Over the past several years there has been a big shift in marketing. Businesses used to be able to rely on traditional outbound approaches – cold calling, mass mailers, etc. – to reach existing and prospective clients. These techniques worked in a selling environment where the customer had limited access to information and resources to help them with their buying decisions.
More recently there’s been a shift towards inbound marketing approaches where marketing teams develop tools, content, and collateral aimed at bringing prospective customers to them.
It’s to a point now where businesses who have traditionally had a very limited marketing presence are now investing heavily on marketing approaches to help them build/increase their presence in the industry.
In this article, we want to review some key tips and tricks that will help you evaluate your marketing approach and determine if the current strategy is working or if you can improve it.
What is Your Goal?
Ultimately the overarching objective of any marketing department is to improve client reach and reduce client acquisition costs. This is done through spending money on advertising, collateral development, and outreach activities (tradeshows, seminars, etc.). All these activities are done with the same goal in mind – increase sales to existing clients and acquire new clients.
As a starting point, look at your existing marketing approach from a goal-oriented perspective: does your current approach serve this function? Are you seeing results?
Beyond the high-level goal of spend in marketing to acquire more clients, start looking at other goals and impacts of your marketing approach:
- Are you trying to break into a new industry segment?
- Are you seeing pressure from a new competitor?
- Are you trying to profile your new products/services to your existing customers?
With questions like these, you’ll be able to have a relatively objective set of criteria to evaluate your existing approach. If you’re formalizing your evaluation, then at this point you can create a criteria matrix and evaluate how well your existing strategies perform against the criteria.
Is Your Current Marketing Approach Working?
Once you have criteria to evaluate your marketing approach, you need to then determine what the Return on Investment (ROI) is on your existing approach – for every dollar spent in marketing, what incremental gains are you seeing in the company? This can be measured in a number of ways – additional clients/customers, higher conversion rates, faster sales cycles, increased average sale, sales in a new market/segment/territory, etc.
Getting concrete data on your marketing impact is difficult, especially if you are unable to track where leads/sales have come from or engagement with specific marketing tools, but it’s possible to get approximate figures.
From here you can then determine what channels are functioning best for you and where you can tweak to have a better impact. It’s worth noting, however, that just because one tactic in your marketing toolbox is working really well, it doesn’t mean that focusing more on that particular tactic will continue to drive sales. You’ll always want to diversify your marketing approaches to ensure you are casting the net wide enough.
Inbound Marketing – Small Adjustments, Big Impacts
Inbound marketing techniques can have a big impact on your company, and may only require some small changes in your approach to get started. Modifying your print collateral for landing pages, adding a regular blog feature on your website, and mapping out your web page to ensure there are no dead ends can have a big impact on your client reach and how customers perceive you.
While marketing automation systems are very useful in managing your inbound approach, starting small can yield big results.
These approaches allow you to drive the conversation with your customer, and more importantly, within the industry. No matter the industry, people will research online to get more information – make sure your name comes up near the top to position yourself as a thought leader in your industry.
Let Marketing Fuel Your Growth
Improving your marketing approach will help you increase your client reach, reduce your acquisition cost, improve sales cycles, and help you grow as a leader in your industry. Modifying your marketing approach can be costly and risky, but you can utilize Canadian government funding to reduce the costs and allow you to fully test out your approaches.
Programs such as the CanExport fund will allow you to include marketing costs towards a new market (geographic), which allows you to evaluate how you want to market and test out different techniques. Many of our clients undergo marketing changes as they grow their company, add on new production capabilities, and expand their reach.
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