Healthcare Marketing Trends and Tips for 2020

So, you are considering which are the best healthcare marketing ideas and top trends for 2020?

You want a progressive medical marketing plan that will set your practice apart, highlight its uniqueness, and attract ideal clients at scale.

This guide will show you 14 ways to market your medical practice, a clinic, a hospital in 2020 that are sure to convert.

One thing to note right from start: offline and online marketing methods are converging. What’s more, you’ll want to combine both strategies to win at medical practice marketing in 2020.

For example, local SEO techniques will continue to be a lucrative marketing technique for local practices that want to attract foot traffic through the door for both general consultations and treatment procedures.

Without further ado, here are effective techniques to add to your medical practice marketing plan starting immediately.

 

Use Live Video and Podcasts +

Wyzol made an interesting finding sure to concern any healthcare marketing plan for 2020.

96% of respondents said they’d watched an explainer video to learn about a brand’s service or product.

Perhaps you have a new medical procedure you are offering that the competition isn’t. Maybe it’s a new medical device that makes procedures safer, making a diagnosis more accurate, or your healthcare services quicker.

Show it in the video. But even more effective in 2020 will be hosting scheduled live videos, video podcasts, and streaming live events.

More people want to interact with your medical practice more directly.

They want to ask relevant questions they can get instant answers to during a live video.

See your practice establishing itself as an authority in your region because you offer practical advice on live videos—and at a convenient time.

And it’s never been easier to host a live video event. YouTube, Facebook. LinkedIn. Instagram. Twitter. Even Amazon. All these platforms now support live video.

Live video and podcasts are bringing an even more interactive edge to social healthcare marketing. Consider using this channel in 2020 to endear your medical practice to your target audience.

 

Use These Video Marketing Tips for Healthcare in 2020  +

About 68% of people said they’d prefer watching a short video to learn about a service or product.

Compare that to text-based articles (15%), infographics (4%), pitches and presentations (4%), and ebooks and manuals (3%).

Medical Marketing Plan - Video Content Preferences Statistics

Source: 2019 video marketing statistics – Wyzol

So, video marketing will continue to soar in 2020.

For your healthcare video marketing, you can use interactive, animated, and screen recorded demo videos.

That way, you can help leads to ask you questions about your practice, understand how you conduct a procedure, and how to use your medical practice app to make an appointment, payments, etc., respectively.

Another thing:

In recent times, the trend has been to share short-form videos.

In 2020 and beyond, using long-form video will become even more attractive.

Longer videos mean you have more people sticking around to get all the juicy health advice you have to offer—and often for free.

Search engines equate readers sticking around on a particular piece of healthcare content to valuable content it should rank high up in search results.

And the higher your ranking the more organic traffic you will attract to your website, blog, or brick-and-mortar clinic or hospital.

Video Marketing Tip 1: While it’s a good idea to only share videos on your YouTube and Vimeo channels, the above trick will work best when you embed videos on your website or within your blog’s text posts.

Video Marketing Tip 2: Before making a video go to Ubersuggest website and type in the topic your video is going to be about. Find the right keyword with the most search volume that is closely related to your topic. Use this exact keyword in the video title, in the video description and pronounce this exact keyword during your video multiple times.

Video Marketing Tip 3: Did you know that you can get your video or audio transcribed for less than $1 per minute? Do it with Trint or Scibblr and your videos will get a lot more views and engagements. Use captions in your videos too.

 

Simulcast +

Speaking of all those platforms…

You’ll want to present your case in front of a large audience to increase the number of leads at the top of your funnel.

But not only can it be expensive to create custom healthcare content marketing for all online marketing channels, but it can also take too much time and cripple your progress.

So Eric Siu and Neil Patel, two big names in digital marketing, recommend simulcasting.

Simulcasting is all about breaking up one piece of content, say a quality, useful video, into chunks suitable for sharing on different channels—online and off.

Tip 1: Multichannel online marketing will help you become visible to more potential clients by presenting your medical practice’s value proposition wherever they are. Simulcasting will make your marketing cheaper, more effective, and consistent across various channels.

 

Healthcare Ads: Online Paid Search and Media Buying +

Ten years ago, Facebook and Google weren’t big on paid advertising.

They are now, from selling any kind of advertising one could even imagine.

What you want is to get in front of a highly-targeted audience that is more ready to accept your medical calls to action at the right time.

So if somebody is typing “Rhinoplasty Denver Cost” into Google Search Bar you need to be in a position to be seen by that person.

Google generates almost $30 billion from the Ads every 3 months.

That’s because Google Ads can still be an inexpensive customer acquisition channel, for Medical Practices included. More Medical Practices now want you to advertise with Google than ever before.

Facebook Ads is becoming a really expensive marketing channel if you don’t get things right. Most of the Marketing “Gurus” will promise that Facebook and Instagram Ads for Medical Practices are the best for advertising.

But it’s not true.

The Leads from Facebook Ads don’t show up to the Clinics in 70% of cases. Is this is taken into account, Facebook and Insta become expensive if you track the conversions up to the number of sales.

Facebook and Instagram Ads are great for remarketing though. Choosing the Doctor for surgery is a tough decision.

That’s why potential patients visit the website and leave without talking to Clinics. To make sure your clinic is on the top of their mind for some time, you must show up in your potential patients’ Facebook and Instagram feeds.

Do it with Remarketing solutions widely available. The only prerequisite to this option is decent online traffic to your website already, from Ads, Organic Search or Direct online visits.

Top medical online directories (webmd.com or yelp are good examples) where you could consider advertising. However, for most medical clinics the SEO and Google Ads provide a better return on marketing investment.

The good thing about these ad campaigns is they are scalable, measurable, and according to multiple marketing surveys, effective.

You can spend as much or little as you want. Just pay per click. You can direct the clicks, calls, questions, and traffic back to a custom landing page.

You can measure the return on investment based off of incoming traffic from a specific ad, keyword, campaign, and medium of advertising used.

The only big disadvantage of the Paid Search Ads is the lack of long-term effect. You stop running Ads, you disappear from your audience’s radar. Completely gone.

While with SEO you build up the won asset that brings you targeted online traffic for a long time at no extra cost.

Healthcare Ads Tip 1: Use SimilarWeb’s free analytics tool to find out what your competition is doing to get more warm leads, make more sales, and get ahead of you. Then use those tactics yourself to achieve similar or better results.

Healthcare Ads Tip 2: Use iSpionage to see what Google Ads your competition is running, how much they spend and how well they are doing. That information is pure GOLD.

Healthcare Ads Tip 3: 72% of businesses run online Ads inefficiently by the latest statistics. By paying a specialized Agency with Google Partner badge you typically add to your cost but also bring a lot better return for your Clinic. So it’s worth it.

 

Improve Your Healthcare Referral Marketing +

Picture these:

But some doctors feel business referrals have been on a decline. While there are no clear studies to back this up, it could be for several reasons.

Some lament it is out of concern surrounding insurance scams, greedy liaison programs in healthcare, and concern that the referee may not get proper service.

So, what can you do to improve your medical referral marketing results in 2020?

And do so right after you perform a successful procedure. That’s when your customer is most excited about your product or service.

Follow up with the customer to see if they made the referral.

Ask if you can make it easier for them to make that referral by writing a referral draft.

If they agree, send it to them through email or text message. You’d be making it easier for them to spread your positive medical practice message around, so do it.

For physician-to-physician referrals, only ask for referrals from PCPs or specialists aligned to what you do to ensure you only get the kind of patients you can help.

By referring back patients that are highly relevant to your partner’s medical practice. You don’t want either of you sued for malpractice.

An incredible 25-50% of physicians do not know if a patient got treatment to a healthcare facility they referred them to. Don’t be like that in 2020 and you’ll build genuine, long-term relationships when patients and partners realize you care.

Every. Singe. Time. 70% of specialists complain that most referrals are not accompanied by accurate health information to aid in making sound decisions.

Keep in mind, 80% of serious healthcare blunders occur due to poor communication during care transitions.

To cultivate a professional yet emotional connection with other doctors in your referral marketing network, physically meet and get to know each other and each other’s medical practice strongpoints and causes for concern so you can seek solutions together

Send a thank-you note for a referral, too. And if it’s the first time they are referring a client to your practice, meet up for lunch (on you) or a handshake to demonstrate your appreciation

So do invite primary caregivers into your network

Applying these patient and doctor referral marketing tips will help your medical practice gain more warm leads ready to become your clients with just a bit more lead nurturing. Trust is EVERYTHING in medical practice patient acquisition. So build it up.

 

Use Retargeting in Healthcare Marketing Campaigns  +

Here’s the thing:

About 92% of your medical practice website visitors will not convert to customers on the first visit.

Unfortunately, when they leave your website, statistics have shown visitors rarely come back to the same website. So how do you regain the attention and potential business of bounced visitors in 2020?

That’s where retargeting comes in.

Also known as remarketing, retargeting is a newer digital marketing method. Here’s how retargeting works:

Remarketing is a cookie-based technology. You or your developer places a pixel (simple code) on your healthcare website. The code doesn’t jumble down your site’s performance. It isn’t meant to be obtrusive to your website visitors, either, although they don’t know it’s there.

When a customer visits your site for the first time, the pixel generates an anonymous browser cookie.

Even if your visitor leaves your website without taking the desired action, the pixel will follow them across the web, displaying your relevant ads to them even if they are browsing a different site.

While the average click-through rate for a Google Search Ad is 0.07%, that of a retargeted ad is 0.7%. That’s a clear indicator retargeting can help you attract more warm leads and convert more of those to customers.

And did you know Facebook retargeted ads are 76% more likely to get clicks than regular ads?

So, retargeting acts a bit like referral marketing—and offers some similar benefits, too.

When a prospect makes contact with you by visiting your online platforms, they demonstrate interest.

So they are likely to click on an ad back to your site because it all feels more familiar to them than conducting a new search.

Remarketing increases the number of visits hence trust-building and lead-nurturing opportunities you can have with them. That, in turn, increases their likelihood of converting to customers on subsequent visits.

Here are some retargeting tips for healthcare you can start using immediately:

You’ll provide multiple touchpoints where your target customer can interact with your ads, messaging, videos, and other forms of information to help you nurture them to become a trustful customer.

Show relevant ads or content to the bounced visitor for between 2 and 4 weeks. If they still won’t visit your website, maybe it’s time to focus on other leads.

But if they do, redirect the lead to the most relevant landing page(s). The best retargeting software helps webmasters to recognize the visitor’s initial intent based on their behavior on your online platforms.

So it can serve the visitor relevant information when he or she decides to continue their search on your landing page or website.

You probably already know using multiple channels to marketing your practice yields higher conversions.

Adding remarketing to your marketing arsenal can help you sell up to 50% more medical products or services, according to a Google retargeting report.

You’ll want to keep a keen interest in privacy policy updates such as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and the California Consumer Privacy Act for a guidebook on prudent retargeting techniques that don’t turn invasive for your target market.

If you are wondering if you can use Google retargeting ads, the answer is a fat “No”. Google recently revised its privacy policy and banned healthcare retargeting to protect searchers from privacy data abuse.

Try retargeting on other platforms such as Facebook instead.

 

Healthcare SEO: Organic Traffic

Organic Traffic 🔝🔝🔝 is still one of the top inbound healthcare marketing channels. Period.

Now that we’ve mentioned organic traffic. Search engine optimization will continue to influence how your customers do the research and find a medical practice.

What we see often is one major mistake the Clinics make. They go after general search terms, e.g. “Is LASIK dangerous”, “Rhinoplasty Before and After”, without localizing the search terms. This way they get organic traffic nationwide. What the Clinic needs to do instead is double down on Local Search Terms, e.g. LASIK San Antonio, Rhinoplasty Orlando, etc.

The money is in Local SEO! Both Google Maps listings and Organic Search Results (SERPs).

Local SEO marketing will continue to expand and offer more walk-in traffic-based business in 2020.

For example, if you aren’t already using Google My Business, you need to in 2020. Website traffic from GMB grew a chunky 29% and direct searches by 38% between Q4 2017 and Q4 2018, according to BrightLocal.

And maybe you already use GMB. But is your GMB profile optimized for your medical practice SEO marketing plan?

Over the years, organic traffic has been the highest business driver for online businesses. Recently, optimizing your online marketing for successful local SEO continues to bear fruit—and will continue to in 2020 for healthcare services.

Prudent keyword research and application, useful content that seeks to provide value before asking for value back (inbound marketing), and consistent, quality content production and placement where your ideal clients frequent will help you draw more leads to your funnel.

Tip 1: Of note is the growing number of “near me” search queries. People want to know which is the nearest quality medical center, especially when faced with an emergency scenario. For example, people who’ve dealt with chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and elderly people would be interested in your services. Optimize for “Near me” terms.

Tip 2: Try this. Search for “Procedure/Service (LASIK, Drugs Rehab, Urgent Care, etc.)” + “City Name”. Open the top 5 results and compare the Content. If your web page has slim content and doesn’t mention the Procedure and City in Headings and Paragraphs enough, you won’t be able to compete. So if your competitor has 2 keywords in the Headings and 5 in the Paragraph copy, you need to have at least the same number, or just a little more.

Tip 3: Your Google My Business (Google Maps) listing position depends on many factors. The distance from Searcher to your Clinic you can’t control. All the rest you can. Tackle the major ones. (a) ask your happy patients to leave a review on GMB with the name of the procedure, with location and with your clinic name inside the copy of the review, (b) check if the Clinic Name, Address and Phone Number (NAP) is the same across all business directories you are listed on and it matches the NAP listed on your GMB Listing and your Website – BrightLocal’s Audit will do just that.

