Don’t feel like reading this article? No problem, just listen to the audio file:)
Hi, I’m Adam Martingano, Founder and Chief Strategist at Go To Market Solutions. Welcome to this Marketing School How-To Guide, “How Much Should I Spend On Marketing.”
This is the most frequently asked question I get from clients when it comes to marketing. The answer to this question is a resounding, “I don’t know”.
Probably not the answer that most people including you are looking for, right??
Well, the reason is that there are many factors going into answering this question. So where do we start?
How about at the beginning.
Marketing is a blanket term, and refers to advertising, public relations, promotions and anything else you might do on a day-to-day basis; for example, Google AdWords, social media advertising, print ads, sponsorships, collateral and even happy hours. So with that said, how do you know what you should be doing and how much to spend?
That depends on several things, however, these are the ones that I find most impactful:
Let’s discuss the basics. If you are not tracking your lead sources, then you will never know where and how to spend your marketing dollars. Yes, there are tons of software programs out there to track your lead sources, and guess what, there are even some free ones.
Recently Hubspot released their CRM tool for FREE, yes for free. Now they will try and upsell the hell out of you, but for a powerful CRM tool with lots of integrations, this is a great choice. You can find out more here.
There are some other tools that may pique your interest, but that is a discussion for another time.
A perfect addition for all you WordPress website users (which hopefully you are using), Hubspot has a great plugin for WordPress which you can read about here.
This is the easiest way to ensure that your leads are funneled directly into a CRM tool, and have the lead source tagged automatically based on the web property/form that the user opted into.
Yes, it’s that easy. And did I mention, it’s FREE???
Lead tracking should be detailed, and if you are not a CRM shop, then use a spreadsheet, but that is pretty tedious and very manually driven, therefore prone to errors or lack of consistency.
Once you know what lead sources are performing the best for quantity, quality, and profitability, that’s where to focus your marketing attention.
With so many forms of marketing available, how do you know which ones are performing best? The answer is more of a strategy than a solid answer because in the end, if you are not tracking, then you will never know.
Digital Marketing is by far the easiest way to track lead sources. If you are using Social Media, Google Ads, YouTube Ads, email, blogs, or another form of digital marketing you should be sending people to a landing/capture page. This is where the magic happens.
Although you can drop a pixel on a user when they interact with a social media post or a Google Ad, this is great for remarketing purposes only, but you never get their contact info unless they opt-in to a form. This form can be built in many ways, but I highly suggest the simplest method possible. Bug-fixing lead flows is not fun, so why make it harder on yourself if you don’t have to.
Step 1: Build An Ad
It doesn’t matter where you build your ad, i.e Facebook, Instagram, Google, etc… All of these ads will allow you to send your user somewhere. Keep in mind a blog post or an organic social post can also be considered an ad. You don’t always have to pay for it:)
Step 2: Build a Landing/Capture Page
There are lots of ways to build a landing page. If you are skilled or feeling brave, you can build it right in your current website platform. If you are not sure how to do that, there are some great tools such as Instapages, or Leadpages. These are pretty good, but they are at a monthly cost and they host your pages. This sounds good, but in the end, you are losing out on some serious SEO juice by sending people to some other domain rather than your own.
My favorite tool for building landing pages is OptimizePress. This is a plugin for WordPress and has all the bells and whistles but allows you to build the pages right in your site, independent of your current theme. They are in the process of releasing 3.0 so I would wait until it is fully out before I jumped on board. As a power user, I got an early release to 3.0 and it is really nice.
All of these tools have tons of great templates to use or get inspiration from, or you can look at a site called Landbook for inspiration.
Step 3: Add a Form
A landing/conversion page is not complete without a form. All of these tools have easy ability to add a form, but remember, we want to track the lead source, so using an integrated Form/CRM tool like Hubspot is the way to go.
Step 4: Add Lead Sources To Your CRM
Before your leads can be tagged properly, you need to set up the lead sources in your CRM tool and map the forms to those sources. This way as soon as a user opts-in, they are ported to your CRM and tagged accordingly.
Step 5: Review & Maintain
Now that you have the machine built, you have to review things and maintain things. Because yes, technology breaks for no reason. So once in a while, jump on your site and fill out a form, or eat the $1 and click on an ad you made and follow the trail.
Ok, this was what we were here to learn, right? Well without the prior information, you would have no way to know what lead is coming from where.
A basic rule of thumb is as follows:
Well, that seems like an easy calculation, right? But that is not all. What about Profitability and Return on Ad Spend or ROAS. ROAS tells you at the most foundational level if a marketing channel is performing at a level that will allow for profitability.
