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Get 'Back to School' on Planning for 2013: Part 1

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The weather hasn't changed much here in Austin, Texas, but the kids around here—including my own—have headed back to school. And that is one of many signals that BtoB marketers everywhere are getting into planning mode for 2013. We certainly are here at Bulldog, defining our goals and strategizing our initiatives for next year. And we're also preparing to help our clients do the same: Our promise to them, plain and simple, is to help them drive more revenue. That's a tall order, but one that can be filled with a disciplined approach to evaluating the three key drivers of revenue: strategy, infrastructure and programs.

So with all the buzz going on about planning—we're even sponsoring a webinar with SiriusDecisions next week where they will reveal the five key planning assumptions we should all be making for 2013—I want to share a bit about the kinds of best practices we apply in one of the key areas that drive revenue: effective marketing programs.

To set a little context: In our experience with working with some of the best enterprise companies in the world, we've identified six competencies that impact the degree of effectiveness of any marketing program:

  • Message alignment
  • Audience acquisition
  • Buyer insights
  • Buyer engagement nurturing
  • Sales enablement
  • Performance monitoring

All of these competencies are important in and of themselves, but we've found that they all really have to work together to make the most impact on the success of marketing programs.

Here's a real-world proof point of that: Recently we had a discussion with a marketing director who just launched a new program—but was not seeing the results in terms of lead conversion and revenue that she was hoping for. After a quick discovery session, we uncovered what was working in the program, and what could be improved.

Their marketing department launched a new program with a strong solution and business value message for their business unit. The program was well thought out, with compelling outbound and audience acquisition media programs to attract inquiries, and a great nurture program with webinars, white papers and third-party content to educate and engage their prospects. All good.

But when those intrigued prospects visit the website—instead of immediately viewing supporting information relevant to the interests they've already shown—they're greeted with standard corporate messaging, requiring a site-wide scavenger hunt to find what they came there to learn about. And even worse, when prospects did connect with a salesperson, the message was focused on product speeds and feeds not aligned to the solution message that attracted the prospect in the first place.  

Something to think about as you look at all the factors that can make or break a program. It's critical that the core message of the campaign is consistent (and relevant) for every touch point that you have with your prospect, from the very first email to the website visit to the sales conversation, and everywhere in between.

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