Marketing Management Archives - Klaxon

Why I Need to Know your Marketing Budget

My good friend Ann Hawkins shared a blog post recently titled ‘Why I need to Know Your Marketing Budget.’

It’s a good read from the man behind creative agency Mule Design and the well known talk from the Creative Mornings event series: ‘F*ck you. Pay Me.’

I want to build on Mike’s post from a marketing services agency perspective. Primarily to help our prospective clients understand why I always ask about their budgets.

It’s a fundamental part of the early engagement I have with every prospective client. I will always ask ‘what’s your marketing budget?’ This often get’s a negative reaction, but it really shouldn’t.

Here are the three main reasons why I ask this question – and no, it’s not because we want to get as much money out of you as possible:

1. It will help both of us to understand if you have a viable project or campaign.

If you only have £1,500 to spend on an e-commerce site, you don’t have enough money to have a custom site designed and built.

Same principle for event marketing; £50k will not buy you a good launch event in London for 300 people.

If I can establish this at the outset, it can save an awful lot of time.

2. If I know how much you want to spend, I can define the most appropriate set of tactics, or help you to decide if your strategy is even viable in the first place.

This builds on the first point. If you share your budget, it’s a lot easier for us to start giving you some consultancy.

If you have a £5k budget but want to build brand awareness (as was a recent brief that came our way) then think again. You will never be able to build brand awareness for £5k, no matter how clever your creative and smooth the execution.

Maybe you can spend your budget more effectively in other directions that will add value to your business.

3. It will help both of us to understand if we should or could work together.

Early discussions with a prospective client are as much about finding out if we can deliver what you need and want to work with you, as it is for you to assess if we are the right agency for you.

We are unlikely to have the right skills for every client, or every project that comes our way. Just like our approach and agency model is unlikely to suit every marketer and their needs and wants.

If you don’t know your budget it means you have not sufficiently planned out your campaign, or you do not have the authority to spend. In both cases you are not ready to appoint an agency.

Not only that, but if you don’t trust me with your budget, how will this relationship play out when we are working together? The success of any client agency relationship relies on exactly that, a relationship. Treat with appropriate care and you will have a long lasting and valuable relationship with us, or any agency.

I could go on, but these the top three that occur to me as I type this up on my morning commute. Of course there will always be situations when you don’t know the budget. It’s sometimes unavoidable and we are happy to help you work this out.

But this will not be in the form of a fully costed proposal, unless you want to pay for this consultancy.

I do hope you understand. 

Good Old AIDA 

When you need a simple model to explain a marketing plan, you really can’t go far wrong with good old AIDA.

Granny Ada

I know it is oft’ derided for presenting an overly simplistic view of the purchasing journey – particularly in the face of the much more complex buying cycles we all now experience – but it’s actually a good, clear model to explain a marketing plan.

Let me explain…

A is for Awareness

You have to make your intended target audience aware of your products and services in the first instance. Without an introductory knowledge of who, what, where, when etc, your target audience is not even in the buying cycle.

How do you raise awareness?

Advertising, press relations, online influencer relations, SEO, solus email campaigns, events, guerrilla campaigns, social media… the list goes on.

A good old-fashioned integrated marketing plan is what you need and of course this is where you start to build a database of prospective customers too.

I is for Interest

Once you have developed awareness of your products and services with your target audience, you need to think about generating an interest. This is the stage where people begin to demonstrate early buying signals.

For example visiting your website and responding to a call to action, calling your contact centre, or contacting a channel partner.

If you focus on digital you might run a search marketing campaign (SEO and PPC) to drive web traffic where they can view a host of targeted marketing assets.

Using a visitor tracking platform will provide you with some insight as to who is viewing your site and specifically who from your original target database is engaging. You could use a retargeting paid search campaign with Google or Twitter ads to keep that level of awareness up and develop interest.

It’s at this stage you need to begin managing your sales pipeline too. For most b2b marketers this means a CRM system, something like Pipeliner or Nimble.

