It’s 10am. What is your marketing staff doing? Are they focused on business development or lead-generation activities? If lead-gen is the sole priority of your marketing team, that choice may be a talent focus that is short-changing your business growth efforts in other business areas.
While sales are critically important to growing companies, your company brand is built with non-sales activities, most of which can be improved with marketing support. What else can your Marketing department do to help grow your company and build your brand?
Remember: Your brand = how your company serves – with products or services, or both – those who it serves, and how the public perceives your company.
Right now the number one concern I hear about from manufacturers is their difficulty in hiring and retaining qualified workers, so that they can supply customers with their product or service. Have you considered how marketing support can strengthen your employer-branding initiatives? Successful employer branding starts with positioning your company as an employer of choice: Highlighting employee stories and successes; handling internal communications - often underestimated for helping to navigate change and retain employees.
Unlike your HR department, your Marketing department staff likely have experience negotiating media buys for the radio, billboard, print, and digital, all of which support employment outreach. Additionally, the Marketing department has expertise your HR department may not have for creating engaging and audience-focused content to support those media buys.
Lead generation is critical, but generally it’s more expensive to acquire new clients than to enhance your connection with current customers. Have you considered how marketing can grow your relationship with current clients?
Marketing can support customer retention and market expansion using a variety of strategies, starting with communicating to customers the full range of products and services your company offers. (Think about the value of doing additional business with 10-20% of your customers.) Your Marketing department might use their savvy to showcase customer success stories and new product offerings – whether this is done with videos or in case studies – while educating customers (and prospects) about available options. Your marketing team can determine if digital placement, direct email outreach, a mail campaign, or other tactic will support customer education and expansion efforts.
Additionally, market research with customers not only can reveal hidden opportunities, but also uncover potential pitfalls of product gaps that cause customer churn. Such research findings also enable marketing teams to create more relevant sales and service messaging.
Marketing can plan (or create) events for customers and prospects. Have you explored the strategic benefits to hosting or participating in an event? Brand events have many benefits: they increase visibility, reach a targeted audience, generate buy-in, develop community and relationships, create opportunity, and ultimately increase revenues. The Marketing department can determine the correct audience fit, and leverage resources and budgets while staying on brand. Marketing can even determine when a strategic sponsorship is a stronger play than event attendance.
Marketing can create brand interest via media placements and public relations exposure. Have you talked to your Marketing department about leveraging these reputation enhancing opportunities for your business and senior leadership? Growing your media exposure is a way to position your company as a knowledge leader within your industry. Reaching audiences through different types of media outlets, including print, radio, television or video, and websites, calls for a strategic initiative that the Marketing department is uniquely qualified to provide.
The Marketing department should be stewards of the brand. Have you considered what that means for how the rest of your company communicates? Marketing could be supporting all aspects of the communication, from the actual language used as building blocks of the brand to maintaining consistent visual brand identity. Benefits are twofold: This uniform presentation will help your company to become more recognizable in your industry, and this consistency will help to build trust with prospects and customers.
Instead of narrowly focusing your marketing staff on lead gen, it may be time to expand your vision of the ways marketing can support your business. That perspective change could be the smartest play to grow your business.
Alexandria Trusov is the Global Marketing Director at Alpha Resources and a B2B marketing consultant to manufacturers and other B2B companies. Contact her at [email protected] or visit www.truinsightsconsulting.com.