As an experienced marketer who has worked in-house for a 100 person firm and most recently as a consultant, this is a question I hear frequently from clients, friends and referral sources. My answer 10 years ago would be quite a bit different than my response is today! So, are you wondering what changed?
Let’s take a look at what has changed and what today’s marketer should be prepared to tackle.
Before Social Media
Before social media exploded, the role of marketing was to identify target market segments, differentiate within those markets, and constantly communicate effective messages related to the firm and its products and / or services. The goal was simply to build brand awareness and to help the sales team be prepared for greater success. Marketing and sales had very different roles in the past, but always needed to collaborate to drive opportunities. Now, the two MUST work together to drive revenue and expand business even more!
After Social Media
Social media has had a profound effect: marketing and sales are no longer two distinct functions. Many professionals go so far as to say that today’s marketers are making the traditional sales role a bit “extinct.” Let’s explore what’s happened.
The basic principles of marketing, like client/prospect segmentation and key differentiation still apply, but using “me” focused messages (push marketing strategies) has been replaced with “you” focused communications (pull marketing strategies). Another term that is commonly used is inbound marketing (defined by Hubspot).
Through the internet and social media, people are taking charge of the messages they receive. They want to read relevant content and participate in thought-provoking and engaging conversation. With the astronomical growth of smart phones, today’s marketers have to be skilled at engaging and navigating various online platforms.
Savvy marketers are now moving target customers through the sales cycle sometimes all the way to close. According to ChiefMarketer.com, B2B buyers are moving as much as 70% of the way through the sales funnel before engaging with a sales representative. What is that saying about the power of marketing?
So today, you should expect your marketing professional or department to provide your sales team or leadership with warm sales leads, if not hot ones!
A staggering statistic from MarketingSherpa states that 79% of marketing leads never convert into an actual sale. Most often, lack of lead nurturing is the common cause of this poor statistic.
Do you have a marketing professional or team and need to assess their marketing capabilities, as they relate to building competitive advantage, raising visibility, and generating warm business leads?
Here are eight helpful questions to assess existing capabilities:
- Do you have a clear understanding of how your firm stands out from competitors? All firms need to have clarity around positioning and provide a value proposition.
- Does your marketing team / professional(s) embrace target marketing? (marketing to client segments for greater penetration)
- Is your firm implementing inbound marketing techniques, such as email marketing, search engine optimization, blogging, or social media? These techniques are proven to produce a higher ROI over higher-cost “old school” marketing methods, like advertising, direct mail, sponsorships.
- Are your existing marketing tools and technologies being evaluated constantly to increase online engagement with target audiences?
- Does your website generate leads?
- Is your professional / team providing proactive, strategic advice on your marketing initiatives and future direction?
- Are you focused on developing the skills of your firm’s “top dogs” through leadership training, social media etiquette, client development best practices, encouraging content generation and business development training?
- Do you have a strategic marketing plan for your firm? What about targeted plans for your industry segments? If so, how are you monitoring and measuring the success of these plans?
Marketing should not be seen as an overhead position / department anymore! Get yourself a savvy, up-to-snuff marketer and watch your top line grow.
Need help formulating what the position may entail, contact us today, we can help.