For ROAS, the higher your number the better. That’s because the metric tells you how much revenue you generate off each advertising dollar spent. So for example, a $5:1 ROAS means that for every $1 spent on a marketing campaign, you generate $5 in revenue. So for example,
Whoo Hoo! Wait, there are more costs to account for. A positive ROAS does not mean that you actually made a profit. So before you blindly follow a calculation, think, logically
Here are some things to factor into your calculation:
Here is a basic example. Please, keep in mind that in a real-world scenario, a $30 product should never cost you $5 to acquire a customer…
$30 sale price – $10 cost to make = $20 margin – $5 customer aquisition cost (CAC) = $15 – $6 sales comission = $9 profit per unit sold.
So if you want to make $5k in revenue, you would need to sell ~166 units. To acquire these customers, it will cost you $830 (166 x $5 CAC).
So the next time you want to know how much to spend on marketing, start by asking yourself how much it costs to acquire a customer, and how much revenue you want to make. Oh, and be sure to not confuse revenue with profit.
Watch for our next Marketing School How To Guide where we discuss the proper way to build a Landing/Conversion page.
Don’t want to read this article? No problem, just listen to the audio file:)
Hi, I’m Adam Martingano, Founder and Chief Strategist at Go To Market Solutions. Let me start by asking you this, have you ever wanted to know the best way to generate sales qualified leads?
Of course you have.
As a marketer, lead generation is one of my main jobs. No matter what processes or techniques I implement, the end goal is typically the generation of leads. Well, I am here to tell you that in my opinion, lead generation is not the ultimate goal, lead conversion is.
If you have ever wanted to know what the best strategy for lead generation is, and how to maximize lead conversions, then you have come to the right place, because that is the focus this article.
Hubspot almost nailed the definition for lead generation as the process of attracting and converting prospects into someone who has indicated interest in your company’s product or service. What I like about this definition is that they mention the term “converting”. In my 15 years in the industry, I have seen most marketing tactics and even bought into the “more-is-better” mentality for a while, meaning if I could generate enough leads, some of them are sure to buy.
The problem is that leads need to be nurtured, and there are only so many hours in the day and only so many times you can re-target/re-market a lead. At some point, you have to give up and mark the lead as dead.
Introducing the concept of lead conversion is something that many marketers still do not embrace, and I am not sure why. To me, it is everything, and the days of “more-is-better” are gone. Today it is all about “better”, not more. Better leads, meaning more qualified leads, which means more conversions, which means…. you guessed it, more sales.
So how do we qualify leads before we even speak to them? There are several strategies available to do this, however, for this article we are going to focus on one of my favorite strategies, the “Lead Funnel”.
I love this definition provided by SnapApp, “A lead funnel is a process of starting with, and sifting through, a large number prospects, identifying which ones are viable as sales leads, and then nurturing these qualified leads into paying customers at the end of the funnel”.
There are several steps to defining the processes of your lead funnel such as:
But to keep things simple, rather than focus on the complexities, we are going to focus on the main concepts:
We will save the complexities for a future article…
The top of the funnel is all about lead generation or better stated, lead engagement. We attract awareness through a variety of different methods such as email campaigns, quality blog posts, social media, video, or SEO/SEM/PPC. Depending on your industry, your market, and your audience’s behaviors, you will need to determine what the best strategy is.
In my opinion, most businesses can get great engagement using Social Media. If you want to learn more about marketing on social media, check out our other Marketing School How-To Guides, “How To Market A Product On Facebook” or “How To Market A Service On Facebook.”
To get them into the funnel, we offer some compelling TOFU content such as an exclusive offer, an eBook, or stuff like that. The trick is that most people are aware of these strategies so it is getting harder to get them to engage with the funnel, so we need to be creative and be sure that whatever it is that you are offering is compelling enough and gives the user some sort of value, either perceived or tangible.
The middle of the funnel is where you now get to talk about your business, your solution, and your brand. And here is where you begin to qualify the lead. Be carful not to sell too much at this stage, you are still trying to establish credibility with the lead and you can easily scare them off. You also want to be highly specific to the message that you are delivering, and be sure it is 100% relevant to the point of initial engagement. Meaning if they clicked on an ad about a specific topic of interest, where you send them from the ad must be 100% about that same topic.
Enter…. The Landing Page.
The technical definition for a landing page in digital marketing terms is a standalone web page, that is created specifically for the purpose of a marketing campaign. The premise is that it is “where a visitor lands” when they have clicked on an ad, link or referral source.
This is why the landing page is so great. You can offer additional information to support the ToFu’s initial point of engagement, build credibility, and allow the lead to somewhat “Opt-In” a second time through the use of a form, or Call To Action.
Can you say “lead qualification”…
An important tip is to only have 1 Call To Action and limit the navigation options to keep the user where you want them. Also, be sure that this page is engaging as hell. If you used a video as the ToFu’s initial point of engagement, follow that up with a more detailed video on the landing page. And be sure your Call To Action, whatever it is, brings further value and that the action steps of the CTA are clear to the lead.
We will teach you all about landing pages in our next Marketing School How-To Guide, “How To Build A Landing Page”. So be sure to keep an eye out for that article.
The bottom of the funnel has 2 elements, Opportunities, and Customers. In this article, we are focusing on Opportunities, because if we do our job correctly, Customers will follow.
The bottom of the funnel is where you attempt your sales pre-close and is the final step in the lead qualification process. Here you present a unique opportunity to address exactly how your product or solution meets the specific needs of the prospective buyer. Meaning, whatever the initial point of engagement was, and the follow-up landing page content was, now needs to be re-enforced one more time and a commitment is made by the prospect. If they made it this far, it is safe to say that they are now a qualified sales lead.
Understanding the difference between lead generation and lead conversion can mean the difference between your sales team burning out chasing non-qualified leads, or your business focusing all their attention on the wrong prospects.
In short, if you build it (the funnel), they will come, you just have to build it the right way. Don’t be too eager to sell, remember, lead nurturing is like dating. You start with an introduction, then ask them to commit to a date, then you try to show them that you are a great fit together.
The rest is left to the imagination…
Don’t want to read this article? No problem, just listen to the audio file:)
Hi, I’m Adam Martingano, Founder and Chief Strategist at Go To Market Solutions. Let me start by asking you this, do you sell a one-time service or is it ongoing?
This is an important question. Selling a one-time service is very different from selling an ongoing service. When you sell a one-time service, you are only required to engage the customer in a single point transaction. The value is built initially with the intention that the service itself will satisfy the customer’s need. In a perfect world, this is a piece of cake, however, depending on your method of customer follow-up, you may never know if the customer was truly satisfied until they post a review. And we all know that most customers are more eager to complain about a service in a review then praise a service. So the choice is yours, but in my opinion, regardless of if you sell a one-time service or an ongoing service, the customer follow-up should be an integral part of your sales and marketing process.
Last week we broke down how to market a Product on Facebook, so if you missed that article, you can check it out here. So let’s break down how to market a Service on Facebook. There are 6 stages to the Customer Lifecycle Model, however, for this article, we will focus on 2 main stages, Aquire and Engage. Since Marketing is all about Acquiring and Engaging consumers, this is how we will break through into a crowded market using the power of Social Media, specifically Facebook
My favorite method for marketing a Service is to use a limited time offer, and promote that offer using a combination of Video, Paid Ads, Email’s, and a Landing Page. By using this combination, and promoting to a defined audience based on Behavioral and Geographical targeting, you can capture potential consumers attention using my Aquire + Engage strategy.
Step 1: Come up with a Limited Time offer for your service. And when I say Limited Time, I don’t mean 30 days, I mean one day, or even a few hours in a day. This offer needs to be substantial, something that would really push a consumer to take an interest in the offer. 5% off just won’t cut it. 15%-20% is better, and you can always throw in some extras that will help offset the reduction in revenue. Pick add-ons that are cost effective for you to throw in, but that add value to the consumer’s purchase.
Step 2: Write a video script that discusses the benefits of the service and the offer. Don’t go into detail about how the service works unless that is vital for you to stand out to your competition. Humor works great, so throw in a joke or two, but stress that this is a limited time and won’t be back. This script should be 60 seconds long, and for reference 50 words is roughly 30 seconds of video dialogue at a normal cadence. You can shoot this yourself, or if you want to add some professional appeal, you can check out a local video company like Ideal Impact Media that specializes in creating short impactful videos for Social Media.
Step 3: Create a Facebook ad, and use the video as the centerpiece, while using the Text portion of the ad to show off the benefits of the special offer and service. This ad is all about selling the offer and the service, but the stress should be on the offer.
Step 4: The ad conversion can happen in two ways. One is to use a Facebook Lead Form.
This is a great option, and Facebook loves this because you are not taking people off of their platform, so their algorithm will be favorable to your ad and show it more often. The problem is that you only get the Ad to sell your offer and service and you have to complete the sale by either sending them an email with the details and sales options or you have to call them. Oh, and be sure to have a Terms of Service ready to upload with your Ad if you want to run a Lead Form ad. The other option is to use a Call To Action (CTA) button in the Facebook ad and have a quality landing page built to drive them to. Be sure to have the Facebook Pixel installed on your website or landing page that you are sending people to. In my experience, a landing page is better than a home page. This landing page should have a similar message to the ad. This page is all about the special EXCLUSIVE offer that you mentioned in the ad, only available for people that view the ad. Put a timer at the top as well counting down how long the offer is valid for.
And they can get the special offer by filling out a form and receiving the information via email, or if you are set up to sell online, then there can be a coupon code that is applied at checkout.
Step 5: For the audience, you should know the geographic radius that your service applies to. You don’t want to market to someone that is 100 miles away if your service price does not compensate for travel like that. Behavioral targeting is where things get fun. There are all sorts of segments you can choose from. And a tip, just because you don’t see it in the available selections, doesn’t mean you can’t choose it, just start typing and Facebook will start displaying behaviors and interests for you to target and choose. [ add an image of behaviors form]
Step 6: For the ad spend on this ad, you should aim high. You want to get the most engagement on this ad in the shortest amount of time, and you are only running this for a limited time. So depending on how much you can make from selling with the Special Offer Price, spend some money to make some money The exact amount is up to you, but $20 won’t cut it. Go for the hundreds, you want this add shown and re-shown.
Step 7: Run the ad on both the Facebook and Instagram platforms. Since they are both owned by Facebook, as long as you keep the video 60 seconds or less, you can run it on both platforms using the same single ad.
Step 8: Once the ad ends, you will have gained two valuable things:
1. Sales and Email Address/Contact Info
2. Engagement with the add and the accompanying metrics saved
The 1st is a no-brainer, you will know if you had sales based on how you set up your conversion. The 2nd is for future use. You spent a lot of money to get engagement on this ad. So even if someone doesn’t buy, but viewed your ad, you can remarket to them in two ways; by retargeting them with a future ad on Facebook or if you were able to get their email address, you can remarket to them by email, which we will discuss next.
Step 9: Email, email, email. I don’t care what anyone says, email still works as long as it is not spammy. If you used the Facebook Lead Form ad or created a Lead From on your landing page, you hopefully got an email address. Both of these methods of collection can be tied to Email Systems like MailChimp, Drip, Convert Kit, etc. You should create two tags for this so that when an email comes in, you know where it came from. Depending on which email platform you choose, will dictate the ability to use multiple tags. The whole point is that you don’t want to send a sales email to someone that already purchased, so you must have a Thank You page that you can capture if the consumer made it to that stage in the conversion funnel, so that they are segmented/tagged accordingly and receive a thank you email rather than a marketing sales email.
Step 10: Now comes the Facebook remarketing ad. For this ad, you will create a targeted sales-focused ad, and you choose to create a custom audience, known as an Engagement Custom Audience. This is all about selling again. These people have already shown interest in your ad, but at the time they did not buy, so it is ok to hit them with a sales ad and drive them to the conversion funnel. This ad should run for about a 1 week or you can try a 2-day (last chance) extension to the offer, but that may cheapen the offer itself, but the offer should be less than before, but still interesting. And you can be much lower on the ad spend because you are remarketing which, in general, has a better Cost per Click rate. $10 a day should be ok. To accompany this, you will also send out a remarketing email to those that never made it to the Thank You page, with the same details as the Facebook remarketing ad. The conversion funnel remains the same, but your landing page should be updated to reflect the new offer.
There are so many ways to market your service, but customer follow-up is the backbone of any effective strategy. So be sure to get their email address one way or another. This can be used for selling, cross-selling, thanking them, asking for a review or referral, or just saying hi. The more you engage with them on a human-to-human level the more willing they will be to either buy again or recommend your service to a friend or family member.
Be sure to join me next week when I breakdown how to create a proper Marketing Funnel.
Don’t want to read this article? No problem, just listen to the audio file:)
Hi, I’m Adam Martingano, Founder and Chief Strategist at Go To Market Solutions. Let me start by asking you this, do you sell a product or service?
This is an important question. Selling a product is much easier than selling a service. People like to buy something they can touch, take home, and enjoy immediately. So when marketing a product, it is all about the “thing”, what it does, and most importantly how the customer can benefit from the product.
So your marketing message should be all about how the product can positively impact the customer’s life. This can be done very nicely through video, showing the product, how it works, what it does, and some happy customers telling their stories.
My favorite method for marketing a product is to use video and promote it on Social Media using a defined targeted audience and geographic area. By creating this initial engagement piece on social, you have the ability to capture interested potential customers. Specifically, when marketing on Facebook, you can create a remarketing audience for anyone that has viewed/clicked on the video. You can even choose between several metrics from Facebook like ThruPlays (they have to watch a certain length of the video) before you are charged. So for a Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) model, this provides a great Return on Investment (ROI). ThruPlays are only available when you choose Video Views as your marketing objective.
Marketing is not easy, it is a science, and is heavily influenced by data. So if you are not tracking and testing, then you are most likely wasting money.
Be sure to join me next week when I breakdown how to market a service using Social Media.
A mentor of mine, Larry Vincent, Chief Branding Officer at UTA and author of BRAND REAL and THE FINDINGS REPORT delivered a quote that has become somewhat of a mantra of mine over the years. He said, “Good brand strategies guide mission-critical decisions in capital investment, human resources, research, product development, & operations management”.
