Monday, June 6, 2016

Optimizing the Marketing Machine

By Heather Caouette
Marketing and Public Relations 

You know the drill; get more results with a smaller budget. With these mandates, showing a campaign’s business impact is imperative. There are several methods you can employ to optimize your marketing department and show real value. 

First, make sure marketing initiatives align with business goals. There are multiple avenues marketers can take and CEOs are impressed when the one you choose aids the current goals of the business. Prioritizing tasks in this way will also help manage your efforts in an impactful way.

Once your programs sync with what is driving your company, it is essential that marketing efforts speak to your customers’ motivations. It does not matter how beautifully crafted your campaign or message is. Any project that does not speak to what influences your customer will fall flat. As B2B marketers, we tend to think product-centrally and focus on solutions. Go beyond that. What keeps your customers up at night? What inspires them? You need to understand these motivators before you can make the link to how your offerings can help. 

Build Brand Ambassadors

Addressing the vulnerabilities of your audience will also help develop customer advocates and extend word of mouth – arguably the most efficient and beneficial form of marketing. A recent Nielsen’s Harris Poll Online found that more than 80% of Americans seek recommendations when making any kind of purchase1. Most people trust their peers more than company messaging so hearing the virtues of your solution from a colleague will go far in establishing your credibility. Once you are delivering a solid solution, exceptional customer service and conducting business as a true partner, customers will be open to acting as brand ambassadors. Build and engage a captive audience of your customers, partners and thought leaders.

When engaging with current and potential clients, be aware that some channels that have been successful in the consumer space can also be brought into the B2B space. Social media is one example. Businesses are made of people that are on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. You need to get your message to the people where they are and not wait around hoping they find you. That said, tread carefully to put your efforts in the channels that can offer the greatest reward as some may be a better fit than others. A channel that makes sense for one industry may not work for another. Do not get caught up in the tool – focus on the message and desired outcome.  

Mobile Matters

According to an April 27, 2016 post by Smart Insights2, mobile use grows an average of 58% year over year. Most people now consume information on mobile devices with that trend rapidly accelerating, yet many B2B companies do not have a clear strategy to leverage this mobile engagement. Ensure that viewers can move seamlessly between devices and that the experience is consistent regardless of whether  they find you on a desktop, tablet or phone. Find ways to align your offline marketing such as tradeshows with mobile, which in addition to improving the user experience, will give you additional analytics to measure initiatives that are more difficult to quantify.

All of these approaches require one thing that is constantly mentioned but there is never enough of – content. You will never catch up if you create new pieces for every program or medium. Repurposing content is key to keeping the pipeline full while maintaining a budget. A podcast, for example, can be reborn as a case study, web content, blog post and social media messaging. 

Keeping in mind customer preferences regarding motivations and channels, and finding multiple uses for fresh content will deliver true value to your business. By making sure these tie into clear business objectives, you can deliver a business for business connection instead of just a business to business one. 

Heather Caouette helps develop and execute integrated marketing activities globally at eClinicalWorks. Previously, as a Senior Account Executive with Schwartz Communications, she assisted a variety of technology innovators in meeting their public relations goals. Heather holds a Bachelor of Science in Communication from Boston University and a Master of Business Administration in Finance from Bentley University.