something of value then we’re going to go out of business."
Selling success, then, can be thought of as a humanizing process: replacing the mechanical, transaction process with the process of providing authentic value.
Her article also contains several key insights into how the selling process has evolved. Don't let the subject of fundraising distract you from these insights that can benefit any professional organization that sells, and that's everyone:
- It's now a buyer's market
- Attunement, Buoyancy and Clarity (ABC) replaces Always Be Closing
- Everyone is in sales
Enjoy this article, especially because it comes from such an unexpected source.
One More Time
I'm having more and more conversations with friends who have retired after a successful career, only to feel the passion to get back to work. They want to have a work-directed purpose, enjoy a goal-focused connection with others, and wish to taste success one more time.
My friends are not marketing pros and they are not digital natives. Those who want to start a new business or buy into an existing one are looking for a solution to help them manage marketing, including Internet marketing. They feel that today's marketing has passed them by and they express frustration that technical wizardry and social media remove them from being effective marketers. In a word they are fearful that they cannot be competitive. Yet, when I sit with them and describe how they can be effective their fears vanish.
If you are like my friends, then this article is for you. It's a starting place where you can meet your marketing fears, uncertainties, and questions head-on and gain the confidence you need to market your new business successfully.
Meeting Your Marketing Fears, Uncertainties, and Questions Head-On
Some elements of marketing have changed dramatically over the past 10 years, driven primarily by the Internet. The past several years have experienced more rapid change, and the pace of change will continue to defy gravity.
What are these changes? They are largely about technology, new marketing tools (primarily in digital form), a new culture of sharing information (including social media), and terminology. Relationships have also changed, especially the buyer/seller relationship. As more information becomes available online, the seller's influence (some would say) has eroded.
So, yes, there are things to learn and more options to consider, but the fundamentals of marketing haven't changed. Grasp these fundamentals first and some insider tips, and many fears, uncertainties, and questions will vanish. Start here.
1. Disregard Old Assumptions About Marketing
What you assume you know may hurt you.
Do you assume that marketing is mostly a creative process of design and graphics, logos, website redesign, brochures and email? It certainly includes these functions, but it is so much more. Marketing today, as it always has been, is about helping consumers solve problems (content is now king); it is about metrics that help you test and refine messages, nurture leads throughout the sales cycle, and optimize the return on your marketing investment. And it includes refining your selling message, delivering excellent service, and harnessing all departments to work together (a.k.a. leadership).
You know more about marketing than you realize.
If you can build a product or service that needs a relevant consumer need, help customers learn how your product or service helps them solve a problem, use your analytical skills to track and measure marketing activities, and organize all business functions to work together, then you've solved your core marketing requirements. Much of the rest is implementation that you can manage using skills you've mastered over the years. There is an enormous range of resources that you can tap to get marketing activities done: the hard part is making rational, intelligent decisions, and you've already proven you can do that.
2. Learn the strategic fundamentals of marketing
Marketing takes its direction from the business plan and gives direction to all marketing activity. This sounds simple enough but what often happens is that lesser activities drive the marketing plan.
For example, as important as social media is, it is not a strategy; it is not the sum total of marketing. Further, a business forecast is not a marketing plan.
Take the time to identify all the critical elements of your marketing plan and determine how each will contribute to the business objectives. (N.B. I strongly recommend that you have at least 3 business objectives: sales, customers, and brand image.) See The Soul of Marketing Strategy: 5 Core Parts.
3. Embrace inbound Marketing
The fundamental change in marketing over the past 5 years is the emergence of Inbound Marketing. Inbound marketing is the activity of attracting customers to your offering, of making it easy to be found online, and nurturing prospects into sales. Inbound marketing contrasts with Outbound Marketing, the traditional form of marketing typified by TV and direct mail. Outbound marketing is interruptive and often not welcome, and its effectiveness as a marketing tool is being replaced by Inbound.
Your business will be a unique balance of Inbound and Outbound marketing. Neither should be excluded. If you are not acquainted with Inbound marketing a good place to start is with How To Build Your Business With Internet Marketing and with Hubspot, which coined the phrase.
One very important difference to note between Outbound and Inbound marketing is that outbound expenditures are largely costs that have no longevity. Inbound expenditures, such as those that build a library of relevant content, are more like investments that are continually paying off.
