2016 Marketing PlanningTo plan for a prosperous future, marketing leaders need to establish a lead goal that is sufficient to meet revenue objectives and then align a marketing budget that will drive the required number of leads to successfully impact the bottom line. From there, your marketing planning can really begin. To be successful in hitting your growth goals, you’ll want a strategic approach that goes well beyond simply “working harder” or copying tactics that are being used by competitors and channel peers.

One of the challenges in that process is understanding how the different tactics and programs you run can impact each other and drive further success.  Depending on how you attribute leads to campaigns, some tactics wind up looking very successful, while others seem to show little impact.  It can be tempting to double down on the most successful tactics when budgeting for the next year, but if not done carefully, altering your marketing mix in this way can actually cause a decrease in your results.

Today, to run successful technology lead generation programs, a relatively strong mix of marketing elements is required.  Skip one of the steps and you risk impacting the performance of the others.  Example:  Leaving someone a compelling voicemail about a super technology solution for their special industry is nice, but if your website isn’t visible for that super technology solution for that special industry, you risk being dismissed as irrelevant in that space, driving down the potential results of the campaign (and allowing prospects to learn about your competitors at the same time).   Content marketing is a common component to marketing strategy, but if you feel like all you’re doing is pushing new pieces of content to the web and not moving the revenue needle, then its time to take a look at your overall marketing plan and ensure that you’ve got the right strategic mix of components to drive success in 2016. Within channel sales organizations, there are good ways to leverage channel content to drive your own campaign success. But if all you do is copy/paste content from the channel owner, you’re not likely to see success.

Lead Attribution – A blended approach works best, allowing you to know which tactics were in play as leads come in.  Example: So you left a great voicemail to your well targeted prospect. That triggered a web search, they saw your ad, but clicked on your organic result instead. Visiting your website, they reviewed your solution and offering.  A few days later, while having a bad day with a particular business problem, they come back to your site directly and decide to give you a call.    Is that simply an inbound lead off of your toll free line?  Or do you have the tools in place to understand how all of these components helped drive the prospect to engage with your organization?

Leverage Search Engine VisibilitySEO, or Search Engine Visibility, is frequently the foundation of successful lead generation, providing an accelerating effect on other lead generation tactics.  We live in a world where prospects will do their own research before speaking to humans.  Is your website visible in search engines?  Not only for your company name, but for the solutions you provide?   When you start putting email and calling campaigns into market, do you notice a bump in organic traffic?  You should, these programs, in spite of lessening reach rate numbers in recent years, do get heard, and do drive prospects to learn more.  The search engine tends to be the venue prospects use to do that.

Relevant Offers for your Prospects – Does your website provide strong offer content to help drive engagement and conversion?  If you’re selling large complicated solutions and services, prospects may be slower to engage with a rep, particularly before they’ve defined a budget and timeframe for a solution. Developing offers that can provide benefit for the prospect, as well as an early view for your sales team into that prospect represents an opportunity to shorten future sales cycles, as well as guide the prospect through their BANT definition and future requirements planning.

Database Development – There aren’t quick fixes for your marketing database.  A purchased list can serve as a starting point, combined with existing and former customer data, but success here requires a long term plan and attention from sales and business development.  If you have solutions that span the interests of multiple buyer personas, those personas should have a value in your system, and for optimal segmentation, future data loads and contacts acquired need to follow the required tagging.  If you’re targeting organizations by industry, SIC codes can be a solid starting point. If you’re targeting organization based on installed solutions, then you’ll want to have a plan in place to acquire or determine the solutions installed before spending a lot of time on those records. If you’re spending budget dollars just buying leads from 3rd parties, then you’re likely missing out on the long term benefits of developing a true marketing database through outbound activity.

Technology Lead Generation & Email Marketing–  It starts with having a strong, knowledgeable caller, and a good list of prospects to target. The added benefit of a human touch in the marketing process is the opportunity to improve your marketing database throughout campaigns, giving better relevance to future communications, whether phone or email based. Outbound marketing programs perform better when you have your inbound elements optimized. Without a solid presence and supporting collateral, your sales people have to work harder to build credibility with prospects, and you risk introducing more competitors to the buying cycle early on.

Advertising – Offers working well and your web pages are visible and converting?  Digital ads provide a great supplemental stream of traffic. When combined with a re-targeting campaign, can be a great way to draw visitors back to your site as future content is launched. This can be a very effective approach to provide new visitors to a well optimized web site. Advertising services are great at consuming budget dollars, the key is to ensure that you get the proper return on marketing spend by having a well optimized site.

Want to learn more about how your campaign tactics stack up?  Frantz Group offers a marketing assessment that can help you improve your results in 2016.  Need help with offers?  Our Right Offer workshop encompasses several topics from our marketing assessment and gives you the added benefit of relevant offers to add to your website and programs. With over 20 years of integrated marketing experience, Frantz Group can build the roadmap to growth and drive your organization forward.