D is for Desire

After you have established a level of interest in your product or service, you need to begin increasing the customers’ desire to make a purchase decision. To put it another way, move them further along the buying journey and closer to the point of sale.

Depending of what your product and service is you could employ a range of different tactics. Typically for a complex b2b market this might include customer testimonials and references, events, webinars, public relations and so on.

By focussing on online tactics you could continue to track your audience across campaign specific digital outposts, or indeed all of your owned online channels.  Continue to collect data on their behaviour and look out for key buying signals such as downloading digital assets, watching video content, visiting pricing information etc.

The key here is to use a platform that allows you to track behaviour data at an individual contact level, something like marketo, or hubspot perhaps.

A is for Action

This of course is the final step. Where your marketing objectives are focussed on convincing the target audience to make the final leap – to make a purchase decision. At this point your communications might step up a gear into sales promotions, product bundles, channel specific promotions and so on.

It is at this point that the marketing team should align closely with sales. You should be handing over marketing qualified leads to sales for them to close. This might of course be traffic into the appropriate point online to make a purchase too, depending on the nature of your product.

Of course this is a fairly simple look at marketing communications using the AIDA model, but that’s the point. If you are trying to sell a marketing plan to non-marketers, using this simple framework can help you to spell out the objectives of each of your campaign elements and how they relate to the buying journey.

You could get a lot more granular in defining that journey if you wish, but to get to grips with the fundamentals, AIDA remains a useful model for b2b marketers.

How to Measure the Success of your Marketing

b2b marketing metricsI spoke at a conference recently about the skills b2b marketing professionals need in order to be effective in 2014.

The number one skill I included was marketing measurement; the ability for marketers to effectively measure the success of their marketing. But how do you do that? What are the measures that will enable us marketers to justify our position at the board room table?

(By the way, you can flick through my slides from the conference here.)

In my mind there are two categories of measures that marketers need to care about: 

1. Input measures

2. Output measures

The input measures are what you as the marketer care about in your day to day job. They tell a story about how well you are progressing in the delivery of a campaign. They are the individual measures you can use to assess whether or not to take corrective action and that will ultimately give you a steer as to whether your campaign will meet its objective.

Here are some examples:

> unique visitors

> page views

> number of subscribers

> event attendees

> open and click rates

> number of leads generated

> goal completions

> opt-ins / opt-outs

The output measures tell the story of what has happened as a result of your marketing. They indicate whether it was successful or not.

I’ll give you some examples:

> Value of sales pipeline generated

> Value of actual sales generated

> Cost savings through improved customer service

You will see immediately the difference. Output measures are quantified in pounds and pence, whereas input measures are just numbers, or statistics.

Of course every marketing campaign has a combination of both input and output measures, but the ones you have to master are those that relate to pounds and pence. Or putting in another way, bottom line.

Those measures determine the difference between a marketer getting a promotion or dusting off their CV.

Measurement in marketing is not optional. 

Slides from B2B Marketing’s The Evidence

Last week I presented at B2B Marketing magazine’s conference The Evidence.

I was asked to talk about the skills b2b marketers needed to be effective in 2014 and beyond, so we created the effective marketer kit. A bit like a model airplane kit from Airfix, but for this time for building a marketer.

Anyway you can see below our slides with annotations so you can follow the narrative. Let me know in the comments below if you have any feedback.

What Skills do B2B Marketers Need to be Effective in 2014?

Customer Insight

The world of B2B marketing is in a constant state of flux.

Hardly an earth-shattering statement, but one you would be hard pressed to disagree with. Advances in technology and innovative new business models mean B2B marketers today work in a more complex and dynamic environment than our predecessors. How you perform today is as much to do with keeping up-to-date with the zeitgeist, as it is rolling out a tried and tested marketing plan. If ever there was a need to write a personal development plan, it’s now.

What does this mean for the sills required by Joe B2B Marketer to be effective in 2014 and beyond?

