In the classic agency model a great deal of time and energy are spent on brand strategy. Remember, time and energy equate to money in this world. If you have a large or multiple consumer brands this is relatively important. But for most businesses, and I’d argue, all business to business (B-B) marketing, this is simply not the case. Why?
Search and Reputation
The mantra here is ‘search and reputation’. When a business buyer needs a solution, they don’t read ads and they only care about a brand if its reputation is sterling, as evidenced by what other users are saying. They search for options, read what the competitors offer and then check reputation. This is a big change from the way they behaved even a few years ago and it is driven by the rise in awareness of options and ready access to reviews. This means your marketing has to support these kinds of research by offering straightforward information on your products and services rather than hype. Throw out all those adjectives and adverbs- I don’t care if you are ‘industry-leading’, ‘cutting edge’ or any of that other baloney. I want to know if you can solve my problem in a way that is cost and time-efficient. And if it looks like you can, I’m going to check and see how it worked out for others who chose you. If that checks out then I will reach out to you and I will be pre-qualified.
This is what is known as inbound or content marketing, and it supersedes brand and the old ad school of throwing money against the wall and seeing what sticks. Most doesn’t. Now, think about how this impacts your sales process. No more cold calling. Leads that come in are far more valuable because they are already informed about your value proposition and your reputation. This is made more powerful by the fact that they made these choices based on their own research, not a pitch.
No More Costly ‘Blasting’
A lot of lazy marketers blast out things like emails and cold call campaigns to generate ‘leads’, which typically have very low value. One pre-qualified lead that walks through your door under its own steam is worth hundreds of these junk prospects. If you are wasting sales energy on bad leads, then consider having an evaluation of your existing marketing from someone not invested in that methodology. You could change your entire business for the better.