Tip 4: Reach out to your Specific Medical Association and ask if you can publish articles on their website. Write an interesting article with a link to your website. Publish it. The more of those links you have from multiple websites, the more Trusted your website gets. Google rewards Trusted and Authoritative Medical Websites with lots of visitors and high rankings.

Tip 5: Do not write short articles on your Blog. Do not write several articles on similar topics. Combine the topically related articles into one big article and update such articles regularly by adding more content. Sign this article with Author Bio if the Author is a medical doctor. If the Author is not a Medical Doctor, please a Medical Doctor to read the content, verify it and then write “Verified by Name Surename, MD” on each Article. When Google reviews the websites, it needs to know if the content is written by an expert or not.

 

Voice Search in Medical Marketing +

Voice assistants and tools such as Alexa and Siri have gained popularity over the years.

While they are aren’t as useful as we’d have hoped by now, more people are using voice search to find answers to queries and local services. Especially those up to 35 years of age.

How do you use voice search in your healthcare marketing strategy?

Learn from brands successfully getting Google snippet features.

Use scannable content. Quit medical jargon and find out which terms, phrases, medical lingo, and references your target clients are using to describe medical services, procedures, and related conversations.

Does this search image look familiar?

Voice Search in Healthcare Marketing  - Tips

It is a clue you can use.

Utilize a healthcare marketing agency or virtual assistant to find questions patients use in social media groups, online forums, offline seminars, groups and so on.

Then create questions & conversational answers or content relating to those questions.

It’s just a small change in your Content Marketing daily task. And it will get you a big reward over time.

Heathcare Marketing Voice Search Tip 1: Review your Blog Content. Rewrite some of your Headings and Paragraphs so you have simple questions and short answers in the first sentence of the paragraph. This will help you earn the chance of being featured in Voice Answers as well as “Position 0” in search results.

Heathcare Marketing Voice Search Tip 2: Use Tables in your Blog Posts. As of September 2019, Google tends to give higher priority to the content with tables when it comes to Featured Snippets selection.

 

Live Events +

In-person marketing will continue to be a big marketing technique for the healthcare industry in 2020.

People still want a personal touch, especially when it is about intimate, delicate, care-driven matters such as medical diagnosis and procedures, personal health records, as well as medical insurance covers.

Hosting or participating in live events provides a solid networking platform.

You can interact with current and future customers.

You can get instant feedback on your procedures or services from people so you know what their objections to buying are—and how you can change that narrative.

Tip 1: Find the common patterns in your patients’ daily routine, learn where they hang out and what they do online and offline. Once you found the place where they are receptive to information, you’ve found a sweet spot. To raise your profile even higher than your competition, consider presenting a useful talk on a trending medical topic or problem in your niche. DO NOT SELL. Just offer value.

Tip 2: Offline events lead to an increase in the Branded search on Google. When many people search for your Clinic Name, Google registers a positive ranking signal. This will help you gain more website authority and improve your rankings, provided that your on-page SEO is well done already. Therefore, make sure your brand name is communicated multiple times during the event. Some clinics that do many events do not provide their website URL in the presentation anymore. This forces the people to find the website by the Brand Name = helping your online visibility long term.

Tip 3: If the goal is to increase the number of Leads for your Medical Practice, do less healthcare industry events and focus more on the lifestyle events of your target audience. If you run a Plastic Surgery clinic, do events related to Arts, Golf, Polo, etc.

 

Are Sponsorships Worth It in 2020 for Medical Practice/Hospital? +

It could be you are interested in a specific cause, community drive, or healthcare policy. Or the trend is towards a medical device or product by a particular brand.

Do you stand for affordable, sustainable, and high-value health programs? Who you can partner up with?

Can you sponsor an event, non-profit, health associations, researchers, caregivers, and families providing a united voice for people with disabilities and chronic diseases?

Are you going to be sponsoring sports teams, medical students, healthcare technology programs, and more?

Make contact and request to sponsor their live event, seminar, offer first aid services at their event, be on their banners, and so on.

Tip 1: Sponsorships empower you to align with a solid brand or lifestyle, helping your practice gain more brand awareness, positive brand perception, and even general support in your field. However, if you want to a quick return on your sponsorship investment, choose your sponsorship target with Precision. For example, if your ideal client is above average income level individual, why not sponsoring a Local Golf School?

 

2020 Influencer Healthcare Marketing Solutions +

Influencer marketing has seen a meteoric rise in the last few years.

For example, Instagram, the backbone platform for the marketing strategy, saw a sizzling rise in brand-sponsored influencer posts—from 2016’s 9.2 million to 21.7 million in 2018.

Statista forecasts the trend to blast past 32.2 million paid posts in 2019.

But influencer trust may be dwindling.

Media agency, UM, surveyed 56,000 active internet users across 81 countries, including in the U.S. and U.K. The study showed a 7% drop in the number of people that now trust influencers’ opinions (specifically bloggers and vloggers) in 2019.

The drop could be associated with influencer scams, fake and inflated follower counts, and undisclosed sponsorships.

More strongly, though once-loyal followers now feel their influencer has since “sold out” to paid-posts to make money and lost their authenticity.

However, 47% of global consumer respondents said the opinions shared online influenced their decisions.

To make the most of influencer marketing in 2020:

Bonus Tip: So influencer healthcare marketing is not dead. Neither will it die in 2020. Know your ideal buyer’s habits and you’ll know which influencer is worth collaborating with. Never guess. Use the tools to check if the Influencer is legit. There are way too many scammers out there.

 

Radio and Television Medical Marketing +

For purely digital brands, including radio and TV in a marketing strategy may not be a smart move in 2020—it hasn’t been for the last few years, either.

What about medical practices?

Traditional marketing channels are still influential in healthcare marketing strategies and can still help. But it can be really expensive and inefficient. People dislike TV or Radio advertising. That’s why they move away to their Streaming Apps.

The problem with both radio and TV advertising has been they’ve both been tough to measure…

…until now.

You can now check Google Analytics to grasp the number of searches people are making based in a particular region based on your radio or TV campaign.

But even more effective:

Radio & TV Healthcare Marketing Tip 1: Set up a custom website or landing page with a unique URL per large campaign. Be sure to set up tools such as Google Analytics to show you how many people are “landing” on the page or website. In your TV or radio ads let people know the URL they need to visit to learn more about your medical service, product, or device. You can then see your campaign’s impact by the numbers.

Radio & TV Healthcare Marketing Tip 2: Subscribe to call tracking service like CallRail and use one separate phone number per each large campaign. This way you can measure the Return on your Marketing Investment and draw the right conclusion based on the real data.

 

Should You do Billboard Marketing in 2020 for Your Healthcare Business? +

Putting up an ad on strategic billboards is an important move to consider for your healthcare service’s local marketing strategy.

If you can afford it, do it. And in multiple, strategic places.

The important question to ask:

Which area(s) do you want to get in front of your current and future customers?

Billboard marketing can help grow your brand recognition in a particular area.

Tip 1: Set up a custom website or landing page with unique URL per area where the billboards are. Be sure to set up tools such as Google Analytics to show you how many people are “landing” on the page or website. In your billboard lets, people know the URL they need to visit to learn more about your medical service, procedure. You can then see your campaign’s impact by the numbers.

Tip 2: Subscribe to call tracking service like CallRail and use one separate phone number per each area where the billboards are. This way you can measure the Return on your Marketing Investment and draw the right conclusion based on the real data.

 

Celebrity Endorsements +

In 2020, you’ll still attract a ton of credibility by aligning your healthcare brand with a reputable, ideal celebrity.

So how can you utilize brand ambassadors in your hospital marketing in 2020?

You know how Angelina Jolie adopted several children from orphanages around the world and demonstrated compassion for refugees. The U.N. appointed her as its Goodwill Ambassador for Refugees.

Other brands have reached out to celebrities struggling with various medical conditions or have a close family member or friend doing so.

Can you spot an opportunity to demonstrate your quality, cutting-edge, and/or specialist healthcare services by working with a relevant celeb?

You can provide free medical consultations for mentions. Or invite them to raise their humanitarian profile by teaming up with your practice on a community health cause dear to both of you. Or offer cash to get in front of their loyal audience.

Implementing these medical marketing strategies can help your practice attract more warm leads you can convert to paying customers soonest.

Remember to measure your impact using online tools. Have a custom landing page for each marketing campaign.

That way, you can tell which methods are offering desired results so you can double down on them and avoid losing marketing dollars on ineffective campaigns.

And if all these feels like a lot of ground to cover, feel free to work with a reputable medical marketing agency that understands your specialty, what your target customers are looking for, and which healthcare marketing techniques resonate best with them.

 

Author: Dennis Dubner, Founder, and CEO of SONDORA MARKETING, an agency helping healthcare marketers and CEOs with reaching an explosive growth.

LinkedIn Marketing Guide: Practical and Complete

5 Things to Know About Finding Clients on LinkedIn

If you’re looking to make important business connections, LinkedIn is the premier B2B and often B2C social media platform to use. You’ll find millions of Sales People prospecting using LinkedIn, recruiters finding job candidates; CEOs looking to grow their influence and build trust with buyers; and solopreneurs looking for freelancers to build their dream team. In the world of business relationships, you just never know who you’ll meet that will possibly send you your most lucrative client, so growing your network steadily and consistently makes good business sense.

However, if you think blasting LinkedIn users with connection requests is the way to go, put the brakes on your plans and rethink your strategy. Here’s some well-researched advice:

  1. Nobody likes a spammer on LinkedIn. Logging in to your dashboard and sending out a blast of connection requests is not a good use of your time. And if you think blasting your current connections with your latest product, service, or event will make you instant friends, think again. These are typical forms of spamming which will lose you connections instead of gaining them.
  2. Don’t use people just for introductions. When someone accepts your connection, get to know that person and their company before asking for introductions to others in their network. People are very protective of their networks and will pick and choose whom they allow access. If they refer you to their connection, and that introduction or meeting doesn’t go well, then THEIR reputation is at stake. Building relationships goes two ways for this exact reason.
  3. Remember the Golden Rule: Treat others as you want to be treated. Follow your simple common sense: If you don’t want to be bombarded with connection requests and product offers or offers to join teams and you don’t know the person asking, why would you do those same things to others? Connect with others who have a common interest or whose companies compliment yours. A personalized connection request makes a big difference, too.
  4. Allow time to build relationships and to build your network on LinkedIn. Your network will NOT grow overnight, especially if you use spam tactics to connect with people. Think of networking as the “planting of seeds,” where you certainly talk about what you do and who you are but in a natural, organic, and authentic way instead of in sales mode. Over time your connections will remember what you do and if they like your style, they will readily refer people to you; but they need to know you better and that takes time.
  5. Provide value to others. One way to showcase your expertise to your LinkedIn connections is to share consistently. Write articles, participate in groups, ask questions, and share about your mission and why it’s important to you. Educate your followers about what you do or the problems you can solve. Done consistently, this type of sharing will keep you in people’s minds and you just never know when they will be ready to hire you or send you a referral.

Networking on LinkedIn really boils down to common sense: Act professionally so you portray your business in the best possible light and be authentic in your interactions. Your ideal clients will be drawn to you once they get to know you as a person instead of as a salesperson.  

Next on this LinkedIn Marketing Guide is….

Networking Tips: How to Find Leads on LinkedIn Naturally

With 90 million senior-level influencers, 63 million decision-makers, 303 million active monthly users (40% of which visit the site daily), LinkedIn may seem like your pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Who wouldn’t want the opportunity to sell their product or services to 303 million people?

Let’s remember, however, that LinkedIn in NOT about sales: It’s about building connections and developing relationships with people who may (or may not) be interested in what you have to offer.

Here are some tips for networking naturally on LinkedIn so you don’t develop that pushy “used car salesman” reputation that makes people want to run away:

  1. Do your research first. Do some Google searches and peruse company websites to search for ideal clients instead of bombarding employees at that company for introductions. You may have a great track record helping Fortune 500 executives but spamming them with connection requests out of the blue won’t win you any favors.
  2. Personalize your messages on LinkedIn. When you finally decide on sending connection requests, don’t fall for the easy way out by using the LinkedIn sample text. That’s a perfect way to show your prospect that you have no idea who they are or what they do, so why would they want to connect with you? Instead, include a snippet of how you met. Did you hear them speak at a conference? Mention that. Were you introduced at a networking luncheon by a mutual friend? Say that. Prospective connections will pay more attention to your personal message than any automated, text template.
  3. Ask for personal introductions. Stalking someone’s connection list on LinkedIn is a little creepy, especially if you cold call these people and say, “We’re mutual friends with Jamie Smith,” as the start of your conversation. Instead, ask Jamie Smith directly for an introduction. Remember, most people will only make introductions for those they actually know and who they trust, so make an effort to befriend Jamie Smith first before asking for those introductions.
  4. Build the relationship first instead of going straight for the sale. Don’t be the person who accepts a new connection request and immediately sends a message with a sales pitch. Not only will that new connection cringe at the tackiness but they will likely tell others about your spammy tactic and you’ll have others hesitate or ignore your connection requests. Instead, send a “nice to meet you” message, thanking them for connecting. Publish consistently on your feed. Like valuable information, they have posted on their own feed. Ask to meet in person if you’re local or if you’re attending the same conference. Show your new connection that you are interested in them and what they do.
  5. Keep your LinkedIn profile up to date. New connections will most likely check your profile before joining your network or responding to your messages, so keep it up to date. Always post a current headshot; fill in your headline and description with power words so prospects know exactly what you do; and don’t lie on your resume.

One note: There’s a huge difference between introducing yourself with your company name and what you have to offer versus introducing yourself with a hardcore sales pitch. Craft your introduction carefully and you won’t be perceived as a tacky salesperson desperate to make a sale. If you need help with LinkedIn Appointment Setting please let us know.