1. You must understand how to measure ROMI

Marketers at all levels must get to grips with measuring return on investment. Open rates, click through rates, event attendance and reach are no longer good enough. What’s the impact on sales pipeline and how do we as marketers positively impact these numbers?

The good news is technology makes this easier to achieve, but also this means marketers need to get closer to sales. Make 2014 the year you learn how to be friends with the sales director.

2. You have to get to grips with digital marketing

The effect of new technologies on marketing has been transformational. Changing not just what we do, but how we do it.  2013 was without a doubt the year digital grew up and social media began to show real value.

But do you know your social channels and how to work with them properly? Do you understand how to integrate digital marketing into everything you do? B2B marketers need to get smarter at using social media yes, but also marketing automation, website analytics, conversion tracking, mobile apps and so on.

As a marketer in 2014 it’s time to truly get digital.

3. You must know your data protection laws

More technology invariably means more data. More data means more regulation. More regulation means more careful data management. It is essential marketers understand their responsibilities in this space.

But it’s not just about the legalities. Are you cleaning your data regularly, segmenting it effectively and using it to create personalised brand experiences? There is without a doubt a huge opportunity for marketers here, but let’s not forget about the opportunities of using data from multiple sources too a.k.a. big data.  An understanding of the new European Data Protection Regulations should be high up on your list of skills to acquire too.

4. It’s time to get creative with your integrated marketing

Typically when we think of creativity we consider the creative execution: messaging, branding / design and media channel selection. There is increasing scope for creativity in each of these areas, but marketers should remember the crucial role they play as the bridge between customer and business. Let’s not forget to look for creative approaches to managing that relationship through new channels and business models too.

5. Yes content marketing is important and you need to do it well

2013 was the year of the content avalanche. B2B marketers looking for fresh sales leads ramped up the volume of content being produced. With the increased volume it became apparent that if a channel existed, a marketer would use it; the field of dreams scenario.

Every single marketer using a content strategy needs to work out how to rise above the din that is content marketing. Otherwise the ROI is likely to be somewhat slow to appear. Marketers must learn how to create content that is engaging, educational or entertaining, preferably all three. Optimise it to attract eyeballs and distribute it well to gain maximum attention. On top of that you must know how to measure the impact of your content strategy. Google Analytics anyone?

6. The value of events is increasingly important, but embrace the change

The landscape for events is evolving too. With new technologies come greater opportunities for before, during and after show experiences and also entirely new event formats. What can you do to embed digital tactics into your event?

With research indicating 70% of a buyer’s information search is now completed before they contact a vendor, event marketers need to tailor their campaigns to the correct stage in the buying cycle.

7. There will always be a need for partnerships

The age-old pitch from agencies that “we like to be a partner to our clients” might seem like a broken record, but it is worth considering for driving up effectiveness.

Agencies need clients but it should never be a one-way street. Client side marketers need to know how to get the best from their agencies (note this is unlikely to be by beating them up).  At the same time agencies really should be a partner to their clients. Invest time to understand your clients’ businesses, hire and retain staff and incubate new team members. Reward clients with excellence in consultancy and execution; they deserve nothing less.

8. Get to grips with using emotion in B2B marketing

In B2B we generally sell based on rational data: product specifications and speed tests for example. Business buyers only really care about the features. But is that accurate?

Your customer is a person, not a machine. People use emotions in decision-making and even more so when making big-ticket purchases. Consumer marketers know this and use emotion heavily in their communications, but this might just make the difference for B2B marketers in 2014 too. Learn how to get in touch with your emotional side in 2014 and apply that to your marketing and communications.

Let me know if the comments below what you think are the key skills marketers need in 2014 to be effective.

(A version of this article first appeared on the B2B Marketing Magazine Blog.)

The 10 Minute Marketing Plan

Have you ever been asked to write a marketing plan but not had a clue where to start?

10 Minute Marketing Plan

 Read more

B2B Marketing Metrics You Should Care About

b2b marketing metrics

Marketers are often criticised for not speaking the same language as the CEO. Isn’t it about time we did?

