Posts filed under ‘Multi-Channel Marketing’
Your question: In our freight forwarding business, we have just set up our marketing department. What would be our first step after recruiting sales executives?
My answer: What an excellent position to find yourself in! You’re starting up sales and marketing strategies from the ground up. It’s your opportunity now to set yourself up for success. Here are some of the first things I would consider:
- Align your sales and marketing teams immediately. I’ve seen so many instances where sales and marketing are not aligned, and it really hurts both marketing and sales. Since you’re starting from scratch, this is your opportunity to build a sales/marketing team that works together; one that shares common goals and actually communicates with each other. For example, you can let both teams determine when a lead should be passed along to sales—where marketing’s activities end and sales begins. They can build a system from the ground up that determines where Marketing’s expertise should be used and where sales skills should be maximized. This alignment of sales and marketing will reap you huge benefits down the road when you see sales exceed their goals and marketing truly supporting the sales effort with solid lead generation activities.
- Develop sound lead generation strategies: A key first step would be to develop marketing strategies focused on generating qualified leads so your new sales folks can hit the ground running. Some tactics I would consider would be:
a. Generation of interesting content: White Papers, How-to documents, Case Studies—any type of information that your prospects would find interesting. And, it needs to be interesting enough that they will give you their contact info in order to receive it.
b. Make sure that your website is optimized so that your prospects can find you. Work with a search engine specialist and make sure that you are easy to find in your product/service category. Of course, once the prospect is visiting your website, make it easy to find your white papers and other give-aways so that you can start collecting prospect information and start programs to turn those prospects into leads for sales.
c. Along these lines, you’ll need to reach key prospects to tell them about your services. Depending on your marketing budget, consider the various channels that make sense for your business. Consider direct mail programs, print advertising, industry online newsletter sponsorships, outbound teleprospecting etc. Develop a multi-channel strategy that allows you to cost-effectively reach your target audience. Plus it sets the stage for continuous learning so that you can refine strategies over time.
Good luck with your new marketing department!
Q: I am a direct marketing consultant specializing in creative and print services. While I’m a small firm, I spend a lot of time with my clients making sure that they are happy with the services that I provide them. How do I get in the door of large corporations that traditionally work with really large agencies? How do I convince them to trust me as a small business to even get the first meeting?
A: What a conundrum . . . and one that we are VERY familiar with. As small consultancy firms, this always presents a dilemma. Here are a few things that we’ve done to break through and get large companies to listen to us:
- Use your network. If you know ANYONE who knows ANYONE within the company that you’re targeting, use that person to get you an introduction in to the marketing folks. If you’re like us, once you get in and talk to the actual client, you usually get the gig or at least an opportunity down the road. If you need to build up your network, try to figure out where your target audience hangs out and go there. One great venue for us has always been the Direct Marketing Association’s Annual Conference. We never attend one of these conferences without ending up with some business. In addition, look at other local association meetings where your target companies may be involved on the board — i.e., the local DMA or AMA — and start to attend those meetings so that you can introduce yourself and start to build the relationship.
- Partner with other direct marketers. One of the things that we’re trying now is to partner with other direct marketers who offer services that we don’t. So, you’d be a perfect partner. We don’t do printing or creative services. Our niche is in data and analytics. So, work with people like us who offer complimentary services to what you offer. Why do this? (A) the other firm may have contacts where you don’t have them and vice versa and (B) you are able to present more comprehensive service offerings this way — as opposed to just your own.
- Practice what we preach: We are all direct marketers, right? Use the principles of direct marketing to make yourself appear just as professional and talented as those big guys. Let’s face it, some of the bigger agencies don’t present themselves all that well. Take a hard look at your website, your marketing materials, your blog, your e-marketing messages . . . the whole shebang. Make certain that you are presenting a package that would appeal to any business — regardless of size. Use multi-channel marketing to get the word out about your superior services. We tell our clients to do this and sometimes forget to do it ourselves!
We hope that these three ideas provide you with a framework of how to tackle that next large corporation. Good luck!
Q: Are companies still doing outbound telemarketing? I know that since I’m on the Federal Do Not Call list, I personally don’t receive many phone calls, but I’m wondering if marketers are still using telemarketing.
A: Believe it or not, telemarketing remains a viable channel for many direct marketers. In fact, response rates and ROI from telemarketing remain strong. Of course, the big issue in this industry is that it’s hard to come by enough phone numbers to make a campaign worthwhile. So many people have signed up on the DNC list that quantities of phone-able records are pretty tiny.
With that said, I’d definitely consider telemarketing as part of your multi-channel mix.
Q: I keep hearing that using direct mail is passe. I know it seems to be expensive. Should I consider using other channels instead?
A: Yes and no. Direct mail can be expensive, but if the ROI proves that it more than pays for itself (in other words, you’re making more than you’re spending on the direct mail program), than you should definitely include DM. However, we believe in using a multi-channel approach when it makes sense. You should consider testing e-mail, telemarketing, and any other channel that reaches your target market. Again, there’s no one answer and no magic bullet. Test in small volumes (so you’re not wasting tons of money if the test doesn’t work) and you’ll find channels and markets that work for you.