5 Things You Won’t See Me Do on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the premier social media platform for professionals in all industries. With over 300 million monthly users, you have quite a large base to develop new connections and build relationships with potential clients.

However, there are several LinkedIn “sins” which can haunt you and affect your credibility and reputation. Here are just a few things to avoid doing on LinkedIn:

  1. Judge others for their choices. No matter what their choice – whether a prospect chose a different coach or chose a branding color palette that you don’t like – posting your negative opinions on LinkedIn serves no purpose. If your prospect chose another coach, ask them privately what influenced their decision. Feedback is useful, public shaming is not.

  2. Start political arguments. Unless you’re an aspiring political strategist, politics don’t have any place in your business. You are most certainly entitled to your political opinions but save those debates for Facebook or Twitter. LinkedIn has the most professional atmosphere of any other platform and with today’s political climate, you will only scare away a large number of prospects if you start political arguments.
  3. Add my network’s email addresses to my list. Just because you have access to your connections’ email addresses via their LinkedIn profiles does NOT mean they give permission to add them to your email list. The same is true of any prospects you meet who give you business cards. Not only will these prospects mark your messages as spam, but this also goes against the CAN-SPAM Act, which requires permission to add people to your list. Add them to your inbox as a personal contact, NOT to your autoresponder.
  4. Post personal photos or reminisce about college partying. Save these fun stories for less professional sites like Facebook or SnapChat. LinkedIn serves a professional purpose and those types of photos will give pause to anyone looking to hire a professional coach. We’ve all heard the stories of college graduates who lost job opportunities because of what they posted online. If it has the potential to harm your reputation or credibility, keep it offline.
  5. Use others strictly for introductions or job opportunities. No one likes being used. Put yourself in that same situation, where your connections didn’t really care about you, they only cared about who you know. Instead of hitting up new connections immediately for introductions or job interviews, build a relationship first, then ask.

These examples are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what you should NOT do on LinkedIn. Across all the social media platforms you’ve probably seen plenty of tacky things that made your eyes roll. Use your common sense and think before you post on LinkedIn. How will your posts be perceived? These tips are not meant to discourage you from being your authentic self; they are instead meant to act as guidelines to maintaining your professional credibility so your ideal clients will find you and trust you.

Next on this LinkedIn Marketing Guide is….

5 Ways to Increase Your Credibility on LinkedIn and Attract Potential Leads

Since you’re not approaching LinkedIn with a sales approach mindset, you need to make every aspect of this platform work to your advantage in order to both attract prospective clients and then convince them that you are the expert they’ve been searching for. One way to achieve this is by showcasing your expertise in a natural, informative way which leads to increase your credibility as an expert.

  1. Create a personal LinkedIn URL. Don’t settle for a generic profile number that’s impossible to remember; leave those for less savvy people who aren’t as detail-oriented. Create a personalized URL that represents your brand and is easy to remember. Put it on your business cards and in your email signatures.
  2. Splurge on a professional photoshoot. Make your profile page work for you. At a minimum, get a professional headshot taken, preferably in a few different styles or poses so you can use them on multiple platforms. If you can afford a full-on photoshoot, choose the best shots and make good use of them in all your branded graphics, including your social media headers. Only less experienced and more frugal DIY types will use a blurry selfie for their LinkedIn headshot.
  3. Brand your profile with a custom banner image. It’s the little details that count when it comes to optimizing your LinkedIn profile. As the saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” so hire a graphic designer to design your branded LinkedIn banner to clearly relay your message. No more DIY graphics; invest in your business.
  4. Publish regular content. You need to be active on LinkedIn for people to recognize you and you need to publish informative content for people to remember you. It doesn’t need to be a 1,000-word manifesto; social media users have extremely short attention spans. Simply publish a Top 10 list or throw out some helpful daily tips. Record a 1-2 minute video series with these tips and you’ll get noticed faster, simply because few people use video on LinkedIn. Forget about the funny cat pictures or silly memes (unless the meme is just hilarious); this is a professional space so save those posts for less formal Facebook. The key points here are to post daily and to be informative in your content.
  5. Be active in groups. Joining groups has a two-fold benefit: you will meet prospects and learn about their needs, and your prospects will see that you’re an active participant in your industry when they see your group listings on your profile. Being active doesn’t mean blasting your sales message on a daily basis; no doubt that will get you kicked out and banned from most groups. Instead, show a real interest in the other members, answer questions, take a poll to learn about their needs, or simply post information they need. Let the conversations flow naturally in your groups instead of worrying about sales or getting this prospect into your sales funnel. The more active you are, the more people will recognize your name.

Paying attention to small details on your profile can help build your credibility as will participating in groups and by publishing content on a regular basis. When people recognize your name as a regular, they will check out your profile and a possible business relationship can blossom from there.

5 Tips for Publishing the Right Content on LinkedIn

So you have a LinkedIn profile, now what? In addition to searching out viable connections (such as people you already know or have worked with in the past), publishing content should be at the top of your to-do list. Publishing the right content on your feed as well as in your groups will attract potential leads and increase your credibility and expertise.

One word of caution: Do not publish an article to your wall and then publish that same exact article to the twelve groups you belong to. That single activity will get your LinkedIn account frozen faster than you can sneeze. LinkedIn does not tolerate spammers so post your content carefully.

If you want to post both to your wall and to your groups (which is a smart strategy), either post on two different topics or rewrite one article so it covers the same topic but not with the same wording. An editorial calendar is helpful when it comes to planning your social media posts.

But if the words “publish content” scare you to death, here are a few tips to follow:

  1. Know your LinkedIn audience and your industry. Publish information they can use. Are there big changes coming to your industry or new laws affecting your industry? Explain those changes in lay terms in a short article. Do you know what problems plague them? Offer daily action steps to help solve those problems.
  2. Include photos for more engagement and interest. Photos used in articles should relate directly back to the main topic. Photos also help break up a large page of text, which can be intimidating for even the best readers to tackle online. Purchase photos legally from stock photos houses or use Unsplash.com for completely free photos. Never copy/paste from Google Images; that’s copyright infringement.
  3. Ask questions and provide insight. Are there misconceptions about your industry or what you do? Clear these up in a simple Q&A article. Create a whole Q&A series with the questions you receive online as well as via email or your help desk. When you ask questions you may also discover a new pain point which you can then discuss or create a new product to address it.
  4. Give people a behind-the-scenes look into your business and what it’s like to work with you. This topic lends itself to a fun video series where you can address exactly what you do and who your ideal clients are. Don’t be afraid to clearly identify your ideal clients and let them qualify themselves to work with you. The worst thing is to sign on with someone who can’t afford your prices or who won’t do the work necessary.
  5. Include a call to action on all your LinkedIn posts. What should your reader do next: Join your email list? Call you for a consult? Meet you at a local networking event? Gently guide your reader to the next step in your sales funnel. Relate the Call to Action to the topic of the post.

When in doubt about what to publish, consider outsourcing the content creation to an experienced freelancer. They will brainstorm ideas and help fill in your editorial calendar rather quickly as well as prepare your content so all you need to do is approve it and publish. Extend your knowledge and expertise to your audience with your content. You just never know how your content will affect someone or to whom they will pass along your articles.

This LinkedIn Marketing Guide wouldn’t be complete without….

5 Ways to Make the Right First Impression on LinkedIn

When it comes to using social media to market your business or brand, choosing the correct platform can make or break your marketing efforts. LinkedIn is one of the premier social media platforms and it boasts a very professional atmosphere. While Facebook and Twitter are geared toward the more casual user, LinkedIn was specifically built for professionals in business.

LinkedIn allows users to build a network of contacts through direct introductions or posting helpful information on their own feeds and in groups. While relationship marketing requires effort on your part, you can also encourage others to network with you by putting forth a professional image. As the old saying goes, “You only have one time to make a good first impression,” and that one time often lasts only a few seconds while prospects look at your LinkedIn profile.

Let’s discuss ways to make that right first impression:

  1. Create a professional-looking LinkedIn profile. Splurge on a professional headshot instead of a blurry selfie. Consider how you dress: do jeans and a t-shirt represent you well or should you dress in a suit or a business casual look? Fill out your LinkedIn resume completely with former job descriptions. Always use keywords in your profile descriptions; keywords accurately describe your experience but will also grab your profile when someone does a keyword search.
  2. Ask for introductions. Instead of just spamming dozens of people a day in hopes of making a connection, ask others in your network to introduce you to decision makers you want to meet who you’ve identified as prospects. Your choice of introductions shouldn’t be random; instead, think of companies who can use your services and then check your network for connections to those companies.
  3. Be a helpful resource in LinkedIn groups. LinkedIn groups are extremely helpful in connecting people with like interests but LinkedIn also protects its users from spammers. If you write an article but try to share it with multiple groups at the same time, you may be labeled a spammer inadvertently. Mix up your group interactions and become known as a helpful resource. Ask questions; answer questions; direct others to resources you have discovered.
  4. Send thank-you notes. Thank you notes are rare these days but it’s a simple act that will make you stand out from the crowd. Even a quick email thank you is better than none at all. Send one to your newest contact, especially if you have plans to meet in person, as well as the person who introduced you. A simple thank you will be remembered and may encourage those contacts to help you in the future.
  5. Focus on relationship-building instead of selling. In the world of social media, nothing turns people off more than accepting a new connection and then getting a “like my page!” or “here’s my sales pitch” messages. To avoid being that annoying spammer, focus on building a relationship first by sending articles, videos, or case studies without any expectations. Go back to basics and learn how to converse again and interact with these contacts in a group setting. Let them see you as a person first instead of just a salesperson.

Done correctly, marketing on LinkedIn will showcase your expertise; done incorrectly, you’ll be seen as someone who’s just looking to make a buck or who doesn’t know the first thing about marketing. Be smart with your marketing efforts and watch your business grow.

4 Tips to Make the Right Connections on LinkedIn

Making the right connections on LinkedIn (or on any networking platform) should never be hit or miss. Don’t leave your marketing to chance; instead, know exactly who you’re serving, who you want to speak with, and what you have to offer.

  1. Know your target audience. Finding the right connections starts first by knowing the intimate details about your target market. If you don’t know who you serve, how will you know when you find them? To begin, answer these questions: who, what, where, and why.
  1. Share niche-specific content on LinkedIn. Sharing content on LinkedIn is commonplace but crafting your content to speak specifically to your niche and their pain points will make you stand out.
  1. Leverage in-person connections. Online networking should never replace real life networking, so when you meet people at a conference or networking event, feel free to send them a LinkedIn request.
  1. Ask for referrals or introductions. Which of these ideas do you think will get the best reception: you randomly send LinkedIn connection requests or you have a friend make a mutual introduction? Nine times out of ten, the personal introduction will get immediate attention whereas random requests will be forgotten. If you want to meet someone in particular or want to meet a contact at a particular company, simply talk to your current network, either personally or in groups. It never hurts to ask and the introduction may be easier to find than you expect.

Don’t be intimidated by LinkedIn marketing. Consistency is important for online networking so develop a plan which includes specific content sharing, groups to visit, and qualifying leads you want to meet. Once you formulate a plan, implementation becomes much easier and less time-consuming. Consistency also shows these new connections that you are serious about your business instead of treating it like a passing hobby, so plan to visit LinkedIn daily.

A Practical LinkedIn Marketing Guide must contain new client acquisition tactics, e.g.:

What to Do on a Daily Basis to Attract New Clients on LinkedIn

As you probably know by now, consistency is vitally important for any of your marketing efforts but especially for LinkedIn. How many times have you noticed that someone is really active but then disappears for months at a time? Then, surprise surprise, they show up again but that’s short-lived and within six weeks they are inactive again. What kind of feeling or impression does that impact, especially on an uber-professional platform like LinkedIn?

The easiest way to be consistent with any social media marketing is to create a plan: a checklist or action steps that you can implement every day. A simple way to remember all the things to check or do when you log in to make sure you’re covering all your bases. A daily action plan will help you remember everything but it also saves time and prevents you from staring at your computer screen, not having any thoughts as to what to share or how to contribute to the groups you’re in.

  1. Check for any new Messages or Network Invitations. You are not required to accept new invitations, especially from people whom you have never met or had any interaction with. While some business owners think LinkedIn is a numbers’ game (the more connections you have, the better) others believe that the quality of your connections are more important than the volume of connections. The choice is yours.
  2. Check Notifications. Here is where you’ll see birthdays, work anniversaries, or interesting content from your connections. Sending a personal note for birthdays and anniversaries is a nice touch to building that relationship and takes only a moment of your time.
  3. Share some content. This is where a blank calendar grid or a planner comes in handy to plan your content sharing strategy. Content includes: articles, blog posts, videos, infographics, product graphics (such as eBook cover, webinar announcement, etc.), and so much more.

Creating this list of content ahead of time allows you to have the prewritten content ready to just copy and paste when you log in to LinkedIn. If possible, outsource your content creation or block off time once or twice a week to create that content.

  1. Visit and participate in LinkedIn Groups. LinkedIn allows you to mingle within the confines of certain groups. These can be special interest groups, groups where you’ll find others in your field (aka competitors), or they will be niche-related, where you can find your target audience.

Participating in groups shows your expertise to others and puts you in a small spotlight so people get to know about your specialty and services.

Your name will stay foremost in people’s minds if you provide value in every LinkedIn post and by staying active in your groups. Create a daily action plan that works for you and then put it into action. Engage your audience and provide value every time you post and you’ll soon see a growth in your connections and possible new sales.

