And there’s all kinds of marketing we can talk about. Sure, mass marketing still has its place and there’s some value to it. If you make a lot of noise, the more noise you make the luckier you get. If you make more noise and the right noise, things happen so try to be a bit daring.
Do you remember HTC? At one point they made more phones than Apple, their strapline was “quietly brilliant”. Their marketing director acknowledged that they hadn’t been “loud enough” in the market place and sure enough they haven’t made phones since 2018. Do you know who has been making a lot of noise? Samsung.
Business has only two basic functions - marketing and innovation
Marketing is allowing people to see the value of things. The aim of marketing should be to make selling easier.
Yes, I want you to optimise your funnels, make sure the bottom of the funnel is great. I want you to do more things that big businesses can’t do (or won’t do) to make a little noise and be a bit famous. What I don’t want you to do is to think that you need to give more of your product or service, to have superior service and be cheaper to be competitive. You don’t. What you need is marketing.
Look at where people, your audience, your aligned clients first meet you. Look at the journey they go on getting to know, love and trust you. Look at the end (or start) of your relationship as service provider and client to find ideas to wow. What would someone love that they’re not expecting? Look for negatives in feedback and look at how you can switch things up.
In December gone, we went to the Sierra Nevada mountain resort for my birthday weekend. We arrived, checked in to our hotel which was gorgeous. Five minutes after getting into our suite there was a knock at the door and I was surprised with Champagne, delightful sweets and a signed card from the hotel manager wishing me happy birthday in English as well. Did I share that with my socials and tell all my friends and family about it? You betcha I did. Did I care that we had a surprise bill for €54 for parking? Not really, I’m still talking about my birthday treats.
The role of marketing
There’s no argument how difficult and hard businesses have had it in the last few years. The ones who have navigated these choppy waters are the ones where their marketing, sales, products or services and customer experience are aligned. You could say they’re a synchronised swimming team, found balance and invested in these functions working together.
Let’s talk about the role of marketing in your business which is to get and keep new clients.
Marketing must build trust
Fred Reichheld, the author of Winning On Purpose and the creator of the Net Promoter System so poignantly says, “Without trust, there can be no loyalty – and without loyalty, there can be no true growth.”
This quote highlights how crucial trust is for your potential clients. Yet many businesses don't seem to grasp how trust is created in the first place. This isn't something you shove into a strapline as part of your rebranding exercise and it's not something reserved for consumer brands either.
Research from Forrester outlines seven levers of trust: accountability, competencies, consistency, dependability, empathy, integrity and transparency. How you build these levers into your marketing, sales and delivery to your clients will be a unique blend. However, working on them will turn trust into something almost tangible. I’d use those as a checklist and see how each one is playing out in your marketing.
Marketing must add value
I should caveat that by adding value I don’t mean providing more than what’s expected, although that’s a great strategy too. I’m talking about marketing that adds value to your audience or your prospective clients by entertaining, educating or enriching their lives in some way. Educational-based content is one of the most powerful ways to reach your audience. When you educate, you build rapport (and trust). When you go straight in for the sell, you break rapport.
Marketing must grab attention
Duh! The word advertising in Latin is ‘advertere’ which literally means to turn the mind. In my coaching programs, I teach a lot about writing a brand bio that sells, smoking gun headlines and putting a lot of emphasis on creating a proposition that attracts your aligned clients and meets them where they are.
The key to grabbing attention is making your marketing about them. It’s about your audience, it’s about your aligned clients. You want to be talking about their pains, their problems and not your pitch or your service (which I’m sure is amazing but no one cares).
The target audience for your product or service is typically asking themselves one of three questions. What might those questions be? I urge you to schedule some thinking time on this and make sure that you are integrating this into your marketing messaging.
To help you out, I’ll share with you what my clients are typically asking themselves before we work together.
How do I get more clients for my business (who are the right fit)?
How can I grow more consistent revenue in my business (and predictability)?
How do I get out of the weeds and the day to day of my business (and have more freedom)?
I dare you to go look at your LinkedIn profile, the header of your website, your copy and see if it’s about you or is it about your client and the questions they are asking? If it is about your aligned client, 10 points to you. You’re on the right track.
Marketing must sync your business
That’s a weird thing to say and it sounds weird out loud. In Forrester’s 2021 Global Marketing Survey they asked senior marketers what was most needed to support marketing. 35% of responses (which was the top response) said “improving marketing alignment with other functions.” I couldn’t agree more.
In businesses of all sizes, product or service-based, B2B or B2C there are multiple strategic activities going on. The business goals, the financial forecasting, strategies for service delivery and sadly sales and marketing planning still happen in parallel universes. The function of marketing must serve to align the business.
It starts by looking into capacity, service delivery, customer experience and ensuring that a collaborative approach done with marketing can succeed as they’re better working together than in silos (and working together can improve ROI and the cost of client acquisition).
To highlight the importance of marketing syncing the business, I’m going to share an example of a client’s business but I have to keep things confidential. The business has a solid 8 figure revenue, although things were declining ever so slightly year on year for three years. What’s transpired is that sales want to push products that have a quicker sales velocity, customer service has cost centres increasing because of issues with those products and marketing is focusing on emerging markets that sales aren’t ready for. A cohesive understanding of the best revenue-generating products, resources, capability and growth markets is needed to get the team in sync and have revenues growing, not declining. It’s important for teams and functions to develop an optimal path to profit together.
Marketing’s role must keep clients (not just find new ones)
Continuing to work with existing clients rather than relying on always finding new ones allows businesses to grow faster and become permanently profitable. Whilst I am not always a fan of retainer models, there is a right way to build recurring revenue models. There are many strategies to increase spending and frequency of spending. They require a focus on the client, their needs and developing solutions to fit.
There you have it, my current view of the role of marketing in a modern agency, consultancy or service-based B2B business.
It’s important to establish solid foundations and work on where there is already momentum in marketing efforts. It’s going to be more pivotal than ever to lean into demand generation and work harder to understand your clients’ expectations. Showing that you understand them on an intimate level. (You did it, you went there didn’t you dirty little tinker).
Keep working on lead generation, measure your marketing and add refreshed focus on your clients’ experience and may you find your competitive edge in your pig-headed determination to add value to your audience.
As you’re making your marketing plans, if I can support you or help you move forward further faster DM me on social with the word GROWTH or email me email@example.com and let’s book in a free strategy call.