4. Apply prior experience in new ways
Your prior experience can be tapped in new ways to manage today's marketing. For example, in building a marketing budget, think in terms of asset allocation, somethings you've done for years. For example, how much should you invest in social media? To get a new light on this read "Unsure How To Manage Social Media? Try Budget Allocation."
5. Learn how to reduce risk
The biggest risks in marketing, in my opinion, are those of misinformation or the lack of knowledge. Here are several that occur most often:
6. Think creative!
- Not knowing your target audience
- Not measuring performance throughout the sales cycle
- Not testing alternatives continually
- Not building, maintaining and cleansing your database
- Not having a marketing plan
- Trying to accomplish too much too quickly
- Over-funding minor activities and under-funding the major ones
The word "creative" is mostly associated with graphics and design, but it holds enormous potential is all areas of marketing. I believe that the best creative work occurs when guidelines and objectives are detailed, rather than left up to the "creative" person.
So, how would you think creatively about marketing planning, for example? Marketing planning may be viewed as a drudgery, but it can also be creative. For first time marketers, one comfortable way to engage in marketing planning is to think in terms of writing the corporate story: a short story of where you want your new venture to be in several years. From the story you can extract key marketing elements and let them serve as the outline for your marketing strategy. For details, please read "Why You Should Write Your Corporate Short Story.
The key takeaway here is to open yourself to new methods of marketing effectiveness.7. Look for a marketing edge
How might you do marketing differently from your competitors? You have the same tools, read the same marketing materials, and have access to the same search results online.
By identifying and following marketing "influencers" and online groups you can be alert to new ideas and, combined with your sense of opportunity, uncover ideas that can lead to an edge. Tapping into the buying brain
For example, I combine my interest in marketing with psychology. There's a relatively new and largely unknown field of marketing called neuromarketing which uses neuroscience discoveries to develop new marketing techniques. The principles developed by a certain neuromarketing company have application across all areas of persuasion (including marketing, sales, and communication). By embracing an idea such as neuromarketing, you have the opportunity to create a powerful marketing edge. To see an example of this marketing edge, read "What Marketing Can Learn From Neuromarketing
."8. Learn the new ways to reduce cost
There are many opportunities to preserve quality while reducing costs, and this goes beyond negotiating lower costs which you would naturally do.
Quality marketing services are available at very reasonable costs, but you need to know where they are and what their limitations are. For example, I helped a client create a new custom logo by using an online freelance site called 99designs. For the price of $299, my client received over 30 concept ideas, selected a designer to work with, and didn't pay until he was totally satisfied. Be aware, however, that I helped write the creative design strategy, identified the do's and don'ts of logo selection, and provided objective advice how to tweak the final design so that it blended perfectively with a new website. (See the logo design here
.) Search for knowledge
Online search is an incredibly powerful source of knowledge, and can help you quickly come up to speed on marketing issues. Use search (and this means more than Google search; identify your key issues and search groups, conversations and blogs) to provide the overview, fundamentals, and detail you need to make informed decisions.
The key takeaway is that cost saving options for creative work (as well as research, content development, and many other marketing related services) are available but you are well advised to understand how best to use them in order to generate the best price/quality proposition for your business.9. There's Strength Even In A Marketing Department of 1
Unless you have the resources to staff a marketing department you will probably be dealing with one marketing resource, and that resource may be you or an individual who is shared with other departments. But that's OK. Read How To Build An Effective 1-Person Marketing Department
on how to make the most of limited marketing resources.10. Your first (or second) marketing hire.
If you are just looking for your first or second marketing hire, learn from some of the savviest online businesses. Certainly you'll want someone with digital skills and comfort with everything social. But think broadly, such as someone with good journalism skills (because content development will be critical to your success) and who can handle a range of marketing activities. In baseball this is called a utility player, someone with excellent athletic skills who can fill in at multiple positions. In other words, digital skills alone will not be sufficient, but the ability to learn how to adapt these skills to multiple functions will be highly valuable.NEXT STEPS
Consult a marketing specialist with a complimentary phone conversation. We'll spend about 15 minutes and get your thinking on-track with marketing your new business idea. Apply with the link, below.
Photo credit: Flickr manasheller
If you want to challenge Marketing to make the greatest contribution to the success of your company, ask these 10 questions. They bracket the full range of involvement from a top shelf marketing operation. If any go beyond existing capabilities, ask someone else, but ask someone. Don't use the Ouija board.
These questions are arranged by potential benefit to the bottom line, ranging from the highest level (Level 10 - most powerful contributor to the bottom line) to the most focused tactical level (Level 1 - least powerful contributor by itself, but powerful when combined with many others). All are important and none should be ignored.
10. The Big Picture
"What is occurring in the economic environment affecting our business that we should know about and address in our business strategy? Are we sensitive to the marketplace and properly tracking it? Do we need big picture research?"
"What are the dynamics in our industry: what is new, what has changed? Are we operating under old assumptions and data? Are we staying fresh and relevant?" Read The End of Solution Sales-What You Need to Know.
"What have our competitors done that is affecting our share of market? Are we tracking them using the full resources of the Internet? Who is sneaking up on us that we should take more seriously?
7. Marketing Strategic Planning
"Do we have a true marketing plan that is driven by the business plan, incorporates strategies for all the relevant marketing functions, and is specific about what tactics to use and why; or, are we driven by a glorified financial forecast that doesn't adequately address the potential of marketing strategic planning?"
6. Sales Integration
"Is marketing fully integrated with sales (and other departments like operations) so that marketing resources maximize return on investment across the company rather that just within marketing? How well does marketing listen internally?" Read Why Marketing And Sales Need to Master Neuromarketing.
5. Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing
"Do we recognize the difference between Inbound (pull, attraction-base) Marketing and Outbound (push, interruption-based) Marketing? How do we allocate resources to ensure an optimal mix?" Read A Simple Guide to the Complexities of Internet Marketing.
"Are we taking advantage of the analytical capabilities of Internet marketing? What models (e.g. sales funnel) are we using/should be using, and do we adequately monitor and report the data that can help us improve ROI?"
"Are we testing our way to success? What are we testing and what should we test so that we are constantly improving and have proven contingencies against unexpected problems?"
2. Focus on Results
"Are we focused on results or just activity? For example, are we engaged in Social Media for the sake of Social Media or to produce concrete results? How do we monetize Social Media?"
"How do we decide what to do, to expend our time on? Of all the things we could do, how do we determine which ones deserve our attention, and are we doing them well?"
There may be more than 10 questions and they may deserve a different ordering based on optimizing corporate performance from marketing. But these 10 questions can serve as an excellent discipline for organizing how your marketing department produces results.
Photo Credit: pantherkut
5 Critical Steps To Assess Internet Marketing Strategy
In a conversation about Internet Marketing with a friend who is a graphic designer and agency owner, the topic invariably focused on his B2B client companies that were doing well with mostly traditional marketing and very little Internet marketing. After a few minutes it struck me that his clients weren't going to take Internet marketing seriously until they had a major mindshift in what they believed. What could cause this mindshift?
It wouldn't be a slick presentation talking about the latest shiny new objects, website redesign, or social media. It would have to be factual, objective, and focused on the core needs of every business: build sales, customers and brand image, and how to beat the hell out of the competition.
So I prepared this outline for what I believe it would take for an established, successful B2B organization, without experienced digital natives on its key management team, to give Internet marketing a serious look. 5 Critical Steps 1.
The FACTS (note my emphasis) about Internet marketing and how business will be driven in the future by the forces these facts represent.This step includes a model of how to generate, monitor, and report on the results of Internet marketing, including analyses and metrics.2. Analysis of the client's website and online activities and their current ability (or lack of) to generate results in the three core performance areas:
3. Analysis of key competitor websites and online activities, including case studies, and the potential competitive risk to the client. 4.
- Brand Image
An Internet Marketing plan that addresses the client's Internet status and the opportunities to improve sales, customers, and brand image.5.
Optional but recommended: A plan to integrate an Internet Marketing plan with the existing traditional marketing program, including integration with sales.
Each step above can be expanded to include scores-perhaps a hundred-of sub points. (Download the whitepaper "How to grow your business with Internet Marketing."
) That's a matter of how deep the client wants to probe. But as a framework for at least creating some shift in thinking about the possibilities of Internet marketing, I believe it's sufficient and practical. What do you think? Please let me know in the comment section, below.
Photo credit: justcoachit