How to Still Get Results from LinkedIn, Even When They Say “No”

Even after doing all your target market analysis and creating your client avatar, some people will still say NO to your products and services. The reasons are numerous – ranging anywhere from the price is not affordable to not understanding the benefits you’re offering – but these responses are not reasons to give up. Remember that any kind of business marketing, both online and in-person, is not about the sale: it’s about building the relationship.

Relationship marketing is about just that: building a long-term relationship that fosters customer loyalty, interaction, and engagement. It’s not about a quick sale or adding new names to your prospect list. Right now, at the beginning of these relationships, it’s all about proving your worth and showing your expertise in a helpful way to gain trust from your audience.

I once heard a marketer ask, “Did you marry your spouse the moment you met them? Of course not, so don’t expect your prospects to buy your product the moment you meet them either.” That idea really stuck with me because we’ve heard time and again that prospects become customers when they know, like, and trust you. Hitting someone up with your sales pitch at a networking meeting eliminates the “getting to know you” phase and then you’ll always be remembered as desperate or uncouth.

Tip #1: Be seen.

Networking is vital to spreading the word about your business. LinkedIn is a phenomenal place to start but being seen on social media means being active every day of the week. Post to your feed and in your groups; share about live events you’re attending; add a personal element to your posts by sharing a new-to-you vacation spot. No need to spend hours a day on LinkedIn but posting a minimum of 5 days a week is necessary.

Also remember to network in person. Attend business events in your community. Inquire about joining your local Chamber of Commerce, BNI chapter, or Toastmasters group. If it’s in your budget, sponsor a youth sports team or, at the very least, participate at local community day fairs by renting a booth and meeting your local neighbors.

Tip #2: Treat all your connections as gold.

When you get to the point in your relationship that you’re asking for a meeting or a sale but the prospect says “No,” don’t take it as a personal affront and kick that connection off your list. Instead, get some feedback about why they said no and don’t be afraid to ask if they know of anyone in their circle who could use your service. This type of mutual friend introduction is much more welcoming than you randomly trying to connect blindly.

Also, you never know when your connection will change their minds and decide to hire you. It could be six months from now or two years from now but continued interaction on LinkedIn will keep your name front and center in their mind.

Tip #3: Be consistent.

Consistency refers to posting to LinkedIn daily but it also means to keep your offerings updated and produce new content on a regular basis. Write a new article or record a new video for your LinkedIn feed on a weekly basis. Create checklists or short reports on a regular basis and hand offer them on your feed and in your groups. If your prospects and connections see the same old products or freebies on your site or in your feed, they will think your business is as stagnant as your offerings.

Hearing “no” is a disappointment but that doesn’t mean it will be a “no” forever. The timing of your offering for your prospect may not be right, plain and simple, so keep fostering that friendship/relationship and be ready when the prospect changes their mind.

6 Small but Powerful Ways to Get Noticed by Prospects on LinkedIn

LinkedIn was created in 2003 as a way to do business differently. It was founded as a business-related social network and has kept that reputation as the go-to place for business connections over these last 15 years. Not only can job seekers find hiring managers or decision-makers in their dream companies but business owners and sales executives can find prospects via LinkedIn as well.

Gone are the days when job seekers answer classified ads or send resumes blindly to large companies. Likewise, cold calling prospects usually don’t yield very good results in this technology age where the buzzword of the day is “relationship marketing.” Whether you want to get noticed on LinkedIn by hiring recruiters or by business prospects, LinkedIn is THE place to be seen.

But how exactly do you get “seen” in a sea of 300 million monthly active users? Let’s explore some simple ways:

a. Use keyword phrases wisely on your LinkedIn profile.

Start by thinking about how your target audience would search for you. What are they looking for exactly? How do you want to be known? Use those keyword phrases throughout your profile where the LinkedIn search bots look, such as the Headline and Summary as well as the Experience and Skills sections.

b. Use a professional, friendly-looking headshot.

No blurry selfies or brooding, artistic headshots. If you do make it to the top of a search, you’ll want to catch your prospect’s eye very quickly and a professional, happy headshot is the quickest way to do that.

c. Inject some creativity into your Headline and Summary.

Still address your top skill or benefit your prospect will receive but add some flare to it. “Business Coach” certainly describes what you do but in a very general way. “Business Coach to the Fastest Growing Multi-million Dollar Companies” adds some more flare and immediately identifies who you want to work with.

d. Edit the details in your Summary.

Like it or not, prospects will skim your profile instead of taking their time reading, so edit the important details into powerful sentences. No need for subtlety here; be straightforward and place the most important details first.

e. Be consistent with searching for connections.

Business networking is never complete; it’s an ongoing process you should learn to love if you want your business to grow consistently. LinkedIn will only display your connections up to 500 but you can certainly connect with more people than that. You’ll find two different schools of thought when it comes to making connections. One side believes it’s vitally important to increase those numbers quickly because prospects want to see you – their coach – well-connected. The other side believes the smart way to connect is only with people you have met previously, thus creating a higher quality network of known names.

f. Be active and consistent on LinkedIn.

Don’t think of LinkedIn or networking as a one-time task or a “set it and forget it” process. Being active on LinkedIn means: creating content to share, joining relevant groups, and making comments on other people’s content. When you share content it displays to all your connections, thus informing them of your expertise and inviting them to make comments. Being active in groups means starting a conversation, asking a question, giving advice to others, and sharing content. If you are active and then disappear, it leaves a bad impression and your connections will start to question your dedication to your business.

LinkedIn Marketing can become the premier source to connect with business owners and decision-makers. Creating an optimized profile that looks professional is important but don’t just leave your networking to chance. Be active and show your expertise in your shared content and group interactions.

LinkedIn Marketing Guide Author: Dennis Dubner, CEO, and Founder of SONDORA MARKETING. 

Industrial Marketing in the Digital Age [2020 Guide]

Marketers working in the industrial (mostly B2B) space have shown no reluctance to transition to a digital age. Person-to-person meetings, business trips, and conventional offline marketing tactics have largely been replaced with digital or hybrid alternatives. There will always be a place for signage, print advertising and physical tactics in general, but a multi-directional digital model helps generate leads before the business even knows they exist. The key to successful industrial marketing in the digital age lies in striking the perfect balance between digital and traditional. Digital industrial marketing is growing in power and importance, but shouldn’t necessarily be seen as the only effective tactic for the 21st century. Adopting a holistic approach enables the business to capitalize on the benefits of traditional and digital B2B marketing alike.

Nevertheless, success is dependent on business owners and decision-makers exploring and embracing every digital channel of value to their organization.

 

Nature of Industrial Marketing

Industrial marketing being B2B differs from conventional business-to-consumer in a number of ways. Predominantly, business-to-business purchases are based on logic, careful research and analysis, while the typical consumer purchase may be motivated by emotion. A business buyer is more interested in the potential for a strong ROI, while the everyday customer prioritizes general satisfaction.

Roughly summarised, every industrial or B2B transaction is likely to involve considerably more analysis, evaluation, and decision-making at a variety of levels. It’s rarely up to a single person to make important business purchases – it’s a decision shared among managers and stakeholders throughout the business.

In the field of industrial marketing, the focus must, therefore, be on the logic of the product and its features. Personal emotion is largely out of the equation, so you need to think carefully about what matters to both the buyer and the business they represent. You need to convince them that your products and services are capable of getting the job done better than those of any competing provider within your niche.

 

Industrial Marketing Channels

There are essentially two distinct categories of industrial marketing channels – online and offline. Each of which contains a variety of different marketing channels, each with its unique advantages and disadvantages.

In the offline category, examples of the popular industrial marketing channels include:

Each of the above still holds value in the B2B domain, though in all instances have seen their power and influence diminish in the digital era. Digital industrial marketing hasn’t ‘replaced’ offline marketing in its entirety, but has nonetheless taken the lead for the proactive business.

In the digital category, examples of the popular B2B marketing channels include:

Large and small businesses alike have more diverse and readily available channels at their disposal than ever before. For an industrial marketing strategy to succeed, it must combine the most effective components from both channels.

 

Characteristics of Effective Marketing for Technologically Advanced Companies

Precisely what defines an ‘effective’ marketing strategy must be determined by each business individually. A marketing campaign can focus on generating leads, boosting brand recognition, reputation management, improving conversion rates and so on.

Across the board, however, there are specific key characteristics of effective marketing for the companies in the manufacturing, industrial sector.

The four most important being as follows:

VALUE PROPOSITION

A strong value proposition is essential in all types of business, though it plays a particularly vital role in the B2B sphere. The purchase and use of products and services for business purposes involve approvers, decision-makers, influencers and gatekeepers at a variety of levels. None of whom may be the final users of the product. It’s, therefore, the job of the industrial marketer to create and communicate multi-level value propositions that appeal to every entity within the value chain.

UNIQUE SELLING PROPOSITION

Just as important as a strong value proposition is a unique selling proposition. Very few businesses are truly unique, which can make it difficult to attract the attention of buyers. Effective industrial marketing means isolating what makes your business unique and why you’re the clear choice for the buyer. This, in turn, requires a detailed analysis of both your target audience and your competitors, to distinguish your organization from the pack.

CUSTOMER JOURNEY

The customer journey begins long before the business knows they exist. A compelling customer journey is about so much more than ensuring the customer’s needs are fulfilled, and their expectations met. It’s about exceeding their expectations and delighting them from start to finish, bringing a sense of enjoyment and satisfaction to the transaction.

USER EXPERIENCE

Likewise, the user experience in B2B marketing isn’t simply about practicality. It’s about the elegance and simplicity with which the buyer’s requirements are met. In the case of a website, it needs to be a simple, streamlined and seamless digital representation of your business, which is a pleasure to use with no unnecessary complexities.

 

Evolution of the 4Ps Marketing Mix in the Digital Era (Product, Place, Promotion, Price)

Businesses continue to debate the relevance or otherwise of the 4Ps of marketing in the digital era. Rather than being rendered redundant, it’s simply a case of the 4Ps of marketing having evolved and shifted significantly over recent years.

The importance of clearly defining the value of your product has never been greater. Today, business buyers are less likely than ever before to stick with just a handful of trusted sellers or local suppliers. Whatever they need, a simple web search returns thousands of listings from hundreds of competing providers. Loyalty isn’t what it used to be, emphasizing the importance of defining your product’s value proposition.

Likewise, the vast majority of business buyers now use the Internet to guide their purchase decisions. Whatever they need and whenever they need it, they’re more likely to find it online than anywhere else. It’s therefore up to the seller to ensure their products and services are positioned appropriately via the most effective and relevant digital channels.

A multitude of marketing channels to choose from prompts countless questions concerning effective promotion. These days, however, effective promotion often means selling without the hard sell. Buyers in the B2B space are increasingly less inclined to listen to the marketing/sales talk of sellers. Instead, they put their faith in customer reviews, recommendations, testimonials, write-ups and so on.

B2B buyers are inundated with choice when making key purchase decisions. Hence, they’re unwilling to pay excessive prices when more affordable options are available elsewhere. Nevertheless, research has shown that most businesses are willing to pay more if the seller provides better customer support and a more amicable customer journey from start to finish. Price is no longer the primary determining factor for B2B sales.

 

Manufacturing Marketing Consultants

Effective Industrial Marketing Channels

As touched upon previously, there are countless industrial marketing channels open to small and large businesses alike. There are, however, certain inbound industrial marketing channels that consistently prove the most effective of all.

The vast majority of B2B buyers researching available options begin their journey with an online search. Google, Bing and a handful of others accounting for more than 95% of all web traffic worldwide. Youtube is the second largest search engine worldwide now. And as our survey shows, Youtube is the 2nd largest marketing channel at the research stage at industrial, manufacturing and technology companies. If your company website gets most of the traffic from your brand relates search terms, your business might be in danger 3-5 years from now. If your potential customers don’t find your products and services website pages by the valuable search terms, e.g., your product or service name, in the top 10 search results on Google and Youtube, you do not exist online at all. Every CEO and Marketing Director at the Industrial, Manufacturing, Technology company must know the following Google Search statistics: 93% of the clicks happen on the first page of search engines:

An effective B2B search engine optimization (SEO) strategy can ensure your business appears prominently on the top positions on Google, Youtube, Bing for relevant keywords and search terms, both at the awareness and later stages across the Marketing Funnel. Quality B2B Industrial and Manufacturing SEO typically deliver unbeatable ROI. It is by far the cheapest customer acquisition channel with the lowest CPA.

Despite being a paid strategy, PPC advertising still qualifies as inbound B2B marketing in most cases. LinkedIn InMail, being a PPC method, is an outbound technique instead. By positioning your ads and your message right at the top of the SERP listings and/or within the LinkedIn feed, you stand to generate a healthy and near-immediate influx of traffic, in accordance with your selected keywords (search terms) and selected target audience. The benefits of a PPC campaign may be time-limited, but begin generating results from the moment of implementation. Typically, it takes several months for a B2B online marketing agency to optimize the pay-per-click campaign to an optimal cost and excellent performance.

From LinkedIn to Facebook to Instagram to Twitter, a multi-directional social media marketing strategy is no longer optional. Maintaining a strong presence on social media provides the opportunity to not only connect with potential buyers, but also keep an eye on your competitors and their activities. SMM is one of the best tools for leads nurturing and for bilateral communication with your market.

A business blog serves as the perfect platform to enhance your authority and reputation within your niche. Become known as a reputable source of information and your readers will know exactly to whom to turn to when the time comes. Tell your story, engage your audience and enhance your SEO profile with a steady stream of rich, relevant and regularly–updated content. Ask an SEO expert to optimize your article, and you’ll be rewarded by thousands of monthly readers relevant to the very core of your business. Update the Blog posts on a regular basis to keep the content up-to-date and deliver even more value to your customers, suppliers, and colleagues.

