‘Random acts of marketing’ is one of those concepts that everyone understands the moment they hear the phrase. It’s common across all types of businesses, small and large. These dubious campaigns take place mainly because they seem a good idea at the time. The problem is they often have neither strategy behind them nor much in the way of impact measurement.
For smaller businesses, we believe these ‘events’ occur because of the sheer number of marketing tactics available. The marketing toolbox is like an Aladdin’s cave, and business owners spot a shiny new approach they’ve not used before and jump on it. We’ve analysed this and identified 73 different marketing tactics businesses can discover. So no wonder random acts of marketing show up frequently.
However, for larger businesses it’s different. In this environment, we believe it’s more about the need to juggle multiple stakeholders and their often competing demands. And depending on how noisy some are, focus and prioritisation can slip and force a carefully crafted marketing plan off track.
Still, regardless of all that, there is always one thing in this world you can be sure of; marketing is a hungry monster and will consume as much resource and time as you allow it to. The secret is to know how to tame it.
So, how do you avoid random acts of marketing showing up in your business?
You have three key tools at your fingertips to prevent random acts of marketing becoming a problem.
Have you written down, with sufficient detail, your target customer persona or avatar? Without a written customer persona, there is no yardstick against which to gauge whether a particular marketing activity will be right for the people you are looking to influence.
Customer personas fail for two main reasons; they are either are too high level, or the information within them isn’t relevant. For example, consider demographics and interests. Both are common sections of a customer persona, but neither offer much value to the B2B seller. Instead, for B2B businesses, the focus should be on their customer’s challenges, their worries, their purchase criteria, and the jobs they need to get done.
Most businesses will have at least three customer personas representing the different target markets, products, and services the business sells.
When you have your customer personas documented, they then become a guiding beacon to everyone in the business on how and when to engage a customer. Answering the question ‘is this event/campaign/tactic going to work for this type of customer?’ becomes a lot easier and more straightforward.
Do you understand how someone, who has never heard of your business, acquires the right information to make a purchase and then become a revenue generating customer? And do you know what it takes to propel them onwards to becoming a raving fan of your products or services? If you don’t, then you need to map their customer value journey.
Mapping the journey a customer takes, as they consider buying from you, is the single most powerful activity you can do before spending any money on marketing. Carrying out this process means you can offer the right types of content and marketing to a customer at just the right time.
What sits behind this potent concept is the fact that sequencing matters. Think of it like proposing marriage to someone on the first date. It’s just never going to work. So instead, you have several dates, perhaps you meet each other’s families, and you might then live together for a bit. Only after all that, and going through certain stages, do you then propose marriage.
The way human relationships develop personally reflects how they develop in a business context. The same principles apply. So it’s important to sequence your marketing activity in a way that your customer has time to develop their confidence and eagerness in what you offer, and isn’t put off by an early proposal!
What gets measured gets improved. It’s just one of those things. And we’d say, therefore, that depending on the length of your sales cycle, capturing marketing metrics on a monthly basis is a minimum, and a weekly process is a must for those businesses with a shorter sales cycle.
The ideal solution is to start using a marketing dashboard. A good dashboard will contain actionable metrics that help you to test out assumptions. It will enable you to ask questions like, ‘how many leads should we be getting a month?’, and, ‘what is a good conversion rate?’. And it will become easy to discover answers to those questions as you build a picture of how the sales and marketing process works in your business.
Another significant benefit to using a dashboard is that identifying low performing activities becomes clear-cut. You’re then able to stop those things that are consuming resources but not delivering much in terms of outcomes to the business. Plus it also helps to establish a data-driven culture where facts not opinions drive decisions.
You’ll be reassured to know that, between them, these three activities will help reduce the chances of random acts of marketing turning up in your business. No longer will you feel that you are throwing darts at a dartboard in a pitch-black room; instead you’ll start celebrating bulls-eyes again and again. Your marketing will feel consistent and deliberate. The outcomes your marketing generates will become predictable and profitable. And you will start to see a clear picture of the contribution and impact marketing is having to your bottom line.
If you have a suspicion that random acts of marketing are occurring in your business and would like to see more outcomes, and impact, from your investment, then book a call with us. We run a free 90-minute ‘double-your-sales’ workshop, which will uncover new opportunities and optimise your existing plans. Plus, just as importantly, you’ll discover how to wave goodbye to those pesky beasts.
30th March 2021