Last week I blogged about our Playbook #1 – Positioning. This week we flow seamlessly into Playbook #2 Marketing. Let’s assume you are comfortable with your positioning. You have created a compelling story but now you have to bring the message to market and create quality leads for your sales force.
Here are 23 tactics our Marketing Playbook embraces:
- Marketing departments are lead generation machines. They need targets, metrics, and driven to achieve them.
- We need to acknowledge that Attention is now the huge rarity factor. We need to realign our thinking around attracting attention with remarkable content. We need to translate our inspiring story, our boilerplate of who we are and the business results or value we deliver for our customers into marketing collateral that compels prospects to act.
- Identify the Persona that represents the likely user of your product and tell their story. Make it feel that you are directly talking to their world. An example might help. Imagine a software group focused on managing digital content wants to launch a new product to monitor breaches to web site policies eg your web site has broken links, or contains out of date material or it breaches your web site policy for the visually impaired. Who cares about these issues within your prospect, who loses sleep if the link on the web site doesn’t go to the white paper? Perhaps the content on the web site say in the pharmaceutical sector contains misleading instructions. Who gets the call? Who would really appreciate a software product that automatically alerts for breaches? That’s Persona thinking. Identify not just the target company but the managers within it who care about the issues you are solving.
- Identify the sectors you want to dominate. Sector thinking brings a focus to your story telling. Our client ADMET is a manufacturer of materials testing equipment. When dealing with the Biomedical sector the vocabulary of bone screws is totally different from a discussion of foam properties for the automotive industry.
- Create Business Results Sheets that translate the story into specific results you can achieve for customers. Separate sheet for each product or product range. These sheets need to be created with deep knowledge of the customer’s world. You want to articulate the symptoms that will be present on your customer’s site that indicate your solution is relevant e.g.
- Symptom -Supply chain costs are rising – you offer a service to review the product lifecycle to take costs out of the system.
- Symptom – Software bugs are causing huge cost over-runs and deadlines to be missed – you offer an intuitive code analyzer tool to trap bugs earlier in the process and allow corrections.
- Symptom – Your mobile workforce are operating inefficiently trying to process paperwork in the field – you offer mobile software and services to allow cell phones to become transaction processors. Please note these Business Results Sheets will not only identify the symptoms but importantly the consequences of these symptoms persisting e.g. fines, loss of business.
- All marketing collateral needs to articulate how the prospect could use the product in their business today. Instant gratification. Use videos, case studies, blogs, white papers, whatever it takes to make it clear how a prospect derives value from your product. So many products fail the compelling usage tests. Having great capabilities is not enough.
- Also because of their deep knowledge of the market the marketing team will produce excellent competitor cheat sheets highlighting why you are unique. The key is to identify the essence of your competitors and why your solution solves a problem theirs does not.
- Audit your SEO results and drive strategies to improve your rankings. Engage an SEO consultant for top results.
- Use Google analytics, Hubspot type metrics management tools to measure your success and continue to drive improvements.
Specifically for Professional Services Businesses this next list is particularly effective but they also work for product businesses:
- Great writing enables prospects to understand the unique insights and experience of your practice.
- Marketing collateral is very rarely great journalism but it should be.
- As Malcolm Gladwell writes about in The Tipping Point, ideas spread because of stickiness (compelling story), contagiousness (why the messenger is unreasonably important), context (human beings are ultra sensitive to their environment).
- Attention is the rarity factor so content better be remarkable.
- Tone down the selling and tone up the total value to the reader.
- Your words are your product to most prospects.
- Separate the idea from the writing. Scope it, outline it, state the problem, show the real symptoms, describe the solution in a story that sounds authentic and describe the results actually achieved.
- Make follow on action by prospects frictionless and attractive.
- Talk to personas, specific people not companies. Translating domain expertise into personal performance improvements of your prospects.
- Understand the type of narrative you are creating and adjust your style accordingly – promotional, explanatory, educational, developmental (Bloom Group)
- Remember, only 2 reasons buyers don’t buy: I don’t have this problem and I don’t believe your solution. (Money can always be found for attractive projects)
- Laconic writing is easier to pass on and share.
- All communication must repeat the same big insights with each piece of prose consistent with those messages. (Seth Godin is world class at it)
- Simplification, bringing meaning to the signals is a powerful selling tool.