It’s important for business-to-business companies to evaluate their marketing tools periodically.
How sharp are your company’s marketing tools? Every marketing manager is faced with a task of evaluating their company’s marketing programs, in the most successful marketing managers do this constantly, with a clear vision, to head off major problems before they start.
If your marketing manager in a well-established company, it is likely that you have already been running online advertising PPC ads. That you have an SEO strategy and content marketing plan in place.
And your sales reps have their sales information kits, your company’s website is running, and your company attends at least one or two trade shows a year. It’s also likely that, unless your company is experienced serious sales or marketing problems, your company’s marketing program is already generating leads and sales.
No matter how successful your company’s marketing programs are at generating sales response, any marketing tool can be made even better, through either improved presentation, or buy better marketing execution.
In more critical situations, where the company is experiencing a sales slump or finds itself in a turnaround situation, their drastic actions must be taken now to save the company, more extensive corrective actions must usually be taken. Marketing’s role is to develop a marketing strategy and marketing campaigns utilizing marketing automation to boost lead generation and increase conversion rates.
However, as a starting point in each of these situations, you should always start with the current presentation of execution of the marketing tools used in your marketing programs:
Presentation: presentation, or gathering marketing presentation, encompasses the sales benefits used in the headlines and the copy of all your company’s marketing deliverables—advertising, email campaigns, sales kits, website, etc. A most common problem in the marketing presentation is caused by the lack of either clarity or boldness or both.
When this happens, the selling copy used in the company’s ads, mailings, brochures, or other marketing deliverables doesn’t present the benefits, features, and uses of the company’s product clearly or forcefully enough to break through to the average, disinterested reader.
Or, the major sales benefits used in these deliverables are not seen by your prospects as being the benefits that would move them to buy your product. for example, they are not the benefits that are meaningful or relevant to them.
Another common presentation problem is the lack of clear and obvious sales presentation that obscures the key facts about your company’s product dear reader.
This includes failure to answer the most common questions and a prospect would have about your product, failure to illustrate how your product is used, and most important, failure to tell the reader what you want them to do next. What do you want them to do, call your company to speak to a sales rep, fill out a coupon, contact the name dealer or distributor, or link to your website?
Execution: if poor sales presentation is a lack of sharpness of marketing tools, poor marketing execution can be thought of as poor assembly and use of these tools, and it is the major problem in many marketing programs. Poor marketing execution often begins when the marketing manager does not give their digital marketing agency a clear description of an outline of the form and content of a marketing deliverable required for the project.
For example, a print advertising program is required, but no clear sales benefits have been specified for inclusion in the final layout. Or, a website is needed, but the marketing manager doesn’t offer his web development team a clue as to what content must be featured on the site, and the order of importance of each type of content. Poor initial guidance often leads to a poor execution and produces a weak final marketing deliverable suffering from poor marketing presentation, described previously.
Poor execution also occurs frequently during the final production and implementation stage and marketing projects. Ads are delivered to magazines late, or without current files and/or fonts, sales brochures and direct mail packages are held up at the printer because of production delays or last-minute copy changes that should have been made earlier in the process.
Time is wasted important marketing opportunities are delayed (we’re lost) because of the marketing managers poor understanding of the process of marketing execution, and failure to take a a firm control and clear, accountable oversight of the price.
Improvements in the sales presentation and marketing execution in your company’s marketing program can mean the difference between a marketing program that yields only marginal, inconsistent sales response from an online ad or direct email campaigns to the next level. And marketing programs that generate a strong flow of inquiries that sales results across all marketing methods and media used in your marketing plan.
What are the best marketing tools to use in your company?
Most companies sell products in trade, industrial, and business-to-business markets do so with either field, or in-house sales forces, or sometimes both.
Marketing managers role in these companies is to implement the marketing plan to generate leads and from a prospect that response to ads, direct mailings, and other marketing tools used in the plan.
The most top marketing tools for trade and business is business marketing, in order of their effectiveness, and relative to cost, are as follows:
For these companies, direct mail, and direct mail combined with telephone follow-up are the least expensive, and most effective tools for generating sales leads from interested prospects in nearly any market or industry.
Most companies with field or in-house sales forces combined their direct mail programs with telephone follow-up from their sales reps, with calls timed closely follow the receipt of the company’s direct mail piece by the prospect.
There is an almost infinite number of ways to develop and execute a direct mail marketing project. For example, using a rented list or self-compiled, are using brochure self-mailers or letter size mailing pieces.
However, regardless of the specifics of their execution, the combination of direct mail or telephone follow-up is the best and most effective marketing tool for companies utilizing is the sales force to sell their products.
Next to direct mail, your company’s booth at a major trade show in your company’s market or industry is the best, most effective marketing tool for selling your company’s product or service. If your company is attending the best show in the market, and if the show can draw solid attendance, as most major trade shows do, there is no substitute for putting your company sales reps directly in front of thousands of qualified potential buyers in your market at the show.
If your company program can generate solid sales response by direct mail and at a trade show, there is a reasonably good chance you can duplicate the success in either print advertising or online advertising.
