More than 15 years ago (wow I am getting old), I was part of a team that developed a simple but effective approach to running the marketing operations. The end goal of marketing of course is to generate business and as such at least be a driver of qualified sales leads.
We found out that the basis of (future) success has to do with a focus on four areas:
- Awareness: actions and activities aimed at making sure your target audience knows who you are, what you can do and has a positive attitude towards you
- Coverage: actions and activities aimed at making sure that you are in contact with your target audience, both through marketing and sales activities
- Consideration: generally the outcome of Awareness and Coverage
- Hitrate: actions and activities aimed at making sure you have the best ratio between sales opportunities and closed deals. Although this typically is the domain of sales, marketing can do an excellent job in developing tools (presentations, testimonials, whitepapers ….) that support sales in this phase of the selling cycle.
The formula is: A x C => C x H => Market share/Revenue
Although this formula is still true, modern times give the need for a somewhat different approach. I would argue that next to using terms as Awareness and Coverage, we introduce Attract and Convert in order to achieve Consideration.
The modern buyer makes a big part of his buying journey (around 70%) without direct contact with a vendor or sales person. Based upon information found (through search engines!) in blogs, social media, websites, forums etc., the buyer defines a short list of vendors and/or solutions he will consider. In order to get on the shortlist you need to be able to attract future buyers.
It is therefore vital to have a good “Attraction-strategy”. Based upon your target audience and the buying persona profile that you created, you decide upon the right online media to use and make sure that technology works for you. Next to this you need to develop the right content for the right stage in the buying journey of the buying persona’s you focus on. Marketing in this sense is the new sales. But next to marketing expertise, you should also consider looking at this from the point of view from a publisher and you might even see the need to add publishing professionals to your marketing team.
Attracting certainly is not enough. You have to convert the people that visit your website or social media to followers of your brand, solutions and content. They have to start thinking of you as an expert for their business (thought leader), so that when the need comes for a purchase you are considered. This “Conversion-strategy” is all about having tools, people and processes in place and the ability to use it in the right way. Tools such as CRM, Marketing Automation and Content are a must, but you also need to people to use the tools correctly and of course good processes for your marketing AND sales department. These have to work in an integrated way! Please do not forget that this is also the phase of ‘sharing’. Provide future buyers with relevant content and do not expect to get business straight away. Of course you need to find clever ways in order to get information from your visitors (no BANT questions please!), so you can give them more relevant information and make them come back. One day it will all pay back and instead of sharing you can start multiplying and adding new logo’s to your customer list. Isn’t that great!
So, I believe it is still all about ACCH. The focus however cannot only be on Awareness and Coverage, you need to pay careful attention to Attract and Convert in order to remain successful in the future.