Traditional seminars and conferences still hold lots of value, but don’t offer the same convenience or accessibility as webinars and similar online events. Today, it’s possible to improve upon the results of a traditional conference, without having to leave the office. What’s more, online events open the door to the kind of interactivity that goes above and beyond any traditional seminar. However, I still am a big fan of shaking hand in the real world. Being out in the market and network is crucial. Therefore, I highly suggest finding the balance between online and offline events.

Never underestimate the power and influence of an effective e-mail marketing campaign. Particularly when engineered using the latest personalization and automation tools, e-mail marketing can be highly engaging and impactful. Something as simple as a regular newsletter to keep your readers in the loop can make all the difference. Email Marketing is arguably the number one leads nurturing marketing channel, if you are able to deliver true value to your subscribers.

Email for Industrial Marketing Campaigns

GDPR is a topic that is present in many Board Meetings still for a good reason. The privacy regulations must be respected. The negative consequences of GDPR violation are massive. There are many ways you could get your target audience to opt-in to your newsletters. While many companies have the emails database completely erased in 2018 to comply with the GDPR, your creative approach to getting the online visitors to opt-in will give you a competitive edge.

 

Inbound Vs. Outbound Marketing in Manufacturing, Technology

Recent years have seen once-effective outbound marketing tactics become increasingly interpreted as intrusive, interruptive and often counterproductive. Anything that amounts to cold-contacting prospective buyers directly has the potential to have the opposite of the desired effect.

Conventional outbound B2B marketing channels that rarely deliver quality results include:

Much as these marketing methods still hold value in certain scenarios, they can be risky ventures in an industrial marketing environment. Typically best-avoided, substituted instead for the effective inbound marketing channels and techniques detailed above.

For those who still don’t know the difference between the Inbound and Outbound Marketing, here is infographic dedicated to this:

Inbound marketing vs outbound industrial marketing

 

Some Advice for International Industrial Marketing Executives

The digital age has created a unified global economy, in which businesses can target markets that would previously have been out of reach. Even just a couple of decades ago, the idea of small business in Singapore selling to a company in New York would have been far-fetched.

Inevitably, such opportunities for international expansion also bring unique challenges. Competition is ferocious across all industries and sectors, calling for a strategic approach to global industrial marketing.

Top-Level Market Research for Quick Decisions

Achieving the above without intensive market research is implausible. All businesses have certain basic knowledge and understanding of their home market, but a foreign market overseas could be an entirely different story. There’s zero room for assumptions, calling for intensive and on-going research. Traditional in-depth market research is quite expensive. However, a digital marketer can provide a rough idea about the demand in any specific country in the world within 5-15 minutes. A C-level executive at a manufacturing company must have an online marketer’s phone number saved in Contact because the amount of the high-level data a digital marketer can provide on a live call is truly impressive.

Reassess Your Industrial Marketing Mix

The marketing channels used at home may not prove nearly as effective in your target overseas market. Some nations and audiences still respond very strongly to offline channels, while others have become almost exclusively digital. Your marketing mix will, therefore, need to be adjusted accordingly.

Focus on Building Relationships with All the Stakeholders

Ultimately, your international industrial or manufacturing marketing channels should focus on the establishment of your reputation in your target market overseas. This means placing heavier emphasis on building strong and meaningful relationships, generating word-of-mouth and becoming a reliable, reputable and recognized the brand. As we say, an unsatisfied customer will tell ten people; a satisfied customer will tell one person, an entirely happy customer will tell two people. Digital Channels help companies to communicate bilaterally with so many more people now. Digital channels amplify everything you do, good or bad. They also help you understand how the market reacts to changes and (very important!) if the company employees are happy too. I suggest to check out what your employees think of their current employer on the Glassdoor website. You’ll be surprised.

 

Industrial Marketing Consultants

Unless you have a dedicated, full-time team of B2B sales and marketing experts in-house, including online marketers, you could benefit enormously from professional consultancy. Particularly in the digital era, the industrial marketing landscape is shifting and evolving at an astonishing pace. What works the industrial SEO, PPC or Social Media today is not what worked even six months ago.

Getting ahead and staying ahead means carefully monitoring industrial sales and marketing trends worldwide, to create effective and efficient ROI-positive strategies within the brand’s budget.

Typical scenarios in which you could benefit from the involvement of a professional sales and marketing consultant include:

  1. You wish for a consistently predictable lead generation
  2. You wish to be seen among the global leaders in your niche market on the very top of the search results
  3. Your competition captures all the inquiries from online channels leaving you unnoticed
  4. You need an extra push to start dominating in your niche market domestically and/or internationally
  5. You are considering entering new markets or segments
  6. You plan to introduce a new product or service
  7. Your competitors are thriving and leaving you behind
  8. You’ve noted a sudden or gradual decline in sales and inquiries
  9. You’ve not yet completed the move to digital
  10. You want to increase sales and revenues
  11. You haven’t explored all available marketing channels
  12. You’re interested in overseas expansion

Contrary to popular belief, outsourcing B2B digital marketing tasks doesn’t mean handing control of your business to an unknown third party. It’s simply a way to finding a long-term partner able to help you reach your strategic business objectives faster. Much faster than with traditional marketing channels. The right online industrial marketing partner enables you to grow your digital assets that work for your business and get you closer to success.

Author: Dennis Dubner, CEO of SONDORA SA. 20+ years of B2B Marketing and Business Development experience worldwide.

 

2020 Fashion Marketing: Everything You Need To Know To Get Ahead Of The Curve

Fashion Marketing is my personal passion. We work with fashion brands and multi-brand retailers daily. Therefore, I think it’s our duty to write on this topic more. First of all, we love fashion and luxury marketing for its speed, borderless room for creativity and reach. And that’s why I’ve decided to add my 2 cents to the ocean of content on this topic. 

3 Vital Elements for Building or Sustaining a Successful Modern Fashion Brand:

Let’s start with the basics here. IMHO, Leadership, Marketing, and Finance are three vital parts of any fashion business as it can help a brand to get the products to the right customers profitably if done right. It is the only way a fashion brand can expand its market reach and stay in business. 

I’ll elaborate on the Marketing component a bit more. While most people think that fashion marketing is just about modeling new products, it goes deeper than that. What’s more, the industry gets much more competitive with each passing day. Different businesses are pumping loads of capital to find ways they can get the edge and grow their reach, while still solidifying their grip on their current market base. 

Fashion marketers have to research on their different target audiences and find innovative ways of getting to them. The global fashion market is noisy, very noisy! As a fashion marketer, you have to resonate with the customer and inspire them to develop an interest in the product and the brand. And not just a random customer, but a micro-targeted customer with a crystal clear set of values, beliefs, habits, expectations. An American woman, 40 to 50 years old with above-average income level as a Persona won’t be good enough of a targeting anymore. 

 

Fashion Marketing is a different kind of animal.

Fashion marketing is very much different from the “normal” marketing for any other business. You can sustain the same marketing campaign for other businesses over an extended period of time. The fashion industry, on the other hand, is very dynamic and keeps changing as new trends come up every day. Marketing campaigns therefore only go for short cycles before fashion marketers are needed to come up with new campaigns for new products. The competition level is INSANE in fashion. This means that fashion marketing campaigns should be able to achieve its objectives as soon as they are launched. A good fashion marketing campaign should be able to balance both short-term gains and long-term goals. 

And, just to mention, Fashion Marketing is being destroyed by the PROMO CULTURE. Black Friday, Christmas Sale, Final Liquidation Prices, 90% Off, Buy 1 get 2 Free, and so on and so forth. C’mon! This cannot continue!

Promo Culture in Fashion, endless sale

 

 

Effective Fashion Marketing Tactics for 2020 

The top fashion brands did not get to the top of the industry through sheer luck. One of the major components of their success is effective marketing strategies, tactics, and campaigns. Here are some effective fashion marketing moves that have proved tremendously successful for top fashion brands: 

 

1. Collaborations 

Competition doesn’t automatically translate to the enemy. Sometimes, your competition may be the key to your success. In the fashion industry, doing collaborations with your competitions can help you tap into their markets and break new grounds. It has worked for various brands before, the most notable ones being Nike and Off White, and H&M and Karl Lagerfeld among others. The collaborations helped the brands extend their product lines and increase their visibility

 

2. Celebrity endorsements 

Celebrity endorsements are also about increasing product visibility. Celebrities are usually almost worshipped by their fans and their opinions and choices are the ultimate truth. They are cult heroes. 

Celebrity endorsements will not only help a fashion brand get new buyers but also loyal ones. No matter how big a fashion brand is, and a celebrity on its own rights, it can still do with a celebrity endorsement. For example, Rihanna was appointed as a creative director for women’s collection by Puma. Rihanna’s own fashion line, Fenty, has received celebrity endorsements from a number of superstars including Brandy, Cardi B, Ezra Miller, Gabrielle Union, and Karlie Kloss. Kanye West relied on celebrity endorsements from Calvin Harris and Justin Bieber to market his Yeezy Boost collection. 

 

3. Newsjacking 

Newsjacking is a marketing strategy used by brands to capitalize on breaking news and trending topics to draw some of the attention to themselves and their products. David Meerman has been given credit for the popularity of newsjacking as a marketing strategy. The practice is quite common in the fashion industry. Fashion brands have often jumped on social media trending topics, especially on Twitter and Instagram, with humorous and sometimes direct marketing for their products. Here are some of the most renowned news jacks:

– Tide and Superbowl blackout: When the Superbowl experienced a blackout during a match, Tide saw an opportunity to market its washing detergent. They made a tweet saying that though they were unable to do anything about blackouts, they could help with getting stains out.

– Snickers and Luis Suarez World Cup bite: When Luis Suarez bite Giorgio Chiellini during a 2014 World Cup match between Italy and Uruguay, Snickers jumped in with a tweet advising the striker to grab a Snickers the next time he wants a bite.

Newsjacking has to be done right or it could backfire on the brand, as Kenneth Cole found out when the brand tried to take advantage of the Syrian Conflict to market their footwear. 

 

4. Live Streaming 

A live stream can help a fashion brand reach millions of potential buyers as product launches and other brand events don’t have to be a privilege closed-door moment for the elite. Everyone gets to watch the event in real-time from their devices. Live Streaming helps the fashion house expand visibility and reach new audiences. Instead of relying on livestreams from invited guests on their channels, a fashion brand should establish their own official Livestream channels. Besides YouTube, other platforms that can make for great live streaming include: – Facebook Live – Instagram Live – Periscope – Ustream – Diecast – Vimeo Livestream – Streamshark – Stretch Internet – Brightcove brands such as Louis Vuitton are already capitalizing on Instagram live streams. 

 

5. Social Media Influencers 

Insta is still going to be BIG! And if your target audience is older or younger, Pinterest and Snapchat are awesome. Do not ever forget about the second largest search engine in the world – Youtube – that keeps on trying to become a social media network. 

Insta influencers in fashion business

Social media influencers can make a huge impact on a brand by simply giving them a mention or a review, or using their products. Influencer marketing is like high school, everyone wants to have what the cool kid has. Fashion brands can leverage on reputable fashion bloggers or vloggers to reach out to new market segments. It can lead to increased leads and sales. They can just generally share products from the brand or work in collaboration with a brand for a product-specific marketing campaign. One of the most common social media influencer campaigns is unboxing- in which the influencer uses a product for the first time and gives it a review on the camera. A classic example of influencer marketing is the unboxing video of Jordan Brand by YouTube vlogger Jacques Slade. 

 

6. Giveaways 

I am not a big fan but Giveaways can be an excellent way for fashion marketers to engage existing customers and acquire new ones for a brand. They can be used to promote new products or celebrate important occasions by the fashion brand. Giveaways help in creating brand awareness and growing the audience base. After a giveaway competition by Catparty on Instagram, the number of their followers increased by 70%. 

 

7. Affiliate marketing 

This is a BIG ONE!!!! Paying a commission to the webmasters that already have massive traffic to their digital assets is a BAD DRUG for fashion brands. It’s LOVE/HATE relationship really. On one hand, the revenue skyrockets fast. On the other hand, brand evaporates. So it’s a tough call to start or stop an affiliate marketing campaign. 

Affiliate Marketing in Fashion Business

What is affiliate marketing

One of the benefits of affiliate marketing is that the return on investment is almost guaranteed. It is a widely used marketing strategy for increasing online sales outside of your website or an app. The affiliates are usually paid on commission, which is a percentage of the sales made from their sales funnel. Affiliate marketing is a great way for fashion brands to develop brand advocates and work with various publishers for mutual benefit. The costs majorly depend on how the affiliate marketing program is set up. 

Some of the best platforms for Fashion Affiliate Marketing include: 

 

8. Style guides 

You can dedicate a section exclusively to style guides and fashion tips. That style guides will give your website visitors ideas on how to dress and accessorize your brand and even incorporate your products with their wardrobe. You can do style guides for different seasons, special occasions, holidays, and topical themes such as a weekend getaway, work, and travel. When your audience is able to visualize how they would look in your products, they are likely to make a purchase. 

 

9. Storytelling 

In spite of the major shift towards digital marketing, traditional marketing platforms such as TV, radio, and newspapers are still relevant and can deliver a return on investment if well utilized. To realize any success with these traditional platforms, your brand should be able to tell a story. Well, the same stands for digital channels really. Just tap into people’s emotions in a positive manner and you’ll get rewarded. This has largely been Nike’s forte with their memorable campaigns. A perfect example was the “Just do it” campaign which also featured Colin Kaepernick. 

