Describing the objectives within the market of Marketing
A fresh look at the market of Marketing - Part 5 of 5
As you review these steps, ask yourself how satisfied you are with your ability to accomplish each of them given your current approach or solution. Do you find it frustrating that you have to cobble together multiple methods, tools and/or subject-matter experts? Are any of these steps beyond your current influence, or authority as a marketer? Do they take too much time, or do you get inconsistent results?
The best future solutions will address the bulk (or all) of these value-creating capabilities in an integrated fashion (e.g., coupled). As a marketer, would you find it valuable to have a solution that could take you through this logical set of steps from end-to-end?
It can't be done? That's what the turntable manufacturer said when they were asked "Can you put 10,000 songs in my pocket?"
Step by Step
Select a target audience to pursue
All processes begin with one or more inputs. The inputs for this particular process are derived from a other discrete competencies within the organization (even if you house them all under the banner of marketing’). While “market strategy” may sit under the Chief Marketing Officer, and I have seen this many times, a marketer (see definition) does not create market-level product strategy, they create qualified leads which can be converted into revenue.
Identify market gaps / segments, develop a strategy (Market Strategist)
Design solutions to address gaps in the market (Designers)
Build solutions for market opportunities (Builders / Developers / Manufacturers)
Create revenue opportunities (Marketers / Lead Beaters)
Convert revenue opportunity (Sales / Closers)
Revenue development happens further down-line than market strategy, and many things happen in between the two. I like to keep my capabilities clean, separated, and stable because they require different competencies which have different objectives assigned to them. And as I mentioned earlier, they tend to operate in different periods, or time frames.
Therefore, the first step for a marketer is to accept the inputs from earlier capability sets (e.g. Step 0, etc.) and plan the process needed to create a qualified lead.
Question: Given your current solution/approach or the inputs provided, how satisfied are you with your ability to select a valuable target audience to pursue?
Understand the target audience
In order to understand who to engage, and how to engage with them, a marketer needs to understand the important roles in the target audience. This could be as simple as locating end-users or buyers. However, in more complex scenarios this could include understanding the roles and influence of distributors, suppliers, consultants and/or retailers.
Each of these junctions in the “market” may have differing needs/impacts. They may have different levels of influence in the decision-making process. They may also be a decision-maker. Their role may fluctuate in frequency between segments, or for other reasons that you need to understand. They may also be the point of sale for the offering. It depends on the market, and segment, being studied.
Question: Given your current solution/approach, how satisfied are you with your ability to understand your target audience?
Define the business objectives for the offering
There are goals that a business must achieve in order to maintain their ability to provide offerings to the market, now and well into the future. Taking an offering to the market has to result in equitable rewards on either side of the relationship. Success in the long run requires this. If they are not defined in advance, their performance cannot be measured.
Question: Given your current solution/approach, how satisfied are you with your ability to define the business objectives for a specific offering?
Develop an offering for the target audience
In its most traditional form, an offering is the total offer to your customers. It is more than the product itself and includes elements that represent additional value to your customers; such as, pricing, availability, convenience of delivery, technical support, or quality of service. An offering must fulfill the needs of prospects, and also the objectives of the business.
Question: Given your current solution/approach, how satisfied are you with your ability to develop an offerings that your target audience finds interesting?
Define lead qualification criteria
In a needs-based segmentation scheme (where everyone in the group has similar unmet needs) criteria for becoming qualified is basically a map that demonstrates how each prospect’s situation, profile, likelihood to purchase in the current period, and other characteristics intersect with the needs of the business. These are critical elements when a business has to allocate costly resources effectively.
Question: Given your current solution/approach, how satisfied are you with your ability to define lead qualification criteria that “Closers” agree with?
Identify prospects in the target audience to pursue
When dealing with large universes of names (multiple lists/or multiple list segments) it is helpful to break them into smaller, homogeneous cubes (or layers) of like individuals or companies. Once these cubes are identified, the response from each can be separately analyzed for their performance toward your goal.
Question: Given your current solution/approach, how satisfied are you with your ability to identify which members of the target audience should be in your prospect list?
