In my experience, many clients mistakenly believe that software is the “answer” to their marketing woes. Reality is, marketing automation software is no substitute for an effective strategy and tactics.
Now granted, some marketing software like Hubspot come with resources that can help your team develop and focus on inbound marketing best practices, starting with strategy. This is useful but you do not need to buy software to learn about best practices. In fact, if you do not have a solid strategy and plan in place, it will take time to develop that and you don’t want to pay for software that is just sitting there while you get your “marketing house” in order.
If you want to solve your marketing woes, first thing you need to do is take a step back and make sure that your strategy is fleshed out and is driven off of target audience insights. This point cannot be stressed enough because all too often, what’s missing is a clear, supported and compelling marketing strategy.
If you are struggling with marketing strategy, start by making sure you have answers to these key questions:
- Who is your target buyer? Is there more than one? How are they different? Role that each plays in buying decision?
- What are their pain points?
- What kind of information do they seek out at each stage of the buying journey? What keywords and phrases are they using most frequently through search engines?
- What content can you provide to help (not sell) them with their buying journey and does this ultimately tie back to value you offer through your products and services?
- How are you uniquely positioned within the market? What is your edge?
- What stories do you want customers to tell about you? How does that line up with what they are saying now?
- Do you know how to garner needed trust in the marketplace – what emotions are you focused on and how are you triggering those with how you communicate and serve customers?
If strategy is not the issue, what about your plan? Are you focused on age-old marketing tactics that are no longer effective in today’s marketplace given fundamental changes in buyer behavior?
For example, are you still making cold calls or sending (snail) mail? Have you noticed how the effectiveness of these tactics is shrinking over time? Are you interrupting people with ad messages that fail to get through to your prospects because messages are ill-timed and your ad CTA does not resonate with what buyers are responding to today?
There is no question that buyers have changed! With tools like google at their disposal, empowered buyers ignore interruptive advertising because they want useful information to help them with their buying decision. Vast majority of buying decisions today begin with search. It’s useful, easy to do and leads to better buying decisions. Reality is, buyers get most of the way through their buying journey before they even reach out to a vendor today. If your marketing plan does not align with the realities of the todays marketplace, you’re wasting a lot of money trying to reach people who are not interested in being reached.
It’s entirely possible that even with a well thought out strategy and plan, your marketing is still coming up short. Why?
There are many different marketing executional blunders that can dampen your marketing results. For example, is your web site useful and easy to navigate? Is it designed with today’s buyer in mind? Your site needs to be your best lead generator and that begins with a focus on it being useful to your buyers. What lead gen tactics are deployed through your site so that prospects can deepen their engagement with you? A good looking site is nice but it is not what will drive your business forward, on its own.
What about email? Are you sending targeted content at the right time? How do you know, are you measuring results? Have you segmented your email database by persona and where they are in their buying journey? Too often, businesses wear out their email database with ill-timed and non-targeted messages that only serve to harm their relationship with prospects, not deepen it.
So as you can see, there are many potential marketing pitfalls at the root of why your marketing is not working as intended.
So when is the right time to jump on marketing software? The best time to jump on board is when you have your marketing processes all lined up against a solid strategy and you follow a repeatable process to execute and refine your marketing approach over time. At this stage, marketing software can help you accelerate your cycles and provide additional insight into what is working and what is not working and why. Marketing software is just a tool that requires someone to drive it. So if you are not driving your marketing efforts today with solid discipline, the addition of a tool will not help!
Contact us for a free 30-minute consultation.