So what exactly does all of that mean?
If we dissect the quote, it becomes clear that branding and the strategy behind how you promote your brand and engage your consumers should guide every important decision for your business.
Since there are only so many consumers in the marketplace, brands are constantly jockeying for the most favorable position in the eyes of the consumer. What most don’t know is that there is a science behind brand engagement, and that is the focus of this article.
Brand Identity in the eyes of the consumer, distinguishes your organization, your product, and your service from your rivals. Today’s consumer does their research, they compare you to your rivals in as many ways possible. So to say that your brand is just a name, slogan, or symbol is far from true. Your brand is not who you are to you, it is who you are to your consumers.
Brand Strategy starts by defining your target audience, or more accurately stated, your targeted audience(s). You must understand their implicit and explicit needs, and how your product or service satisfies those needs. Once you have done this, you can better understand what types of messaging to use and how to deliver them to consumers.
Bottom line, building a brand identity and brand strategy that respects and adapts to the behaviors of your consumers is vital to success in today’s marketplace.
The reason that branding matters is that it helps shape consumer perceptions and decision-making behavior. A great brand aligns with a business’s larger marketing strategy and consumers needs. Strong brands cast a vision and communicate the unique value of the brand in a crowded marketplace.
Let’s take some comparative brands; Apple vs Windows, Tesla vs Prius, Jet Blue vs Delta, Chipotle vs Taco Bell. These companies essentially make the same product as their comparative counterpart. So what makes one stand out more than the other?
If I have to explain it to you, then you missed the point entirely. It is not so much the products/services that distinguish one from the other. It is the brand identity and brand strategy that draws in a specific type of consumer to engage with the brand and ultimately become a brand loyalist. This happens as a result of the consumer feeling an intimate connection to the brand because it satisfies some form of want or need on a personal level. It is their experiences with the brand that shape their expectations of the products/services that these companies offer.
So if the experience is good, then the expectation is high. If the experience is poor, watch out, because you often times don’t get a second chance to win a consumer.
Now that we have identified the what and the why, its time to dive into the how. A technique knows as Persuasion Marketing is one of the most impactful means of generating brand loyalty. It applies what we know about human psychology and behavior to market products or services. There are four key elements to the persuasion marketing technique; structured communication, storytelling, copywriting, and neuromarketing.
I will briefly define these to help drive the point home:
Understanding consumer behavior can help shape an organizations brand identity and brand strategy. The marketing tactics utilized should be a direct reflection of the brand, and evoke emotional responses on a subconscious level. By employing persuasion marketing you can then deliver a marketing message that not only resonates with a consumer, but creates a sense of unwavering loyalty, and as a result, you have a customer for life.
In our articles, “The Customer Journey – How Consumers Become Customers”, and “Customer Lifecycle Marketing – Send A Message That Influences Behavior”, we spoke about the importance of direct and personal messaging that influences a behavior or action.
Last week I had a great chat with Caleb Edwards, Founder, and CEO of GreenHouse Agency in Orlando, FL, about these same topics, and he brought up the term, Human To Human Marketing. Now I have not heard that term in a while but it really hit home. In today’s marketing automation world, we forget sometimes that there is a human on the other end and it is vital that we embrace this human-to-human connection. Your consumers belong to a community, and these communities are now your new target markets. So despite the abundance of software tools, it is time for a shift back to the days of personalization at a “human-to-human” level, and that is the focus of this article.
Human to Human Marketing (H2H) is a marketing strategy that focuses on building personal relationships with consumers and customers. This differs from traditional B2B or B2C methodologies in that we are breaking down the sales message and replacing it with a message that enables consumers to actually feel “connected” to the business or brand on a more human-level than before.
The days of big business saturating consumers with messages of dominance and confusion are long gone. Marketers of today need to individualize messaging and build authentic connections to thrive because out of necessity, consumers have learned to be selective due to the information overload that has been thrown at them.
I spent 13 years in enterprise sales before jumping into the marketing world, and the smile-and-dial mantra still haunts me to this day. Activity requirements were based on the number of dials I made, not the number of valued connections I made. Remember, meaningful conversations are much more important than the number of cold calls or emails blasts you do each week.
Cultivating personalized messages take time and determination. The silver lining is that there are tons of marketing technology solutions out there that were built to solve this exact problem. Doing the research can be tedious but it is worth it. LinkedIn, Blogs, and Social Media are great ways to find out important details about your target consumers. And since H2H is all about personalization, and more importantly Human-to-Human connections, what better way to deliver that message than through video. Some great video solutions that I have been experimenting with are Wistia, Vidyard, and Knovio. It is always nice to put a face to a name, and that is just what these solutions do.