 Read more

Is Social Business the New Frontier for Marketers?

I read an excellent article in this quarter’s Market Leader written by Mahesh Enjeti from SAI Marketing Counsel in Sydney.

Mahesh reasons that marketers have lost their seat at the top table, frequently relegated from strategic decision making to more tactical promotional and marketing execution roles. The rise of social media and the modern day marketers’ desire to deliver likes, shares and engagement online, has done nothing to raise the profile of marketing at all. It really needs to start conversing at a business / P&L level.

 Read more

Flipping the Funnel with Joseph Jaffe

A couple of week ago I had the pleasure of hearing Joseph Jaffe speak at ExactTarget’s Connections 2012 conference.

His core message: why waste millions trying to acquire new customers when if you just looked after those you already have, new ones will follow. 

 Read more

Introduction to Marketing Measurement & ROI

Return on InvestmentI hear this question a lot: what’s the ROI?

ROI being Return on Investment.

A fair question when you’re talking about marketing. Actually it’s something us marketers like to hear. Mostly because it means our clients are thinking of marketing more as an investment and not just a cost. More commonly the question is phrased as ‘what sales are we going to get from doing this?

And that’s often where the conversation stalls, because not all marketing is about getting a sale. Particularly when you are selling complex products, such as a professional services, consultancy, or an IT solution.

Anytime your product requires some serious thought by the customer, before (and after) a sale, you have a long buying cycle and need to tailor your marketing and how you measure its success accordingly.

So what does this mean to the man on the street, or your average small and medium sized business marketer?

Primarily it means if you want to measure the success of your marketing, you first need to plan out your marketing objectives.

For example, do you need more sales leads, or do you need to increase the conversion rate of those leads to sales?

If you generally find getting leads the easy part, but actually closing those leads is where you fall down, your measure is not going to be getting more sales leads. You need to identify an appropriate marketing goal before setting your measurement criteria. In this instance,  you might focus on improving the sales conversion ratio, not on getting more leads.

With a set of objectives in place, you can actually define a marketing plan, with an appropriate set of tactics and measure. Without first of all defining what the marketing challenge is, you can’t create appropriate objectives, a targeted plan, or sensible measurement criteria.

With tools like Google Analytics or Nimble CRM, you can start to get a picture of where you need to improve your marketing really quite quickly.

Of course there are some simple metrics you can employ to help you define if your campaigns are successful too. For example, simply looking at the number of sales leads from a campaign is a starting point. If you want to get a bit more granular with your marketing measurement, here are a handful of suggestions for you to think about:

* I need to get more leads into the top of my sales funnel

* Grow my email marketing optin list by 25%
* Improve click through rates on my email campaigns by 20%
* Increase the click volume and click through rate (CTR) on my Google Adwords campaign by 10%
* Improve my organic search rankings to appear on the first page of Google for 10 target keywords

* I need to move more leads through to the point of sale

* Increase number of event attendees / webinar views by 10%
* Increase volume of contacts receiving email newsletter by 20%
* Improve traffic volumes to targeted web pages by 15%

* I need to close more sales leads

* Reduce unqualified sales calls by 50%
* Increase sales conversion ratio by 20%

* I need to make sure my customers stay customers for longer

* Reduce the number of calls to my help desk by 10%
* Increase traffic to self service forum by 25%
* Improve ticket resolution by 10%
* Increase number of customers buying more than one product / service by 15%

Of course once you have these objectives and measures in mind, you can then define your marketing tactics. To reduce call volumes to your help desk, your tactics might be to add a detailed FAQ page on your website, or train your support staff to ensure queries are dealt with on the first call.

In my opinion you should all start thinking of marketing measures and ROI as more than just a volume of sales leads. Look at your sales cycles, measure where you need to improve, define some metrics, plan and run your marketing and then assess. It’s the classic closed loop:

1. Define marketing objectives
2. Plan your strategy
3. Execute your marketing
4. Measure the impact
5. Feedback and revise marketing objectives