While some marketing strategies are tried and true, there are others that linger on for no apparent reason aside from the ease of repetition and fond reflections of how things were done "back in the day." Let's get real. Many of these strategies are not only tired, but completely ineffective as well. And what's worse? Many of us are still clinging to them. Let's prepare to bid adieu to these strategies once and for all, and finally let them go the way of the PSA. Here's a look at three of the main offenders and why they must be crossed off of your 2013 marketing plan.
You're treating the number of leads generated per month as your success metric
Oh, marketers. When will we learn to heed mom's advice and realize that quality really does matter more than quantity? Anyone can go out and get thousands of leads, so it's time to stop thinking this equals success. Think of it this way: If you base a marketer's quota or bonus on a desired number of leads accrued in a certain period of time, that's the exact number of leads you will probably get. But, if you base compensation on the actual dollars that result from that marketer's efforts, you will get a different breed of marketer and a refreshing spike in the quality of leads captured. Why? Because you're forcing that person to think about customers, not name acquisition, and give more weight to the substance of leads over the sum total -- which culminates beautifully in the end as more buyers.
Any savvy CEO won't buy that a mere number of leads in the system means revenue and won't count numbers alone as "wins." More leads actually mean more work -- and more work from an expensive resource at that. A true win comes from intentional, strategic lead harvesting that is likely to end up manifesting as a high percentage of actual buyers. By proactively holding yourself accountable for revenue, you will win the trust of your CEO and position yourself as a marketing guru and real leader who cares about results. Focus on conversions, or progress along the nurture track, as your key success metrics and don't look back at lead generation alone.
You're using marketing automation like an email blasting tool
News flash: Marketing automation platforms are not email platforms, and they're certainly not designed to be the vehicle for unleashing a flurry of mass emails. Feature-rich marketing automation platforms are created for much more than flooding your buyers' inboxes with promotional materials, and their powerful functionality is actually weakened if you use them exclusively in this way. Not to mention, you're pouring money down the drain. You can find far simpler and cheaper tools for email marketing if your goals are to merely send emails and gather metrics around deliveries, opens, and clicks. Don't waste your time or money on an expensive, robust marketing automation tool if you just want basic outbound utilities.
We're still in the stages where marketing automation is an investment -- and one that needs to be repeatedly proven to execs in order to keep its footing within our overall marketing strategy. It may be hard to hear, but you'll have an incredibly difficult time justifying the expense of marketing automation to your boss if the only thing you can show after six months of use is how many emails you've sent. Not to mention, you'll also have a high unsubscribe rate, thanks to the influx of careless, haphazard emails you've pumped out without thought. Don't be that marketer, and don't use marketing automation in this way.
You're letting leads die on the vine because they don't naturally progress
The "funnel" represents a crucial part of marketing automation, and it's a concept we all understand. But if you're engaging in lifecycle marketing, you need to ditch the idea of a literal, one-way funnel and everything that goes along with it. When it comes to lifecycle marketing, the movement of leads can be unpredictable. They can travel in any (or every) direction based on interest and are not limited to the typical downward progression. If you abandon them simply because their activity isn't following the funnel formation you're used to, you're missing huge opportunities to get leads to move along other, successful paths.
Buyers purchase solutions based on need and trust, and the intersection of those two points is timing. Take the time to structure your nurture strategy so that buyers receive relevant messaging based on their behavior and the persona they exhibit; and trust that they will progress down the desired path eventually -- but not necessarily in a straight line. If the buyer changes course, follow them. There's no reason to force a lead into a bucket they don't want to be in, which will ultimately disconnect them from your brand and disillusion them from continuing to engage with you. Be patient with them now, and you will see the rewards later.
When you are ready for revenue marketing -- in other words, success based on dollars as a result of efforts -- you've graduated to real marketing. The beauty of the vast marketing methods available today lies beyond the basic email blast, past using success metrics that paint an inaccurate picture, and in remembering to nurture leads wherever they are. Keep this in mind, and you'll still be the same savvy marketer you are -- just more effective and even a bit smarter.
Justin Gray is CEO and chief marketing evangelist at LeadMD.
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