Anyone that took a marketing class in college was taught about the 4 P’s of marketing (product, price, place, promotion). And although the fundamental concepts are still valid, they just seem too out-of-date to teach without a lot of interpretation or translation for modern times. So I’d like to propose an update while sticking with the same letter “P” so we can still call it the “4 P’s of Marketing”.
There is one question that haunts every experienced marketing executive as it relates to spending money on demand generation: what is the optimal mix of demand gen marketing campaigns and if we have extra money to spend, where should we spend it and why? Lots of advanced marketing tools are available and new ones are released all the time. But none that I’ve seen exactly answer these questions and the reason is because optimizing your mix demand generation activities is just as difficult as optimizing your mix of personal investments (ie – stocks, bonds, real estate, CD’s, etc). So why not steal a concept from the investing world and apply it to marketing? I’m talking about Portfolio Theory.
Regardless of your ideal mix of demand generation programs, I’m willing to bet that most of them are designed to bring prospects to your website in the hopes of later converting them to a paying customer. It doesn’t matter if your solution is hardware or software and it doesn’t matter if your sales model is zero touch or requires full-blown field sales reps. The path to prospect conversion surely passes through your website at least 90% of the time.
If you agree, then also realize that even a perfect mix of demand generation programs can be totally destroyed if your website doesn’t do an effective job of facilitating conversion. In this context I’m using the word “conversion” in a generic sense because for some companies that might mean the prospect downloads a free trial while for other companies it might mean filling out a contact request form. But in all cases, I’m referring to the final desired action a prospect could take from the website along their path to becoming a paid customer.
Market leaders almost never compare themselves to competitors publicly because it gives their competitors legitimacy and potentially shows nervousness about them. But what if you’re #2, #3 or worse in your market in terms of market share or some other important attribute? Is it OK to compare yourself publicly to the market leader? If so, how direct or inflammatory should you be? Let’s explore further.
Wow has the world of marketing changed with the introduction of social media, marketing automation and other digital capabilities. Not only is the way we “do” marketing different but the organizational structure and roles are different. Just a decade ago, mid-sized and larger companies organized their marketing department along the lines of advertising, PR, partner marketing and product marketing. Now we see Internet marketing, inbound marketing, social media marketing, content marketing and marketing automation functions. Is PR dead, by the way? (see related article titled “PR is Dead – Or Is It?”).
Business prospects are now accustomed to taking themselves through 60% of the sales journey (see related article titled “Prospects Take Themselves Through 60% of the Sales Journey“) but at some point they commonly need a legitimate interaction with the company. Videos are more personal and engaging than white papers and case studies and they are certainly are an important asset for customer acquisition. But what else can you do for those prospects that want more interaction than a video but less than a phone call? Invite them to a webinar (aka webcast) and use this article to increase webinar attendance.
Thanks to HubSpot for this valuable explanation of what co-marketing is and what some of the common forms are (article here). One of my blog categories is devoted to business development (BD). BD relationships can take on many different forms but often involve some form of co-marketing as part of the partnership. Startups and early stage companies often don’t have the budget, brand recognition and marketing capabilities of their new-found strategic alliance partners. In these cases, co-marketing can be one of the best value drivers of the relationship.
Here are some of my personal recommendations for optimizing co-marketing opportunities: