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Getting Marketing Smarter

Outbound marketing has already been revolutionized by the internet. For a relatively minimal cost, these activities can scale endlessly. However, outbound marketing only works if the internal marketing staff, policies, and procedures can produce the right products or services, with the appropriate messaging and positioning that will draw the prospective customer through the outbound activities. What has been lost in the “gold rush” frenzy to market over the internet is that there is a whole process of marketing a product or service that has not evolved as quickly as the outbound component and as a result cannot support the endless outbound activities growth.

Marketing has to start with a clear plan for developing the product or service, and establish communication and commitment within the entire company on its value. All departments, from finance to engineering, still have to march toward producing the product or service with the right messaging in order for the outbound marketing function to be effective. Without streamlining the processes then, the internal structure limits the outbound activities in number and effectiveness. If you answer yes to any of these questions, chances are your experiencing it first hand:

1. Does the product or service you are about to launch have an identified customer ready to buy?
2. Are you sure you have all the features you need to ensure the customer will buy immediately and do you know exactly what differentiation your product or service offers that will shift the market buying pattern on a sustainable basis?
3. Are all the resources needed for product launch committed, on the same page, and on target to complete their tasks?
4. Do you have any data that tells you what the expected return on investment should be based on the timing of your launch?

The solution is to innovate. By injecting new marketing techniques into the process, internal marketing development can reset with outbound marketing, and even keep pace! There are several areas where sensible and cost effective changes can make a difference:

1. Streamlined collateral development.: The attention span of most customers shortens by the minute as they get bombarded with more material every day. The first minute of their attention now determines whether they file your piece or invest more time reading on. Long cluttered material no longer gets read. The most critical area is presentation development, where the challenge for marketing professionals is to get all points across quickly and convincingly enough to cause the audience to take a positive action. The product or service presentation then must hit the mark and have a clear call to action.
2. Streamline product or service positioning tracking: The amount of on-line information available about products and services allows customers to do extensive research for relatively little cost. For marketers this means there has to be a laser focus on ensuring all required features for a product or service are available at launch. If you miss one, there is no sale. To manage this and be able to constantly communicate to all departments, marketing also needs to consolidate and condense the array of information into a simple to understand form.
3. Marketing must also more predictably determine the rate of innovation required to shift the buying patterns on a sustained basis. Add too little innovation, and your differentiation is too small to cause a big shift. Add too much innovation and you don’t get paid for the effort. Today marketers have to constantly manage the delicate balance of innovation with market need.
4. Embracing perpetual change: The role of marketing has always been to ensure that all resources are working on projects that will return the highest rates of returns for the company. But the sheer speed at which everything changes now means development processes have to be flexible to accommodate seemingly perpetual changes during a project. Marketers must also have a process that gives them the ability to swiftly re-assess priorities on a continual basis.
5. Gathering new information to better define what success means for a product or service. Strategic planning sessions today typically need to but often cannot effectively quantify the effect of launch scenarios that vary by launch date. But it is essential now so that teams can properly plan the optimal sequence and scenarios for launching products or services and maximize revenue and profits.

Summary

The rebalancing of internal marketing development activities to accommodate the rapid speed and breadth of audience that outbound marketing now can support is essential to increasing the return on marketing investments. Making sensible changes based on innovative new techniques allows internal marketing processes to transition with minimal disruption and to do so affordably.

Final Note

The reality today for many companies is that the challenges highlighted here are not just about the economic downturnFree Web Content, but are part of a necessary fundamental change in the way marketing departments must operate to keep up with outbound marketing opportunities. It is highly unlikely that the outbound frenzy will slow down any time soon. And so the changes recommended in this article should be viewed as permanent. There will never be enough marketing people in any company to keep up with the rate of acceleration of outbound marketing. The question now is how does a company get marketing smarter?

1 comments:

  Andrew

September 18, 2008 at 2:36 AM

Great post,

Marketing comprises all the actions a company or individual undertakes around creating, promoting and selling their products. Internet Marketing then means to use the Internet to either advertise or sell products/services with the help of the two most important Internet Marketing tools, websites and emails.
Or - stated extremely simplified - Internet Marketing is all about making money online.

Internet Marketing Dictionary