Creating a compelling narrative that people care about is the foundation for Human To Human Marketing. It is important that your narrative tells a story that solves a problem. Solution-based selling is my favorite selling style, and although this takes the most time to implement, it has by far the highest conversion rates than any other selling style.
For sales reps to make a truly human connection, they must silence all the noise and take on the role of consultant. As marketers, it is important that we equip our sales teams with collateral that speaks the same language. E-books, webinars, blogs, and testimonials are great, but if their language is not speaking “human” than they will be heard as nothing more than noise by consumers.
Did you know that less than 1% of leads that come from an online form or content download actually turn into revenue-generating customers? That sounds crazy, yet we still see forms and downloads on almost every website we come across.
So what are the alternatives? I mentioned a few video-hosting solutions, but let’s not forget about the grass-roots marketing tactics that gave birth to gorilla marketing. Get out there, attend events, speak with consumers, give them a message to believe in, and give back more than you take. Consumers are not fools, they can read between the lines and you must give back the power to them because without consumers, there is no commerce.
Information overload, whether it be from TV, Radio, or Social Media, has created a sea of confusion that speaks an archaic language to consumers. As humans, we crave simplicity, and marketers need to tap into the language and learn to speak human again. This is what the market is craving, this is what your consumers are craving, and ultimately, Human To Human Marketing is what needs to be delivered.
In our article, “The Customer Journey – How Consumers Become Customers”, I introduced you to the concept of the customer journey and its importance for effectively converting a consumer into a customer. For today’s “always-on” marketing style, there are many factors to consider when developing impactful marketing campaigns.
Bottom line, for marketing to be truly effective in today’s omnichannel ecosystem, you need to send a message that influences behavior using Customer Lifecycle Marketing, and that is the focus of this article.
Customer Lifecycle Marketing (CLM) is a marketing strategy that focuses on addressing an audience’s implicit and explicit needs as they evolve from prospect to customer to advocate. This requires a deep understanding of the target audiences behaviors, thoughts, and feelings as they interact with the brand across all digital and analog touch-points.
To engage a prospect requires a completely different strategy than to engage a hot lead or a customer because they are at different stages of the customer journey. This means that you need to create a managed communication strategy that prioritizes and integrates the complete range of marketing channels and experiences that prospects, customers, and advocates go through on their journey with your brand.
If your marketing message does not influence a behavior, then what is the point? The most effective way to ensure that your message is understood and influences some type of behavior is to personalize it. You want to recognize your targets as individuals. This sounds difficult because you typically target a large audience pool, however, this is all the more reason that you need to define your target audience, or more accurately stated, your targeted audience(s) before you define your marketing message(s). Since no one person likes to be communicated to in the exact same manner, why do so many organizations market to everyone with the exact same messaging?
It is important that your marketing messages also recognize where the target is in their individual marketing lifecycle, i.e. prospect, customer, or advocate. This allows you to tailor messages much more effectively. The most efficient way to achieve personalization is to use email marketing combined with marketing automation.
By mapping out the different stages of your customers’ journey, and overlaying the customer lifecycle marketing model, you can identify which types of marketing strategies make sense where and when. And as consumers engage with your various touch-points, you can track their data, behaviors, and interests, and re-use this data to tailor a messaging strategy that influences them to make a decision.
With so many marketing channels available today, it is important to understand when in the customer journey it is effective to market, with what type of channel, and which type of message. For this purpose, let’s break up the Lifecycle Marketing Model into 4 stages; Outreach, Action, Conversion, and Re-Engage. Within these stages, there are a few different audiences.
To better explain the activities that are typically found in these stages, here is a simplified table that was created by www.smartinsights.com.
As with any marketing strategy, and really anything that you put forth in your professional and personal life, garbage in – garbage out. So before you jump to send out that mailing, before you blast out that email to 10,000 prospects, take a step back. Remember, customers, appreciate a relationship-oriented approach from brands. You must build relationships with consumers throughout their customer lifecycle and across all touch-points. Your marketing will then show that you’re serious about your prospects and customers needs and can deliver on your promises to them.
By taping into your audiences implicit and explicit needs and behaviors, by analyzing your customers’ journey, and by mapping out your customer lifecycle marketing strategy, you will see a decrease in churn rates, an increase in conversion rates, and a more effective ROI on your marketing efforts.
This holiday season, I thought it would be interesting to discuss a well-covered, yet somewhat misleading narrative that is being pushed by the media outlets, The Retail Apocalypse. Online sales hit a record-breaking $91.7 billion this holiday season, up from $82.5 billion last year. This impressive number may have some physical storefronts panicking, but the total retail sales this holiday season peaked at $598 billion, a $33 billion increase from last year. That means a substantial amount of the total holiday retail sales was made in physical storefronts.
So if you follow the media, you might think that given the dreary narrative for physical retailers, the rise of online retailers would lead to shrinking sales for physical stores during the 2017 holiday season. Well, think again. Online sales are growing, and some physical storefronts have suffered, but holiday sales in physical stores actually increased in 2017. This means that now, more than ever, it is imperative that storefront retailers connect with consumers on as many physical, emotional, and behavioral levels as possible, and that is the focus of this article.
The retail apocalypse refers to the closing of a large number of retail stores and shopping malls across the country. This began in 2016, and although the root cause is often blamed on online retailers like Amazon taking a larger percentage of the market share, it is actually due to many well-known departments stores, chains, and brands being overloaded with debt as a result of leveraged buyouts by private equity firms. Sound like a familiar concept? We are seeing this same model in several sectors in the economy.
According to Forbes, the media coverage is exaggerated, and the retail sector is simply evolving. The research and advisory services firm The IHL Group, states that retail sales are up by more than $100 billion this year, and 4,000 more chain stores have opened than closed in the U.S. The most successful retailers that are prospering during the retail apocalypse are the low-cost, “fast-fashion” brands such as Zara and H&M, and experience-based physical retailers. These are the brands that have seen beyond the hysteria and are forming connections with consumers, targeting them successfully, and converting them into long-term, loyal customers.
The retail apocalypse mostly impacts the middle-class, where consumers are experiencing a decrease in income while costs increase for things like housing, healthcare, and education. The way Americans shop is also undergoing a fundamental reboot. As more people shop online, the stores that are successfully drawing in customers are those that emphasize experience-based brand connections. This is slowly diminishing the line between e-commerce and physical retail. Virtual stores are also increasing their physical presence. Take a look at Amazon opening bookstores and their acquisition of Whole Foods. Here you have one of the largest e-commerce retailers expanding their physical footprint in cities across the country. Apple has flipped the electronics experience on its head, with their stores showcasing not only cutting-edge products but cutting-edge interior designs, as well as providing services and advice for customers. This has lead to one of the most powerful community-brand connections in the marketplace and is one of the biggest parts of Apple’s differentiation from the competition. Most Apple customers are loyal customers, purchasing multiple Apple products, and continue to do so year after year.
These successful retailers have created a hybrid-model where consumers can engage in multiple ways with their favorite brands and products, with the freedom to buy the way they want, either online or in-store. Consumers want to sit on that new couch, try out that new iPhone, and feel a connection to the brand. But they want the freedom to buy at their convenience without being bombarded with ads on their various devices. Although these are price-sensitive consumers, when they feel connected to the brand, they don’t mind paying a premium, as long as it is on their terms.
With the e-commerce vs. physical-commerce battle continuing, when it comes to marketing, it all starts with defining the brand connection and understanding how the consumer shift between e-commerce and physical-commerce is forcing a change in the way shopping is done. So relevant marketing content is king, experience-based retail environments help to connect consumers with brands, and providing consumers with the flexibility to educate themselves and purchase on their own terms are the keys to surviving the retail apocalypse.
As discussed in “Consumerism – The Death of the Salesman”, understanding your consumers is a key component of any branding, marketing, or business development strategy. Though this is a common practice that most businesses recognize, understanding the customer journey is what ultimately leads to higher business conversions, and that is the focus of this article.
The customer journey is a deep understanding of a consumer’s behaviors, thoughts, and feelings as they interact with a brand across all digital and analog touch-points. We will discuss the stages that make up the customer journey, however, you must first realize that the customer journey does not begin at the point of sale, it begins the very first time a consumer is made aware of the brand.
A customer journey can be mapped out just like a timeline. Each point of interaction that a consumer has with a brand must be identifiable and have an action plan associated. Let’s face it, if you cannot determine the steps that a consumer takes to become a customer, how is the consumer ever supposed to make it through the sales funnel.
Touch-points are not some mythical creature, these are simply the various tangible and non-tangible events that a consumer experiences over time while interacting with your brand. A consumer may hear a radio ad, see a billboard, search on Google, or be referred by a friend. Any of these can and should lead the consumer into the first stage of the customer journey. So why does this matter? This is the first time a consumer is made aware of your brand, and if your brand message and call to action are not clearly defined and easily actionable, how can you expect the consumer to move onto the next stage of their journey.
To identify the customer journey touch-points, you need to physically map out all of the different methods of marketing that you have in place, as well as the steps a consumer goes through before, during, and after the sale. You should be able to compartmentalize each touch-point and see a next step for the consumer. If there is no next step, then there is no action, and if there is no action, there is no sale.
There are five stages of the customer journey; awareness, consideration, purchase, retention, and advocacy.
The awareness stage is the first point of engagement when the consumer becomes aware of your brand through marketing and word-of-mouth.
