May 8, 2013
by Mark Bainbridge, Customer and Market Strategy Director, Velti
In the wider market, big client accounts are always shifting around and causing incumbents and prospective suppliers a lot of effort and palpitations—but the reality is (and as a former client I know this only too well) it’s all about shifting business around to get a better deal for less money. The margins are getting leaner, and the currency of mobile–the distributed device of consumer choice–has never been more relevant. Our own research is telling us:
- 58% of brands have yet to activate fully into the mobile channel; only 16% are 100% activated, only 10% use mobile to activate new customers, 9% to optimise campaigns or drive customer loyalty.
- The vast majority commits between 5-10% of their marketing budgets to mobile, but consumer device penetration is over 80% in market.
- Brands are losing sleep over the rate the shape of the mobile landscape is changing over the next 24 months—including evolving technology, mobile payments and mWallets.
What’s really interesting in this environment is going to be our behaviour as a business: clearly managing our strategy to provide client relevance and maintain profitability is key—and there is a shedload of new business to be had. Question is: how good are we at getting our basic pipeline in good shape? Do we wait for RFPs, or try to disrupt a bit of attention and create some appetite? As a market maker of 30 years, I think getting the brand proposition out there and engaging with customers and prospects is, and probably always will be, the most important objective of any business. Reputation (note:not the “R” word) is all we ever really have from an individual and corporate standpoint.
The “R” word
I had the pleasure of working a few years ago with a famous British General, who led land forces into some challenging theatres of operation, with an equally famous reputation for his interplanetary intellect. He was laser focused on the “R” word—it was, he believed, the very core of operational success, implying ownership and empowerment. It was, in his view, the key to winning wars, and that word was: responsibility. It belongs not to one man or woman, but to each of us.
So I have been mulling over the basics of responsibilities when it comes to business. A few years back I spent a year as an interim Group Marketing Director in trade event & publishing with one of the most fearsome B2B commercial engines I have worked with. As a B2C veteran, I had a real eye watering experience about the fundamental differences between B2C marketing & the precision and efficiency of a finely tuned and measurable B2B Sales and Marketing process. None of your profligate brand eye candy and wafty creative types—this was all about driving sales and client lead generation, it was a lean process that took no prisoners. I think we could all learn a thing or two from the underlying process model in which everyone knew their responsibilities and targets and, much like the Army, these guys worked in a team where respect for expertise, operational collaboration and the esprit de corps helped them to deliver regardless of the challenges of their markets.
Responsibility all begins with the humble prospect lead—arguably, leads are our most important commodity, whether these are sourced locally, brought in from brokers, delivered by marketing, introduced by networkers, or mapped against defined sectors and job roles with the highest propensity to buy product. Once we have built our lead data into an audience the key is to create a systematic campaign based on some form of insight proposition; an event invite, a survey, a seminar, a webinar, a free training or consultation session, each is designed to build a dialogue and engagement with prospects.
Get it right and over time you should expect a dialogue with over a third of the targets; but it doesn’t happen in one go, wave on wave of e-marketing with a frightening frequency needs to hit the data, causing unsubscribes and opt-ins of equal measure. Supported by new content at each mailing, along with PR, thump plans (detailed targeted proposals based around in-depth company insights), invitations to your own events; taking platforms at trade shows, social media discussions, white papers, thought leadership, new product launches all contributing valuable marketing content. And in the end, it all leads to one thing: a new business opportunity.
Then, it’s about the responsibility for the outbound call from a courageous sales head or telemarketer to open the door for a meeting at which the strategic commercial expert asks the business about what is causing them real angst – and then begins to set out the solution.
In this responsible B2B model everything is measured from spend and result so we focus only on the activities which are forensically and measurably shown to deliver result, and in the B2B instance, marketing and sales should be in total alignment, segmenting suspects, prospects and targets into tiers mapped to value and proposition, and we learn that what really works is building relationships.
When the “R” word is absolutely and clearly defined for all participants in the Sales, Marketing & Delivery process—everyone knows their part to play, exactly what they need to do, and trusts one another to play their part achieve the goals—then you have one helluva team…which is kind of the fundamental military principle which wins battles and wars.
So let’s get out there and do this right!