 

10. Corporate Social Responsibility And Sustainability

While corporate social responsibility (CSR) and Sustainability may not have a direct impact on sales, it is a great way to establish brand awareness. In the long run, the fashion brand will be able to realize the benefits of CSR. You can never go wrong with giving back to the community. 

Some of the notable brands who have realized tremendous growth after doing CSR activities include: 

Converse – The shoe brand set up a studio where New York artists could record their music for free. They do not claim ownership to the songs. Neither do they demand that the artists advertise the brand. This has had a huge impact on their popularity. 

Under Armour’s strategy to give free shirts to the National Football League (NFL) players resulted in shirt deals with more than 2 NFL teams. 

– Lululemon offers free yoga classes every weekend in one of its California stores. This has elevated it as a fashion brand that cares about the wellbeing of its customers. 

When thought and creativity are injected into a fashion marketing process, then there are higher chances of the fashion brand realizing returns on investment. 

 

2020 Emerging Trends In Fashion Marketing 

1. Omnichannel Retailing 

Fashion brands are increasingly exploring the option of allowing customers to shop and receive products from channels of their choice. Retail stores can be able to cross-sell items from other stores. One of the fashion designers who are already exploring this is Lyn Evans. All of its stores have iPads which customers can use to order items from the other stores in case they don’t find their favorite item or color in that particular store. Another brand that has embraced omnichannel retailing is Gap.

But wait! If you think Omnichannel is about the channels, you are very much wrong. Omnichannel is all about the Data and Attribution for most fashion brands. Every time I speak with a CMO about the Omnichannel, we have to invite a CFO into the meeting room as well. Omnichannel is a cause for many internal company conflicts for lots of brands. “So who gets the bonus then?” is what makes the omnichannel so difficult for the companies leadership. 

 

2. Product Customization 

Fashion brands are increasingly allowing their customers to customize the products to their tastes and preferences. NikeiD on the Nike website gives customers the option of picking the pattern and colors they would want on their shoes. Black Lapel, Indochino, Vans, Ray-Ban, and Adidas among other brands also allow their customers to customize and personalize their orders. 

 

3. Luxury Fashion Online Marketing 

Online retail used to be left to fashion brands that were still trying to establish themselves. Not anymore. Luxury fashion brands are finally realizing how much potential online retail has to their business. Does it even make sense to list the luxury companies that sell online? It’s easier to list those who don’t. However, if you ask me how many luxury fashion brands are successful in selling online, I’d say “very few”.

E-Commerce marketing is HARD. It requires so many different expensive skill sets in your company that it barely breaks even. Hiring an internal expert data analyst and an external professional e-commerce marketing agency (may I say, like SONDORA MARKETING?) would be a great idea. 

  

4. Visual Commerce 

Visualization plays an important role in attracting customers. Amazon, in a bid to place itself as the top online retailer for fashion items, launched a photography studio with 22 photo bays in 2015. They also later launched a fashion site called Who What Wear aimed at enabling customers to shop for items that are inspired by celebrities. More and more brands are looking to curate photos in order to have a visualization effect on their customers. 

Starting from 2019, lots of brands go beyond the standard visuals. Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are yet quite slow in adoption by Fashion Brands. But I am pretty confident that this is a temporary state of things. AR and VR are going to be MASSIVE.

 

5. Integration Of Artificial Intelligence In Fashion Marketing 

Fashion marketers are incorporating artificial intelligence in their marketing campaigns for greater return on investment all day long. AI has been pivotal in improving customer interactions and gives fashion marketers access to better and more reliable data analytics

 

6. Social Shopping 

Social media is increasingly becoming a storefront for fashion brands. The brands create links on social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest that redirect customers to their retail sites. Everyone does shopping ads for a good reason. It works beautifully. 

But why Ads? You might ask. Why not organic reach on social media platforms? Well, thanks to Facebook’s Executive Team, the organic reach is aimed closer and closer to Zero now. Social Media Platforms have so much value that it wouldn’t be very smart not to monetize it. Would it? So if you want visibility, brand awareness and conversions, run Ads. As simple as that. 

 

Phases Of Strategic Fashion Marketing 

Let’s now move to the mechanics of Fashion Marketing. 

In order to have in place a powerful roadmap and a successful set of marketing campaigns, fashion marketers usually undertake the following three phases in developing a strategic marketing campaign: 

 

Planning Phase 

The fashion marketer does a market analysis so as to have a clear picture of the state of the brand. At this phase, the following functions are performed; – Analysis of competition – Research on the brand’s existing and potential customers. – Brand assessment – Industry trends After those functions are completed, the team comes up with a marketing plan. 

 

Implementation Phase 

The marketing plan is put into action. The fashion marketing team organizes resources, designs market organization and develops marketing schedules. The marketing plan developed in the first phase is used as a reference point for marketing tactics. 

 

Evaluation Phase 

In this phase, the fashion marketing manager ensures that the results achieved from the marketing program are in line with the business goals that were set in the initial stages. Corrective actions are taken in case any deviations are noted so that the marketing campaign can stay on track. They also seek to maximize the positives. Basically, at this phase, the progress of the marketing campaign is monitored and evaluated. 

The evaluation is done in the following ways: 

 

Key Components Of Fashion Marketing 

With the cutthroat competition in the fashion industry, designers and fashion marketers cannot afford the luxury of wasting time and resources. They have to get it right the first time as the second chance is basically playing catch up to the competition. They, therefore, need to come up with a sound marketing strategy that guarantees results- leads and conversions. Here are 7 key components of fashion marketing; 

1. Market research 

The need for market research is even more profound in the fashion industry than any other. You need to understand the market size and its growth or decline, consumer spending habits, and any emerging trends in the industry. Some of the top publications that a fashion marketer can rely on for insights in the industry include Vogue, Elle, Glamour, Vanity Fair, Cosmopolitan, and InStyle among many others. 

2. Target market 

The marketing strategy should be able to comprehensively capture the target market for fashion products. Besides identifying the type of buyers most likely to purchase the product, it should also segment the target market into at least three levels for effective marketing campaigns and easy penetration. 

3. Brand and product positioning 

What kind of perception does the market have of the brand and its products? Are they perceived as the go-to brand for fashion items when on a budget? The market perception is an important element to consider when developing marketing campaigns. Once the fashion marketer understands the brands positioning, they will be able to develop effective campaigns that reinforce positive perceptions and change negative perceptions. They can communicate clearly on how they want the brand to be perceived. 

4. Competitive Analysis 

A brand can only ignore the competition at their own peril. A good fashion marketer will want to know who the competition is, the brand’s products are different from that of the competition, the market segment they operate in, and how they can have an edge over the competition. You have to stand out from your competition. 

5. Effective marketing strategy 

An effective marketing strategy is the only way to nurture leads and convert those leads to sales. The effectiveness of a marketing strategy is measured in terms of impressions, leads, and sales. The core question the marketing strategy should answer is, “how do I find and attract the target market?” After identifying the target market, they can use various tactics to reach them. 

6. Marketing budget 

The fashion marketer should be able to forecast how much budget they will need for a marketing campaign. The budget can be planned weekly or monthly. The budget should have a ceiling for each activity such that the marketer doesn’t waste funds on a strategy that is not generating a return on investment. 

7. Marketing metrics 

From start to the end of the marketing campaign, the fashion marketer should be able to measure the success of the campaign. They should be able to compare the budget spent on the entire campaign versus the actual return on investment. For online marketing campaigns, the marketer can rely on services such as Google Analytics to measure the metrics. This will help them to measure the effectiveness of their marketing strategies. 

 

Do You Need To Be A Design Guru To Be A Great Fashion Marketer?

Obviously, Fashion marketers do not necessarily have to be designers. This does not mean that they do not have a say on the type of products that fashion brands put out to the market. On the contrary, they do have a big influence on the products and their designs. Fashion marketers carry out market research and therefore are in a better position to understand fashion trends and the impact they have on a business. They know which designs would be a hit and which wouldn’t. They therefore also contribute to the design of fashion products. The responsibilities of a fashion marketer include: 

– Market Research and analysis:

This helps in decision-making with regards to fashion designs and business processes. They perform both quantitative and qualitative research into fashion trends and consumer behaviors. 

– Brand design and development: 

Fashion marketers are responsible for placing the brand such that the target audience can relate and feel a personal connection to the brand. They have to create the story behind the brand. 

– Development and management of advertising campaigns: 

Besides creating compelling advertisements for the products, fashion marketers also have to manage media planning to ensure that the ads are distributed as scheduled. They are responsible for both traditional and digital advertisements. 

– Pricing and distribution of fashion products: 

Fashion marketers contribute to the decision on how brands price and distribute their products. Through their market research, they can be able to tell which distributions channels are better performing and how to price the products for each channel. This helps the brand to maximize their profits from both retail and online stores. 

 

Amazing People 

And now, since you’ve gone through this “long read” and wonder how the hack is one person capable of doing so many things, I have to say that such people work at many fashion companies. They are incredibly talented people. 

If you are just beginning your marketing career at a Fashion company, I’d recommend developing many soft and hard skills.

 

Marketing Skills For A Good Fashion Marketer:

– Good communication skills 

– Outstanding Analytical Skills = numbers is everything in modern marketing

– Great taste and sense in Fashion 

– Multitasking

– Martech knowledge: the more in-depth the better

– Fast Decision-making 

– Business acumen 

– Ability to work in high-pressure environments 

– Creative skills 

– Sales skills: the amount of time and effort it takes to sell an idea inside the fashion company is just ridiculous sometimes. 

 

Thanks for your attention. Please comment below and we’ll be happy to address any of your questions.

 

Author: Dennis Dubner, CEO of SONDORA MARKETING – a digital marketing agency helping brands with better marketing strategies, revenues, and bottom line. 

Win Loss Analysis – Best Marketing Practices for 2020

It’s a scenario you probably know well. You’ve finally closed the deal, the immediate future looks great for your business and the entire team is in the mood to celebrate. You’ve hit your targets ahead of time, you’re looking at a decent period with zero uncertainty ahead and your confidence is sky-high.

But here’s the thing – tomorrow is a new day, with new targets to assign and new challenges to face. The question being, what can you do to repeat this all-around success going forwards?

In my experience, this is where many businesses go wrong. They ride the wave of a recent big success, which is fine, but they ride it way too long. Assumptions are made based on immediate successes and insufficient effort is made to encourage history to repeat itself.

The result of which, as you can imagine, tends to be a disappointment.

If you fall on the more proactive side of the spectrum, what should you be doing to make things happen again and again?

The answer – conducting a win/loss analysis could help steer things in the right direction.

 

What Is a Win Loss Analysis (WLA)?

Carrying out a win/loss analysis (aka post-decision interviews) gives you the opportunity to replicate your biggest successes indefinitely. It’s also just as important for generating key insights as to why you didn’t hit your targets, helping guide your subsequent decisions and actions accordingly.

Win/loss analysis is one of the many options on the table for repeating your successes, but it’s a highly effective and measurable method.

At its core, a win/loss analysis provides the opportunity to assess your business and its performance from the perspective of your customers. It delivers a detailed overview of your points of appeal, areas for improvement and the reasons why you won or lost. Rather than assuming you know what contributed to your recent success or failure, you go directly to your customers and request their feedback.

Interviews can be carried out via various channels, but I’ve noted the most helpful insights are generated by in-person discussions or telephone conversations. Postal or email surveys are an option but don’t provide the opportunity to dig deeper than the base questions you ask. You can even ask a third-party to handle things on your behalf, but then you can’t be sure they’ll probe as deeply or specifically as you would personally.

By ensuring you (or your team) contact customers directly, you access a number of key benefits such as:

You’ll still produce helpful data through traditional questionnaires and surveys, but I strongly recommend at least some in-person interviews where possible.

 

What Are the Benefits of Win Loss Analysis?

The primary benefit of a win/loss analysis is the unique customer-first perspective it provides of your successes and failures. A strong and on-going sales strategy is mandatory for the consistent performance of your organization. A win/loss analysis provides the opportunity to gather, analyze and retain the kind of priceless data that can help improve success rates and identify areas of weakness.

In fact, there’s no more effective way of getting to know your business from the perspective of its customers than through win/loss analysis.

Specifically, win/loss analysis delivers such key insights as:

These are just a few of the insights you’ll gain access to by performing an effective win/loss analysis. Ultimately, the data you collect can be used as the basis for your on-going marketing and PR strategy.

 

How to Conduct Win/Loss Analysis

The benefits of win/loss analysis are therefore clear, but what’s the best way of getting started?

It’s worth remembering that the data you collect will only be as useful as the collection method allows. Hence, it’s useful to view the win/loss analysis interview process in three specific stages:

The Pre-Interview

In the wake of success or failure, you’ll first need to pen a robust interview strategy with your sales and marketing team, with the input of your customer service heads. Consider the questions you’ll be asking, who will carry out the interviews and how they will be performed. I recommend planning for interviews that last around 30 minutes, though allow extra time in instances where further probing is necessary. Make things as easy and comfortable as possible for the interviewee, which will encourage their participation and help maintain their interest.

The Interview

Don’t be afraid to go off-script during the interview if you feel additional or modified questions could prove helpful. It’s also important to conduct the interview as objectively as possible, allowing as little emotion as you can to affect your approach. The customer should be reminded of the importance of their honesty, irrespective of how their thoughts and opinions differ from those of the interviewer. Stick with the timetable you assign as strictly as possible, in order to avoid frustrating the interviewee.

Post-Interview

The data collected during each interview should be reviewed and analyzed with equal importance. Rather than searching for findings that correlate with your own beliefs, you need to consider every viewpoint and experience carefully. It’s also important to thank each participant after the event for their contribution to the project.