When a consumer makes the connection that they have a need, and you have a product or service that may meet that need, they move onto stage two, the consideration stage, and the research begins. At this stage, a consumer is interested and wants to see if you actually have what they need, and the key is to provide educational content to the consumer that shows how your product or service satisfies that need. Be ready though, consumers will assess and compare you with your competition so be sure to have your material in-line with your brand identity, message, value proposition, and differentiation.
Stage three, the purchase stage, is the pivotal moment when the consumer transitions into a customer and makes a purchase. Remember, the reason they are making the purchase is that their perceived value of your product or service satisfies their need more so than the competition. So don’t let them down, an unhappy customer will be much more vocal to their friends and family than a happy customer.
Once you have a customer, you have to keep them, so we move onto the retention stage. Depending on your product or service, this is when you want to reach out to your new customer. Ensure that they are happy with their purchase, offer assistance to help them get started, and try your best to instill a level of brand loyalty. For repeat purchases or renewals, remember that this journey is cyclical and the customer may go back to stage two at the point of renewal, so you must know your product-sales lifecycle.
The last stage is advocacy. This is when your customer spreads the word about their experience with your brand, your product, and your organization. As stated earlier, an unhappy customer will be much more vocal than a happy customer. So having an advocacy strategy in place is critical to deal with criticism and showcase praise.
Identifying your customers’ journey, and understanding your customers’ behaviors, thoughts, and feelings across all digital and analog touch-points is ultimately what leads to higher business conversions. Ensuring that each stage is actionable allows you to analyze the data uncovered, and stakeholders can then make value-driven decisions in branding, marketing, and business development investments. Without data, you are only assuming, and we all know what happens when you (ASS*U*ME).
There is no doubt that Consumerism plays a major role in today’s marketplace. Though Consumerism has several definitions, the focus of this article is on the concept that consumers are now more “informed” decision makers; and how Consumerism impacts your brand, your marketing efforts, and ultimately your sales model.
In the eyes of the consumer, your brand distinguishes your organization, your product, and your service from your rivals. So the old adage, “don’t judge a book by its cover” should have been done away with years ago, because that is exactly what consumers do. Today’s consumer does their research, they compare you to your rivals in as many ways possible. So to say that your brand is just a name, slogan, or symbol is far from true. Your brand is not who you are to you, it is who you are to your consumers.
What this means is that you must first understand the needs and wants of your consumers before you can truly define your brand. And if your consumer profile varies, you need to have a process in place to optimize your brand and alter how it is perceived in the marketplace. That is why building a brand strategy that respects and adapts to the behaviors of your consumers is vital to success in today’s marketplace. This can only be achieved by integrating your brand strategies throughout every touchpoint along the customer journey.
Marketing 101; build your brand, differentiate with value propositions, and know your customer. Sound familiar? So what has changed? As a constantly connected society, the marketplace ecosystem has evolved. The social dynamics of today’s buyer impacts consumer loyalty, and since there is an infinite number of companies battling for the consumers’ business, today’s buyer-decisions are made on more than just price.
Let’s keep it simple, there are 4 main types of consumer buying decisions; routine purchases, low-decision purchases, high-decision purchases, and impulse purchases. Understanding how consumers make these purchasing decisions and studying buyer behavior should directly impact your marketing strategy. This is known as an Adaptive Marketing. Rather than utilizing a Standardization or Universal Needs marketing strategy, an Adaptive marketing strategy appeals to the wants, needs, and behaviors of consumers. The downside of this strategy is that it can be costly due to executing multiple marketing campaigns in a given market, time-consuming to develop each unique marketing campaign, and slower to execute because you have to track success and be ready to make changes as needed based on the data you receive. The upside is that your conversion rates and customer acquisitions will increase because you are speaking to the consumer in a manner that they want to be spoken to, and your marketing message will resonate with them on a personal level.
When it comes to sales, a product or service only has true value if that value is perceived as helpful or necessary to a consumer. So when a salesperson simply educates a consumer on the features and benefits of a product or service, they are taking the position that they know more than the consumer. A salesperson must first take the time to learn from a consumer before they attempt to educate them. When a salesperson understands what is important to a consumer, they can tailor their sales pitch to directly address the consumer’s wants and needs, and ultimately guide the consumer through the customer journey and into the purchase funnel.
With Consumerism changing the way consumers interact with brands, changing the way organizations market their products and services, it is only logical to infer that the sales model must adapt to these market changes and a more conversational data-driven approach is essential to succeed in today’s marketplace. In some ways, you can say that Consumerism is leading to the death of the salesman because consumers may be 75% sure of their buying-decision before ever engaging with a salesperson. So it is the sales persons obligation to recognize this behavioral change and adapt their sales strategy or face the consequences.