Marketing 2.0: How To Make Your Marketing More Effective A new approach to marketing effectiveness can help your business to thrive instead of survive in a modern marketing 2.0 world.
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We all know that social media is disrupting the way sales and marketing work- old paradigms like lead-generation, prospect-conversion and account-development, are no longer as effective in a modern marketing 2.0 world, where social media enables direct relationships with consumers and clients.
Marketing disruption has inevitably resulted in some businesses winning, and others loosing, however a new approach to marketing effectiveness can help your business to thrive instead of survive in a modern marketing 2.0 world.
Should you choose a quantity or a quality approach? I remember when I first got into sales and marketing, I was a volume junkie. I was convinced that the only way to gain market share and win new clients was with large numbers. Large numbers of e-mail subscribers, large numbers of LinkedIn connections, large numbers of Twitter followers, large numbers of prospects and ultimately large numbers of clients.
Or is it about the quantity/quality balance? I came to realise that pursuing quantity over quality approach was not necessarily the best choice, especially for startup and small businesses in the B2B space. However, in a startup when cash flow is so crucial, it's hard to take what I call "the quality high road'- purposely deciding to focus on a smaller number when you're trying to build a new client base from scratch.
And then it's also possible to end up on the other side of the spectrum where there isn't hardly any quantity of leads, prospects or clients come through the pipeline at all, yet we sit patiently waiting for calls or e-mails to come in when in reality our marketing efforts are inadequate (perhaps an article for another day!)
It's all about balance, we need some quantity of leads/prospects/clients flowing through our pipeline, consistently. However, we need to make sure they are the right quality or value. If you find yourself not getting excited about talking to a prospect, you're gut may be telling you they're not right for you.
The Three Primary Functions of Marketing
Social media has really changed the marketing landscape. It has challenged our traditional paradigms of lead generation, prospect conversion and account development. I call these the three primary functions of marketing, a marketing fundamentals lesson I teach in my consulting projects, however I can see that they are rapidly changing. Many businesses have poor marketing performance, simply because their approach to these three primary functions of marketing are outmoded. Let's take a look at how they are changing…
Lead-Generation = "Lead Procurement'
Lead generation refers to the ability to generate leads or people who are interested in buying our products or services.
The word "generate' is focused on producing. It conjures up images of a industrialized production plant churning out thousands of commoditised products, which is not dissimilar to the Henry Ford's manufacturing plant in the early twentieth century that would gladly produce any colour Ford you want, so long as it's black.
"Procurement' is a much better descriptor. Procurement is all about obtaining something through care and effort. It epitomizes a quality over quantity approach. If we are procuring leads, we are carefully attracting them in lower quantities, rather than generating them in high volume. Less effort is then required for a smaller number of high value leads.
Lead generation is a contradiction in itself because we aren't generating the leads or potential customers we want to work with. They already exist out there in the market. It's our job to attract or procure them. Perhaps in smaller numbers, but with greater effectiveness.
Prospect-Conversion = 'Prospect Influence'
Prospect conversion refers to the ability to convert a potential customer into a paying customer.
However once again, we're looking at a contradictory term. As businesses, we don't have the ability to convert anyone to our point of view. A prospective customer who decides to pay for our product or service has made this decision internally by there or own prerogative and choice. Our job is to influence them, which is why "prospect influence' describes this primary function more accurately.
Influencing is all about having the capacity to affect someone's behaviour or choices. It usually begins by acknowledging that we don't really have any direct control over someone else's choices. We only have the ability to persuade or influence them to make a choice we feel will be mutually beneficial (for them as a customer, and for us as a business)
Account-Development = "Relationship Building'
Account development refers to the development or growth of key customer accounts that will increase our businesses revenue.
The moment we look at our clients as "accounts' we run into trouble. We are seeing them as walking bank accounts which we must extract the maximum cash value from. Perception is reality, and perceiving clients as "accounts' moves us away from what we really need to do to create mutual value, which is relationship building.
We all know that relationships, particularly in B2B businesses, are the lifeblood of our revenue. Rather than seeing our clients as walking bank "accounts' we need to look at how we can build more and more trust with them. There is a direct correlation between the revenue we receive from a client and the level of trust that exists. This level of trust can be affected even by seemingly insignificant things like keeping our word, clarifying client expectations, exceed the value of service we've promised to deliver, and having a genuine interest in the client even if it doesn't appear to be relevant to our products or services.
Some might say, well I can't afford to give this level of attention to all my clients, they would have me and my team running around all day for nothing! If that's the case, perhaps it may be time to fire some clients? This may sound scary to some businesses and especially for start-ups, however time spent on a smaller selection of client relationships with high levels of trust will, always be more profitable than time spent on a larger selection of clients where there is a below average level of trust.
If you find that your businesses marketing just isn't packing the punch you would like, in terms of procuring leads, influencing them to buy, and building profitable client relationships, you might need to look at how you're approaching marketing. Start with these practical marketing 2.0 tips to boost your marketing effectiveness:
1) Define your ideal client– write down 10 bullet points describing who exactly your ideal client is.
2) Increase your lead quality– filter all incoming leads according to your ideal client criteria, with the aim of reducing lead quantity.
3) Screen your prospects– develop 2-3 screening questions you can ask a prospect (preferably over the phone) before meeting them to ensure they are a worthwhile prospect to invest time and effort influencing.
4) Don't underestimate the small things– ensure small acts such as keeping your word and doing follow-up calls/meetings with key clients are completed in a consistent manner. You'll be surprised how much trust small acts of integrity can build with your valuable clients when done consistently.
In concusion, ask yourself, what lead generation activities am I spending on, and how many of leads being generated are becoming paying clients? Ask yourself, what prospect conversion activities do we do and how effective are they converting prospects into paying clients?