Best-Practice Rules for Successful Post-Decision Interviews

Post-decision interviews shouldn’t be conducted only in the wake of major wins or losses. Instead, they should form an integral part of your core sales, marketing, and customer service strategy. At least, if you prioritize continuous improvement and customer satisfaction.

There are, however, some ground rules that should be followed to make the most of every win/loss analysis carried out. Looking ahead to the remaining months of 2019, the following represent the most important best-practice guidelines to gain maximum value from your post-decision interviews:

Your findings will be skewed if you speak to a disproportionate number of satisfied or dissatisfied customers. You can only expect to achieve clear and balanced insights if you ensure both sides are represented equally. It’s also worth remembering that every interview represents an invaluable opportunity to get a disenchanted customer back on board with whatever it is you do.

As a general rule of thumb, try to ensure your interviews are carried out no more than two months (or eight weeks) following the event or action. The more time that passes, the more inaccuracies and inconsistencies may find their way into the participants’ accounts. It can also be useful to gauge the emotional responses of your customers to your brand, which will be at their rawest and strongest immediately after the event.

Consider the information you’re most interested in collecting and work backward to establish the questions you’ll need to ask. To what extent did you satisfy the customer? Which of your competitors were also in contention? Why did they choose you? What would it take to keep them coming back? Why didn’t you win their business? What would they change about the experience? What advice could they offer you? What were their perceptions of your representatives? What are your biggest strengths and weaknesses?

If impartiality is to be achieved, the interview must take place in a non-sales environment with zero pressure and with no hint of a sales pitch. Effective post-decision interviews can help get disenchanting customers back on board, but this should never be your priority. Salesmanship and marketing talk has no place in the mix – the same also applying to your own personal feelings and emotions.

If you simply cannot guarantee 100% objectivity and impartiality with your own representatives, you may need to consider hiring a third party. This may be the only way of achieving a true non-sales environment for the interviews, ensuring the results aren’t skewed by your own biased views, opinions, and objectives. Outsourcing can bring its own unique challenges into the mix but does at least guarantee neutrality and objectivity on the part of the interviewer.

Contextual free-form answers should be encouraged to determine how each customer feels about your business and your offer. However, it can also be very difficult (or even impossible) to compile and analyze this kind of data. It’s therefore useful to create fixed metrics for customers’ responses – such as asking them to gauge their satisfaction on a scale of 1 to 10. Or perhaps determine the extent to which an issue is a priority for them – not at all, low, medium, high, very high etc. This will assist with the aggregation and analysis of the data you collect.

  1. Conduct interviews regularly

Conducting win/loss analysis once every year or so won’t tell you a great deal about your business. By the time your next interviews are carried out, you’ve already lost the opportunity to act on the prior project’s findings. Instead, it’s a good idea to conduct post-decision interviews on a quarterly basis at least. Compare and contrast each project’s findings with the last, taking every opportunity to act on your findings the moment they’re gathered.

As far as your customers are concerned, the thoughts and opinions they share are 100% factual. Hence, they’re the only thoughts and opinions you should be listening to. Irrespective of how the information you gather mar contradict your deepest-set thoughts and beliefs, this is the information you need to trust. However objective you think you are, nobody can provide more honest and objective insights than your customers themselves. Trust their opinions, consider their suggestions and act upon their feedback.

Above all else, you need to get out of the habit of viewing post-decision interviews as an optional extra. Win/loss analysis should be considered mandatory – a key strategy that forms the core of your on-going sales, marketing, and customer satisfaction strategy.

win-loss audit in digital marketing

Post-Decision Interviews for Better Digital Marketing

From a digital marketer’s perspective, I personally believe there is a no richer or more valuable source of data than that obtained through strategic win/loss analysis. Whether you succeed or fail, your customers can provide all the information you’ll need to move on with even greater strength and confidence.

Your digital marketing goal may be to enhance your brand’s image, boost your reputation, generate leads, enhance conversion rates, appeal to a new/wider market or any number of combined objectives. Across the board, you can only hope to succeed if you know exactly what’s working and what isn’t from the perspective of your customers. Which digital channels do they prefer? What would they change about the UX or customer journey? What’s their preferred customer support channel? Is your current digital marketing mix working?

Otherwise, you could be basing your decisions on incomplete and potentially flawed information, along with your own non-objective insights. A digital marketing strategy based on factual evidence and honest customer opinions will always perform better than a campaign built around assumptions.

Conclusion…

Most businesses have the means and the resources necessary to conduct detailed win/loss analysis. More importantly, going directly to your customers for advice and insights simply makes sense.

Nevertheless, evidence suggests comparatively few show any real priority to post-decision interviews. Which is unfortunate, given their potential to produce invaluable data for near-limitless business-wide benefits.

Irrespective of the time and effort the project may entail, the results can and will justify your investment. It’s simply a case of adopting a carefully structured approach, in accordance with the practices and general guidelines outlined above.

Author: Dennis Dubner, CEO of SONDORA SA

Ways to Calculate and Improve Lifetime Value (LTV)

Customer Lifetime Value (LTV) is an effective way of benchmarking your Customer Acquisition Cost against the Actual Profits you’ll generate from a single Customer.

What is LTV?

Customer Lifetime Value is calculated by subtracting the total costs of acquiring a customer from the profits they generate. LTV can only be used to create basic financial estimates for the future, but can nonetheless prove instrumental in helping you make better decisions for your business.

LTV is useful because it provides a guideline as to how much you can spend to acquire customers, in accordance with their average spend. You can also evaluate the payback period – the time it takes for the customer to repay their acquisition costs. Longer payback periods amount to more risk for the business.

What’s more, investors always pay close attention to an organization’s LTV when carrying out wider financial health assessments. By getting to know your LTV, you’ll be in a much stronger position to drive your business forward.

Customer Lifetime Value (LTV) represents the average revenue that a customer generates for your business before they churn, offset by gross margin. LTV in SaaS is only ever used as a forward-looking estimate of the future, but calculating a reasonable estimate allows you to make smarter decisions for your business.

 

Your Complete Guide to LTV

Business owners and marketing teams are constantly on the lookout for reliable ways to acquire new customers and enhance customer loyalty in a cost-effective manner. Calculating the lifetime value of your customer is an essential step in the journey towards boosting your company’s ROI in product development, customer support and marketing arenas alike.

 

Why Calculate Your Customer Lifetime Value (LTV)?

In the simplest terms, LTV is a simple yet effective method for forecasting projected profits from customers throughout their lifetime relationship with your brand. Roughly translated, it’s a case of calculating how much you can expect to receive in accordance with the costs of acquiring them in the first place.

By calculating your customer lifetime value, you’ll have the opportunity to make more strategic decisions in key areas such as:

 

How is Customer Lifetime Value Calculated?

There’s a great deal of data that can be brought together to create an accurate customer lifetime value. At its core, however, a basic customer lifetime value can be calculated as follows:

 

LTV = Lifetime Customer Revenue – Lifetime Customer Costs

 

Working with this formula, a typical example could play out like this. A customer orders products and services to the total value of USD 2,000 ($1,000 product price you charge in Year 0, and $1,000 revenue from the services you provide during Years 1 & 2) during the lifetime of their relationship with your business (for example, for 3 years). During these 3 years, the total cost of the sales and services you’ve provided add up to USD 750. This would result in an LTV of USD 1,250 ($2,000 – $750 = $1,250). With this data, it can be concluded that to spend anything more or equal than USD 1,250 on customer acquisition would be counterproductive. Doing so would mean breaking even at best, or coming out with a loss. Acquisition costs regularly fluctuate and vary significantly from one organization to the next.

In all instances, however, customer retention is considered a more effective and affordable strategy, with the potential to deliver a much healthier ROI.

 

How to Increase Your LTV

Recent years have brought about the emergence of hundreds of thousands of new start-ups, intensifying competition across all industries and sectors. As a result, businesses are placing heavier emphasis than ever before on the acquisition of new customers. This, despite the fact that customer acquisition typically costs 700% more than customer retention.

Striking the right balance with your customer lifetime value calculator holds the key to your brand’s long-term success. The good news is that there are countless avenues to explore for enhancing and improving your LTV.

The most effective of all being as follows:

1. Upsell, Cross-Sell and Do Something Your Competitors Don’t

Be it products, services, features, resources or anything else, it’s up to you to provide your customers with something they have an interest in. It could also be something as simple as a blog, providing the kinds of insights that keep your customers coming back for more. It could be the quality of the service you provide, the simplicity of your online store, the consistent speed of your deliveries – whatever you can think of to set you apart from your competitors and nurture the relationships to deliver more value to the existing customer.

2. Feature Your Fans and Followers

Placing your customers in the spotlight can be a great way of both nurturing retention and attracting the attention of new customers. From photos to video testimonials to reviews and recommendations, it’s all about engaging with the audience you intended to win over. Become part of the community, rather than building barriers between you and your audience.

3. Send Something Unexpected

Rewards and incentives are all well and good, though are often all-too predictable. But when we receive something unexpected completely out of the blue from a brand we’ve done business with, we can’t help but shout about it.  All of which can work wonders for the respective firm’s reputation and position. Even if it’s something as simple as a hand-written greetings card, it could have the desired impact.

4. Request Advice and Suggestions

Rather than expecting customer feedback to flow your way organically, consider adopting a proactive approach. Make it as easy as possible for your customers to make suggestions and include some kind of incentive for doing so. Thank them for their comments, respond to any comments published online and act on their suggestions. It’s only when customers genuinely believe you’re listening to them that you can expect to win their loyalty.

5. Provide Stellar Customer Support

Anyone wishing to do so should be able to contact your company instantaneously via whichever channel appeals to them most. It’s up to you to be there when your customers need you – not the other way around. Under no circumstances should you ever make your customers jump through hoops simply to contact a member of your support team. As mentioned a little earlier, stellar customer support typically holds the key to customer loyalty and a more robust LTV.

 

In Summary…

Your Customer Lifetime Value is by no means a silver-bullet metric capable of solving every issue you may face. Nevertheless, it’s one of the most invaluable and useful metrics to be brought into your key decision-making processes.

Once you’ve established your current LTV, it’s up to you to do whatever it takes to enhance and improve it where possible.

 

Author: Dennis Dubner, CEO of SONDORA MARKETING.

The Difference Between Marketing and Selling

Marketing and Selling are routinely used as interchangeable synonyms for the same business concept. In reality, there are significant differences between the two terms. The development and implementation of an effective marketing strategy rely on the respective brand’s ability to differentiate between selling and marketing.

Marketing Vs Selling

At a fundamental level, the concepts of marketing and selling could be defined as follows:

The concepts of marketing and selling are interconnected in many ways, though refer to very different processes within a wider business strategy. Marketing is an umbrella term that encompasses an extensive range of strategic, advertising, promotional and PR tasks – selling being just one component of a marketing strategy.

A Detailed Definition of Marketing

In a little more detail, marketing is a multi-dimensional process that concerns the improvement of business performance and profitability by boosting the brand’s appeal and value in the eyes of the customer. As a result, any activities or processes geared towards image enhancement, brand development, customer loyalty, and general customer satisfaction could be considered marketing tactics.

The concept of marketing begins with the target audience – identifying the requirements of the customer, creating strategies to engage them and ultimately profiting through customer satisfaction. The more effective the marketing strategy, the more likely the customer is to remain loyal to the brand.

With marketing, it’s a case of heavily researching the customer’s wants, needs, preferences, and general behaviors. This information can then be used to present the product, the service and/or the entire business in the most appealing manner possible at the right time, in the right place, through the right channels, with the right Value Proposition. After which, sales occur naturally and loyalty is nurtured.

A Detailed Definition of Selling

The formula is somewhat reversed with the purest form of selling. Rather than beginning with the target audience and positioning, the selling process starts with the product or service value itself.

A selling strategy aims to coax, convince or persuade buyers that they want or need whatever’s being sold. Instead of identifying the needs of the customer and aiming to fulfil them, selling works the other way around – the business attempts to create a sense of need to sell more products.

Though highly effective for improving conversion rates and generating revenue, selling alone isn’t a workable strategy in the absence of marketing support. Hence, selling forms just one part of a wider marketing strategy, which must be carefully balanced with other complementary techniques.

How to Distinguish Between Marketing and Selling

One of the most effective ways of distinguishing between marketing and selling is to consider the marketing process in its entirety. Businesses and marketing consultants often have their own unique approaches to the marketing process, but the fundamentals of the formula remain relatively static.

Here’s a more detailed breakdown of the typical marketing process for the modern business:

  1. Audience Identification

The first and most important step in the process is to identify a viable market for your product or service. If there are no customers waiting to buy whatever it is you’re selling, the rest is inconsequential.

  1. Demand and Competitive Analysis

The existence of an audience and demand for a product or service doesn’t confirm its appropriateness for your business. Extensive competitor analysis must also be carried out, in order to ensure the market isn’t already saturated or impenetrable.

  1. Product or Service Design and Development

Every aspect of the service or product design and development process should be tailored to meet the requirements and preferences of the end-user. You first establish their needs, then create something that satisfies them.

  1. Marketing and Promotion

After which, it’s a case of creating a marketing strategy to effectively present your product or service to your target audience. The key to success lies in showing the customer how their life will be better with your product or service in it.

  1. Customer Support Provision

Immediate and on-going customer support can be the ultimate deal-breaker for a marketing strategy. The more capable and committed the support you provide, the easier it becomes to nurture loyalty.

 

The Difference Between Marketing and Selling

In contrast with the above process, selling is – as the name itself suggests – simply a case of exchanging products or services for money. A basic transaction, wherein the customer receives something in return for their payment. Given the nature of the marketing process, this ‘sale’ represents almost a final step and is typically the result of successful marketing. The final step would be getting the existing customers’ experience as great as possible so your customers can refer other potential customers to your company with pride.