Develop a plan to introduce the offering to prospects
Each offering will have a unique plan which addresses where to reach prospects, how to interact with processes, when to facilitate contacts, what resources should be available to prospects and what information should be captured about prospects. The plan acts as a performance baseline, which is later evaluated and improved when necessary.
Question: Given your current solution/approach, how satisfied are you with your ability to develop a plan to introduce an offering to prospects?
Gain access to prospects in the target audience
Prior to launching the plan, it is essential that a brand can reach prospects in target audience (market segment). Access can be achieved in a variety of ways; both actively and passively. In either case, the target audience members that can be reached are considered to be Prospects for the purpose of this study
Question: Given your current solution/approach, how satisfied are you with your ability to gain access to the prospects to whom you would like to introduce your offering?
Prepare to introduce the offering to prospects
With a plan in hand, the resources that will be used must be setup, trained, scheduled, etc., so they are ready to perform in unison. These resources could be internal and external, tangible and intangible.
Question: Given your current solution/approach, how satisfied are you with your ability to prepare your influencers / evangelists, internal team, external partners, tools and information needed to introduce an offering to your prospects?
Confirm the plan will create qualified leads
All plans should be tested before launching, and marketing plans are no exception. Once the prospects have been sourced, and the resources have been prepared, it is always a best practice to test the plan and evaluate whether it will do what you intend prior to investing the time, money and resources into executing it at scale.
Question: Given your current solution/approach, how satisfied are you with your ability to determine that your plan will successfully create qualified leads?
Introduce the offering to prospects
Whether interactions are actively, or passively generated, each touch point is designed to facilitate the capture of information about prospects, and to provide tools, information, or human contact needed by the prospect as they evaluate and/or make a decision about your offering.
Question: Given your current solution/approach, how satisfied are you with your ability to execute on the introduction of the offering to prospects?
Validate a prospect’s level of interest
Marketing is a nurturing process since current marketing activities rarely result in current period revenue. Therefore, we need to capture the information needed to understand what stage they have reached in their decision journey.
Question: Given your current solution/approach, how satisfied are you with your ability to accurately determine a prospect’s current level of interest in your offering?
Increase a prospect’s level of interest in the offering
Learn from previous interactions to determine what messages, information, or tools a prospect needs to make a decision so they are available during the current, or subsequent, interaction. Also, what additional information should we, can we, and should we capture about the prospect? How can we better manage such data and information as a strategic asset?
Question: Given your current solution/approach, how satisfied are you with your ability to increase a prospects level of interest given the information available to you?
Filter out disinterested prospects
It’s wasteful, and often damages your brand, to engage with prospects that will not purchase in the foreseeable future. It might be better to disengage from the current effort, and determine if they should be contacted at a future date. Their record might be updated to leverage what has been learned so it can be used in future efforts, or current efforts underway related to a different offering. This implies persistence of information across time and systems.
Question: Given your current solution/approach, how satisfied are you with your ability to eliminate prospects who are unlikely to make a decision within an acceptable time frame?
Hand-off the qualified lead
To deal with accountability, and reliability, it is important that the subsequent hand-off of the qualified lead is tightly integrated. In this case, the hand-off is to an internal customer, or beneficiary. I’ve called this the Closer. The success measures for this sub-objective (step) relate to quality, reliability, and feedback.
Question: Given your current solution/approach, how satisfied are you with your ability to get someone to follow up on a qualified lead and convert it to revenue at an agreed upon conversation rate?
Assess overall performance of the plan
Were you able to develop leads with a quality level promised to your customer / beneficiary (the Closers)? Were they able to convert at the promised rate? Were they abandoned due to a disagreement on quality? Do you even know? The success measures for this sub-objective are a framework for understanding this at an actionable level.
Solutions today look backward at the activity that takes place. But do they tell you whether the objectives were met? Do they anticipate where prospects will enter the process, drop out, or re-enter? Does the prospect struggle to find information they were presented with in prior interactions?
Question: Given your current solution/approach, how satisfied are you with your ability to assess the performance of the plan as it relates to developing qualified leads, and ultimately, overall revenue?
Previous: A map of the market of Marketing
More to come on using this lens for high-level analysis of the “Martech Stack”