Anyone who’s ever served in any marketing capacity is painfully aware of how marketing is perceived in many organizations across the country. The CFO might view “marketing budget” as a dark, bottomless pit. Sales reps often accuse marketing folks of being clueless and completely unhelpful, sending them low-quality leads. Traditionally, marketing has often been viewed as a necessary evil, something an organization has to put up with, even though it’s difficult to justify.
But things are changing, and marketers today, at the age of quality content, exact metrics and elaborate reporting, can finally be proud of what they do. Here are a few ways you can be that awesome marketer that people inside and outside the organization respect.
1. Respect the customer. This is true in every market, and especially in the B2B space. Your customers are smart. They are internet-savvy, well-researched, and by the time they show up on your website (by registering to download a demo, for example), rest assured they already have a fairly intimate knowledge of your company and your products. Don’t insult them by trying to spoon-feed them the basic stuff. Use your marketing automation software to find out who they are, what they’ve been doing up until now on your website, and what exactly they need – then address those specific needs.
2. Respect the sales organization. Of course you’re aware of the need to work closely with Sales to determine correct messaging and what constitutes a quality lead. We’re all aware of the importance of marketing-sales alignment. But to be a truly awesome marketer, one that’s respected by Sales, you need to respect sales too. Sales reps, certainly the best ones in your organizations, know a lot. They have intimate knowledge of your customers and their needs, of what works and what doesn’t. Rather than ignoring this knowledge or fight it, listen to it. Working together will serve both your interests as it will culminate in more sales, and now that we are able to measure marketing campaigns’ impact on sales, you will be the hero too.
3. Be useful. Content marketing is important of course, but in the era of the internet, not any content will do. The content you churn out must be extremely useful. It needs to be the kind of content that people enjoy reading – the kind of material that they would want to share. Never worry about giving content for free. Quality content will attract business, generate repeat business, will establish you as a thought-leader, and will very likely translate into better sales numbers.
4. Be social. Are you using social media? I hope you do, because everyone else is, including your customers, your prospective customers, influencers in your space and your competitors. You needs to identify the social media channels most appropriate for your space (Twitter and LinkedIn work great for most B2B companies, while Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram are quite suitable for consumer-facing organizations); then, make sure you’re being truly social. Resist the temptation to only churn out content – this is fine of course, but you should also be listening to others, and responding to them. Social media is about having conversations, not about shouting out your messages to whomever might be listening, and those conversations can actually teach you quite a bit about your space and especially your prospects and their needs.
5. Be accountable. I could be biased, but I happen to think that marketing automation is one of the best things that ever happened to marketers, not just because it’s made our lives easier, but mainly because it finally gave us the tools to measure campaigns and become accountable. Traditionally a bottomless pit, the marketing organization can now defend itself and its budget by drawing a fairly clear line between marketing campaigns and their results. In addition, measuring helps you fine-tune your efforts, weed out the failing campaigns and focus on successful ones.
6. Be efficient. Never do manually something that you can automate. Some tasks are just too error-prone when done manually, and managing a complex marketing campaign is certainly one of them. You have marketing automation software, right? Then use it. And if it’s too complex to use, consider investing in a simple, straightforward, affordable marketing automation system that you’ll actually end up using.
Want to be an awesome marketer? I have five words for you: respect, usefulness, sociability, accountability and efficiency. Oh, and two more that can link all of these together and make your life much, much easier: marketing automation.Google+