Selling is a part of marketing but is fundamentally reliant on other interconnected components. In most instances, selling products is impossible without an effective marketing strategy. Every sale contributes to the success of the business but must be approached in a manner that promotes loyalty and customer satisfaction. Selling without building trust and online social proof becomes problematic in the digital era.

Technically speaking, selling products is relatively easy if the value you deliver is well taken. After all, you can simply tell your target audience anything and everything they want to hear – even if it’s far from true. Though for obvious reasons, if you underdeliver or mislead the potential customers this would likely have a detrimental effect on customer loyalty, brand image and the wider performance of the organization. Therefore, the Sales Process must be closely coordinated with the Marketing Team so the right Brand Message is delivered, the expectations are set correctly, the Value Proposition is communicated.

 

Key Differentiators Between Marketing and Selling

An easy way of getting to grips with the difference between marketing and selling is to consider the latter as a more physical process. That being, the logistical movement of goods or services from the seller to the buyer by way of a sale. You pay, you receive something in return – this is a ‘sale’.

By contrast, marketing encompasses absolutely everything the organization does to both reaches and appeals to its target audience. Sales are needed to generate revenue, but marketing is a broad process that focuses on satisfying the demands of the customer and sustaining the organization long-term.

Some of the most important differences between selling and marketing are as follows:

  1. From beginning to end, marketing prioritizes customer satisfaction. The cycle begins by establishing the requirements and expectations of the customer, continuing to the provision of products/services to fulfill their needs and ends with their satisfaction and loyalty. Selling focuses less on customer satisfaction, more on revenues and profits.
  2. The success of a selling strategy is typically measured on sales volumes and revenue generated. With marketing, the way the audience perceives the value, the reasonable customer acquisition cost (CAC) per marketing channel, high Customer Lifetime Value (LTV), great Value Proposition (VP) and Unique Selling Proposition (USP) design, and high customer satisfaction levels indicate the campaign’s success.
  3. An effective marketing strategy is built entirely around the expectations and desires of the customer. With selling, techniques are devised to closing more sales of a product or service the business wishes to offer.
  4. Sales often focus on generating immediate revenues in a somewhat time-limited manner. Whereas an effective marketing strategy can nurture the kind of long-term loyalty that translates to on-going prosperity for the business.
  5. A marketing strategy that includes an effective sales strategy can ensure the business benefits from both. Nevertheless, a business is unlikely to succeed by focusing exclusively on sales without a wider long-term marketing strategy in place.
  6. Marketing considers the consumer first of all and values the customer as the single most important entity at the heart of the business. With selling, the customer is the final link in the chain, whereas the products or services being sold are the crux of the strategy.
  7. A sales strategy may be considered successful even if the overwhelming majority of buyers are dissatisfied with their purchases. With marketing, even the most enormous sales volumes may be considered inconsequential if customer satisfaction ratings are low.
  8. Marketing is considered an indirect activity, in that it promotes the business and its products/services without necessarily resorting to the hard sell. By contrast, selling is a direct activity – the business proactively attempting to persuade the customer to make a purchase.
  9. Sales strategies can be great for generating immediate interest and driving sales in a time-limited manner, through communicating the value to Prospects (Value-Based Selling), or through special offers, discounts, free gifts and time-limited promotions (Transactional Selling). Marketing focuses more on long-term business performance and continuous viability and profitability.
  10. More often than not, marketing focuses on the future of the business, its products/services and its target audience. Selling is more concerned with the immediate moment than what may or may not happen tomorrow.

 

Marketing and Selling Combined

Based on my experience consulting companies from Small to Large, in many organizational settings, the sales and marketing departments are separated. The reason is that each of the two responsibilities demands a unique set of skills and competencies for successful strategy development and implementation.

Compare the characteristics of an effective salesperson and an elite marketer and the differences become immediately apparent. To succeed in sales, you need to be an incredibly confident and assertive communicator, be perceived as an expert, possess advanced communication skills and be a naturally persuasive and influential individual. You also need to be able to ‘spin’ whatever you have to work within a manner that appeals to the prospective customer.

With marketing, it a little less ‘hands-on’. Excellent communication skills are a must, but marketers need to be somewhat more empathetic, analytical and forward-thinking. Their role is to consider the bigger picture for the business long-term, as opposed to doing whatever is necessary to close immediate sales. Marketers are critical thinkers with the ability to put themselves in the customer’s position, nurturing relationships through understanding rather than persuasion.

In any case, selling forms an important part of the marketing process, so the two go hand-in-hand.

 

Is Selling More Important than Marketing?

Speak to a sample group of small business owners and they’ll typically tell you the same:

Sales matter more than marketing.

The reason is that with limited time and money to invest in marketing, their performance and success are measured entirely on sales. From a logical perspective, sales is the Income Statement top line – and running a business often becomes a pursuit for the Revenue. If you don’t sell your products or services, you don’t generate the revenues you need to sustain your business.

So, just as long as they’re selling enough to get by, nothing else matters. Sales, therefore, is more important than marketing.

But while there’s a certain amount of logic to this conclusion, it’s a classic case of fundamentally flawed logic. Selling is important because it brings in the necessary revenues, but marketing is the process of designing the right product or service that’s in demand or generate the demand for the product or service, getting products and services known in the first place. Or to put it another way, you can’t expect to sell products or services if nobody knows they exist. Marketing comes first, ensuring you present something of value in accordance with the needs and desires of your target audience.

If they don’t want it or have no idea it exists, you won’t sell it…and your business will fail.

Irrespective of the importance of sales, therefore, you cannot realistically claim selling matters more than marketing. Sales occur as a result of effective marketing, which can also nurture loyalty and boost a brand’s wider performance. And, as already touched upon, marketing focuses on the long-term performance of the business – not the finite sales needed to keep it afloat temporarily.

 

In Summary…

Despite the inherent complexities within the fields of both marketing and selling, considering the two together is actually quite straightforward:

As it’s almost impossible to sell without marketing your products or services properly, marketing should be prioritized due to its strategic impact on the business.

This is particularly true when considering how an effective marketing strategy naturally encourages greater sales volumes and on-going sales. Selling and marketing may be very different concepts but are nonetheless intrinsically interconnected and interdependent on one another.

 

Author: Dennis Dubner, CEO, and Founder of Sondora Marketing.

 

What Does A Marketing Consultant Do?

I get this question from friends all the time. So I decided to clear this out once and for all in one sentence and have elaborated too 👇👇👇

Marketing Consulting DefinitionThe procurement or provision of professional services to support immediate and long-term marketing strategies for engaging customers and improving business performance.

 

What Are Marketing Consultant Services?

Marketing consultants – aka marketing advisers – are multi-skilled individuals who understand the process of connecting businesses with their target audiences. This may be a somewhat broad definition, but the services provided by marketing consulting firms are equally broad in scope.

 

What Do Marketers Do?

It’s often assumed that marketing consultants and advertising agencies offer the same basic services. In reality, the two are quite different, though are deeply interconnected.

With advertising, it’s essentially a case of communicating a predetermined message to an identified and accessible audience. Advertising agencies assist with the process of creating compelling ads and ensuring they reach the relevant recipients.

By contrast, a marketing consultant can help a brand or business build better connections with prospective and existing customers alike. They focus on the enhancement of the brand’s wider image, authority, and appeal, as opposed to more direct selling of products and services. A marketing consultant can help identify a viable target audience in the first place, analyze customer behaviors and preferences, establish goals and create a strategic road map for their accomplishment.

From initial planning to strategic framework development to implementation to on-going analysis and optimization, professional marketers and marketing consultancy firms help the business meet its financial and more general performance-based objectives.

 

Marketing Consulting Agency Types

If you’ve decided to join forces with an internet marketing consultant (or digital marketing consultant), you’ll need to first consider their background and expertise. Along with a variety of specialist fields within digital marketing, there are two primary categories of marketing consultants to be aware of:

Of course, you’ll always come across marketing consulting firms that provide both B2B and B2C solutions. In any case, it’s the client’s responsibility to first determine if and to what extent their respective service provider has relevant expertise and experience.

 

Typical Services of the Digital Marketing Consulting Agency

Most of the digital marketing agencies have their Core Service that they perform the best. Some of those cover:

 

Can you learn Digital Marketing at School or University?  💪 🤷‍♂️ 🙅‍♂️

Absolutely yes. 💪 But once you graduate, most the knowledge you have worked so hard for is going to be outdated. That’s just harsh truth. The educational system is too slow to pick up the latest changes. For example, Google changes its algorithm over 200 times a year and releases 2-4 major updates annually. These updates turn the SEO world upside down completely. Facebook changes its algorithm constantly as well, releases new advertising options constantly. Some aspects of our daily operations as an agency in 2019 did not even exist in 2018. Therefore, you can definitely learn the fundamentals at school, and you should. But do not expect to rock and roll once you graduate. 🤷‍♂️ You’ll need a practitioner next you for a while to truly learn how to apply your knowledge. 💪

 

Why Hire a Marketing Consultant?

From a typical business perspective, knowing where to draw the line is difficult.  Particularly if your business is currently performing adequately, it’s not always easy to know if/when a marketing consultant should be brought in.

Nevertheless, there are several common issues and obstacles an elite marketing consultant can help your business overcome. Examples of which include the following:

1.     You’re Lacking an Effective Strategy

If you’re currently operating in the absence of any real marketing strategy whatsoever, you could be selling yourself and your business short. The number-one rule for successful marketing being to follow a detailed and well-structured strategy at all times.

2.     Your Objectives Are Unclear

Having too many objectives, unclear objectives or no specific objectives whatsoever is a guaranteed formula for poor performance. A good marketing consultant can help establish achievable objectives and priorities for your business to work towards.

3.     You Lack the Necessary Resources

In terms of both equipment and manpower, you may be in a position where you simply cannot orchestrate and implement an effective marketing strategy in-house. In which case, hiring help may be the only feasible option.

4.     You’re Struggling with Customer Retention

Attracting one-off sales is fine, but the key to success in competitive times lies in customer retention and loyalty. If you’re finding it difficult to appeal to your audience enough to keep them on board long-term, your marketing strategy may need a rethink.

5.     Your Current Consultant Is Underperforming

A marketing consultant should never take a penny from a client without delivering measurable results and a consistent ROI. If this simply isn’t the case with your current consultant, it could be time to seek support elsewhere.

 

What to Look for in a Quality Marketing Consultant

One of the biggest mistakes any business can make is basing their decision entirely on costs. Freelance marketing consultancy rates and agency marketing consultancy rates range from the sublime to the ridiculous, but you cannot put a price on quality.

Ultimately, it’s all about value for money – the ROI your marketing consultant is able to guarantee. Any consultant worth hiring will have an established track record of successfully helping businesses achieve their objectives. They’ll take a hands-on approach to the services they provide, rather than simply sitting on the side lines as an advisor.

Most importantly, they’ll take an active interest in your business and demonstrate both the pride and enthusiasm needed to get the job done. They’ll be creative, innovative and results oriented, with all the technical skills required to create and implement a multi-dimensional marketing strategy.

As for a specific duties and responsibilities, a professional marketing consultant can provide a variety of supportive services such as:

Ultimately, it’s the responsibility of the business to determine its immediate and long-term marketing objectives. An experienced consultant can provide extensive support in a variety of areas such as those outlined above, but you first need to know what you want and what you expect.

 

Key Questions Your Consultant Will Ask

When hiring a marketing consultant for the first time, you’ll have plenty of questions to ask and assurances to seek. Nevertheless, you can also expect to be asked an extensive list of questions by the consultant. The better they get to know your business and its objectives, the stronger the position they’ll be in to drive positive change.

The following represent just a few of the questions you can expect to be asked when bringing a marketing consultant on board:

1.  How do you define success?

Realistically, you can’t expect a consultant to help your business succeed if you don’t first define what ‘success’ means to you. Do you have your sights set on a specific annual income? An exact number of monthly new customers? Or is your primary goal an international expansion? Whatever it is, it needs to be defined and clearly communicated.

2.  What’s the story behind your brand?

For the expert marketing consultant, it isn’t enough to simply know what your brand does. Instead, they need to know why it does it, how it came about and subsequently build a complete picture of its background. The more compelling your brand’s story, the better.

3.  What sets you apart from the competition? 💣💣💣

The toughest question of all! If you’re unable to answer this question, you may need to reconsider your business model as a whole. There has to be something that differentiates your business and makes it remarkable. You may be the most technologically advanced on the market, provide the highest quality customer support, offer the fastest delivery worldwide, have the highest overall customer satisfaction rating or simply offer something 100% unique. This will form the crux of your entire marketing strategy, so needs to be considered carefully.

4.  What do your competitors do better than you?

It can be a bitter pill to swallow, but it’s nonetheless important to acknowledge and accept where your competitors are currently outperforming you. Armed with this information, you’ll be in a perfect position to improve, evolve and ultimately take the lead.

5.  Why are you hiring a marketing consultant? And Why Now?

Perhaps the most important question of all – what do you expect to get out of the deal? What has motivated you to seek expert assistance with your marketing strategy? Again, it’s a case of defining and communicating your objectives as clearly as possible, in order to help your consultant formulate a workable strategy accordingly.

 

In Summary….

Irrespective of the effectiveness (or otherwise) of your existing marketing strategy, the input of an experienced marketing consultant could prove invaluable. Oftentimes, an initial consultation is all that’s needed to pinpoint profitable opportunities you’ve yet to explore for the benefit of your business.  Not to mention, identify obstacles standing in your way and begin working towards their elimination.

Author: Dennis Dubner, CEO of SONDORA MARKETING