There is a a common and powerful chart that is used in change management circles that describes the various factors that need to be aligned in order to manage complex change. You can find an example here.
I thought it might be useful to attempt to borrow this approach and apply it to the question of why so many marketing campaigns fail. Of course the model is simplistic, but I have found that it helps many of my clients recognise that just addressing one isolated factor, is not going to automatically generate a step-change in marketing campaign performance. A successful campaign comprises (at least) 7 factors that must all be aligned if we are to maximise the revenue and enhance the internal reputation of marketing.
Let me expand a little:
- Data. Data needs to be the cornerstone of our marketing approach. Even in these days of inbound marketing, having a good list is critical. We need to have quantity, quality and depth around our customers and prospects. There’s no sense in investing in a fabulous creative approach and simply not having sufficient people to share it with. Who are they, what are they interested in, how have the engaged previously? And while we’re at it, what new insights about our prospects can be gleaned from this new activity – and how can we capture that so that it can be leveraged in future activities? If our data quality is poor, there’s every chance that our intended targets will never even see our campaign, and so the bounce rates will be high and the engagement rates low.
- Message. Why should I even open your email? If I’m getting 200 emails every day your message in the subject line needs to resonate with me else I’ll just go straight to delete. And even if I open the mail it had better be succinct and relevant to me, on my terms. To be blunt – I don’t really care about you and your company; I just need you to show me that you understand me and can help me.
- Tooling. One of the major benefits of technologies such as Marketing Automation is the opportunity it presents us deliver campaigns at greater scale and more dynamically in ways that would be just too difficult and labour-intensive with more manual methods. Triggered next actions can really help maintain the interest levels of prospects. However the technology is of course only one of the factors here – scalable campaigns sent to poor data with a poor message are still going to deliver poor results.
- Lead Development. From my perspective there are two fundamental elements to Lead Development that together can really make a substantial difference to campaign success – the digital and the human engagement. In B2B environments with typically long purchase cycles, nurturing contacts over time with a planned sequence of relevant content that drives deeper engagement is an essential part of the Lead Development puzzle. From that we can identify those contacts in our target groups that are the most engaged. But does that mean they are ready to pass to sales. Perhaps, but probably not. That’s where the Human interface comes in. In most successful campaigns I’ve seen there is a step between the digital nurturing and passing it to the sales function. Somebody usually needs to have a conversation with the contact to establish what they are actually looking for and what their urgency is. Whether you call it Telemarketing, Telenurturing, Telequalification, Lead Development, Business Development – who cares. Similarly I am not especially bothered whether it sits as a marketing or sales function – just make sure you do it! Miss this step out and we risk alienating our sales colleagues by passing over leads prematurely – and next time they’ll just ignore what we pass over.
- Sales Alignment. Defining with Sales what constitutes a good lead (or Marketing Qualified Lead to use Sirius Decisions parlance) and how many are needed is a good start point for better alignment between sales and marketing. Bake it into a regular fact-based dialogue and we start building a relationship of mutual respect. We can’t simply toss these leads over the wall – we need to stay engaged to understand whether the leads we are providing could be made even better. Unless the sales function is hungry for the leads we provide they are unlikely to contact the prospect – leaving the potential client feeling ignored, and leaving the leads to stagnate within our CRM.
- Sell. At some point it’s time to Sell! Clearly by this stage the sales team is the primary customer interface, but Marketing can still help by continuing to share insights from the Marketing Automation system (if you have one). Or perhaps we can help unlock situations that have got stuck, for whatever reason. If we’ve got a good dialogue going with Sales by now, there should be less likelihood that the prospect will seek someone else.
- Grow. Of course selling should never stop with the first transaction. Our prospect has now become a customer, but we ought to maintain a conversation with them and introduce new topics via newsletter and new campaigns. We all know that it takes considerably more effort and money to win a brand new client than it does to upsell/cross-sell and existing customer, so we should ensure we’re doing all we can to retain our existing customers.
So there you have it. Seven areas to focus on to ensure that you maximise the revenue from your marketing campaigns while delighting your customers. By mapping out the key stages of your campaigns from the perspective of your potential clients, as well as your own internal processes, you’ll almost certainly identify some critical areas that, if you address them, could pay back big dividends.
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