Marketing for leads and sales: What’s working for technology companies today
This post is based on a transcript of an interview I did with Karl Hourigan, Digital Marketing Strategist for Mediative, immediately following one of the half-day workshops I presented in three cities across British Columbia for the BCTIA entitled, Marketing for Leads and Sales: What’s working for technology companies today.
Karl asked the questions. The answers are mine.
What universal struggles do you see in the marketplace?
People aren’t sure what to do with so many choices of media and tactics. Companies have limited resources, so they can’t do it all. They’re struggling with content development. How do they create the amount of quality content they need with limited resources?
These aren’t new issues. They’ve been around awhile. It’s just that as the economy picks up, companies are beginning to address them.
Where should people start… how should they go about creating the content they need?
Inventory what (content) you already have in house. Much of it can be updated, bundled, repackaged and refreshed.
Update and adapt the appropriate collateral that your sales people have developed.
Curate and use other people’s content, with their permission and giving them credit. Add your own commentary by putting it into context in relation to your products and services.
What’s your advice on how B2Bs should allocate their marketing budgets?
As a rule of thumb, allocate (your marketing budget) into three buckets, approximately one third of the budget for each:
Take 33% of your budget and use it to improve your website. It is the foundation of your online marketing efforts. Invest in SEO to drive traffic. Add to the content on your site so prospects have a reason to return to it. If you have a blog, make sure it’s updated regularly. If you don’t have a blog, start one. Get into the appropriate online directories for your business.
The second third of your budget should be allocated to direct marketing. This includes list management. Clean your target prospect database. Grow it. Develop direct marketing campaigns. These can be online – email for example, or offline – telemarketing and direct mail.
The last third is for everything else. Five to ten per cent of your total budget should be allocated for research and testing. That will save you time and money overall. Another 5% should be set aside for contingencies… to take advantage of unforeseen opportunities as they crop up. The remainder of this third is for trade shows, ads, swag, etc. And it’s also for developing the content that can be leveraged for the other two buckets: Case studies, podcasts, webinars, etc.
Then what you do is build your marketing plan and make adjustments to the budgets… a little more here, a little less there.
How far ahead should businesses be planning their marketing?
Plan annually and modify your plan every quarter to reflect changing market conditions. Then get more specific with your plans regarding the execution of tasks each month.
Do you have any other advice for B2B technology marketers?
Don’t forget testing and optimizing. I see this often where, for example, a client will build and post a landing page for a specific offer, and then there’s no follow up. They should be measuring their traffic and their conversions, and fiddling with the headline, the graphics, the call to action, etc. to maximize effectiveness.
If you’re doing paid search, don’t just set it and forget it. Revisit it and see how effective it is. Tweak it to make sure you’re getting the best bang for your buck.
Make an effort to look at all your marketing activities and see what’s working and what isn’t. Jigger your budget to put more dollars on the parts of the plan that are giving the best ROI. Take what you learn along the way and feed it back into your marketing plans so you’re continually improving the plan.
Review the tools and the processes you have in place. If you’re marketing processes aren’t automated, now is the time to consider automating. New tools are available at much lower price points. You can easily track and measure your results, and continuously improve your ROI.