If you the same proven sales benefits and copy in the print advertising that you have already used in your direct mailings. However, both print advertising and online advertising can be risky and expensive for most business-to-business marketers. And they should be introduced to the company’s marketing mix with caution.
This is usually done by starting with a limited schedule of smaller, fractional page ads in the top one or two trade publications in your industry, and then carefully tracking and measuring sales response generated by these ads. The ad program is that expanded only if it can be justified by the initial sales response.
If your target audience is active in social media channels online, then an online advertising program is a great way to test sales copy and sales response.
Other marketing tools: website, PR, social media, sales support
All the marketing tools, such as your company’s website, and PR efforts to generate free publicity in your industries trade press, are, generally, the part of your company’s marketing plan. These marketing tools support other major marketing tools used in your plant (such as direct email campaigns, SEO, sales support, or online advertising).
In most cases, they cannot be relied upon by themselves to generate adequate sales response. For example, your company’s website may draw interest from the prospect to discover it during an internet keyword search on Google, but most companies can’t rely on their website alone to generate the sales response they need.
Editorial coverage on your company’s products, appearing as a result of your company’s PR efforts, may also generate sales inquiries, but not as steady and reliable as direct mail, landing pages, sales funnels, trade shows, inbound marketing, or an online advertising program.
While each of these marketing tools is important, and many deserve a place in your marketing plan, they should either support other, more important marketing efforts or serve second-level additions to your marketing program.
For example, your company’s website supports other marketing efforts by providing more detailed information on your company’s products, and the communications channel to prospects who receive your company’s direct mailings or email programs or see your print advertising.
For most B2B businesses, it’s important to be found online. On Google and BING’s search engine. Once user comes to your website or a landing page from search results, you want to be sure that you have a marketing funnel design with steps that your prospect would normally take in making a purchase decision. There are a lot of great analytic tools, free tools, that you can use to execute, to track and analyze marketing program.
Other marketing tools, such as public relations, are not reliable sales response generators, and are dependent on other, more forceful marketing methods (online advertising or personal sales calls), and should be viewed as less important parts of your plan.
Of course, this is a very generalized assessment of the power of these marketing tools, and will not be true in all business instances. For example, some companies may work with third-party dealers or distributor networks instead of employing their own sales reps and will use marketing efforts like co-op advertising campaigns, designed to drive prospects inquiries to these distributors.
Other companies may be successful at selling their low price products by direct mail or advertising, without the need for sales reps at all. In the past few years, some companies have even become very successful using their website and email as their exclusive marketing tools, operating as Internet-only businesses.
The only way to determine which marketing tools work best in your company’s marketing plans and to select the ones that you think will work best in your own company situation.
Then develop them using clear, forceful sales presentation, execute them to the best of your ability, and carefully track and measure the sales response for each marketing tool you use. You may experience different results from using these marketing tools than those described here.
If your company has a good product at a good price and is selling in the right markets, all the rest is clear, obviously, salesman-like presentations of your company’s products, using skillful marketing execution with tradecraft, and hedging your marketing program by using as many marketing tools as your company can afford.
Professional development for marketing managers
As a marketing manager, you’ll be working with your company’s digital marketing agency, marketing consultant, and other outside vendors on every aspect of the development execution of the major marketing tools described in this post. Copywriting, layout, production, SEO, and other planning and final implementation of all your company’s marketing projects, using all the tools of the trade available to you as a marketer.
Many of the action steps described in our blog post are handled by either in an in-house marketing team, typically of 7 or more, or a digital marketing agency. It is essential to your success as a marketing manager to know how these projects are developed, produce, and executed.
For example, your digital marketing agency or marketing consultant will create, develop, and produce the key marketing deliverables that go into an ad, direct mail package, or other marketing projects in your company’s marketing program.
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While you may never write a line of advertising copy that appears in the final product. You need to know what makes an effective ad, and how to discover, document, and organize the main sales benefits of your company’s product or service.
You need to know so you can provide your digital marketing agency or consultant with the written outline, or “specs,” of your company’s major sales benefits that must be incorporated into the final ad.
You also need to know enough about the process to manage it, and to supply the same background sales copy information for any other printed marketing deliverable. Whether it’s a direct mail package, in an online advertising program, a sales brochure, a catalog sheet, or any other delivered or used in any marketing program.
You probably won’t be creating your company’s website, but you need to know what makes a business website successful and serving your marketing program, and how to manage the web development process of your company’s internet projects.
The same holds true for other marketing projects, such as video production, or other special marketing requirements for startups, new product launches, and turn around situations.
Your knowledge of the tradecraft of marketing improve the quality of your company’s marketing projects and their execution and is an important part of your professional development as a marketing manager.
In this 3-part series, I covered the major types of marketing tools available to marketing managers. I evaluated their strengths and weaknesses and start you on the road to determining the right marketing tools to use, in the right combinations, to turn individuals and the prospects, and the turn prospects into buyers of your company’s products.
Even though as a modern marketing manager, you may never develop the online marketing advertising program, your full SEO strategy, and implementation, or even develop your company’s website. You are most likely will outsource that to a digital marketing agency like Matrix Marketing Group.
However, it is very important that you understand not only the process of what it takes to implement these strategies in marketing tools, but also participate in the process to be sure that your marketing objectives are being met.