B2B Demand Generation Creating an Effective Strategy

b2b demand generation

Are you looking to develop an effective B2B demand generation strategy that helps your small tech company successfully reach the right audience? Your customers’ digital purchasing journey has radically shifted in recent years, meaning traditional marketing strategies may need to be revised.

Understanding how changing customer behaviors shape B2B demand generation is essential. This blog post will discuss how creating an effective B2B strategy tailored to these modern customer needs can help you create a competitive advantage for your organization.

Know Your Target Audience

Before you begin your b2b demand generation campaign, it is crucial to know your target audience. You need to have a clear understanding of your ideal customer and the people who influence the decision to buy your product or service.

An ideal customer profile should include key industries, geography, decision factors, pain points, and other notable attributes. Test your ideal customer profile against your existing customer base. Do the customers who are easiest to do business with fit your IDC? If not, refine the IDC until it works for your business.

Next, you need to identify the people in those companies that influence the buying decision to do business with your company. Profiling the buying influences in accounts is best done with marketing personas. The goal of marketing personas is to create a profile of the person as accurately as possible and the role influencing the decision. Personas should include demographics, job titles, responsibilities, motivators, pain points, and what they are doing, seeing, saying, hearing, and thinking about daily.

Develop a Compelling Offer

Once you understand your target audience, the next step is to develop a compelling offer. In today’s b2b buying process, 40% to 70% of the journey will occur without speaking to a salesperson. Most of this time, the prospect is self-educating, so offering something educational such as a white paper, research report, ebook, etc., is best. Offers like demos and consultations generally need to be revised, as they put the prospect face-to-face with sales, which they are trying to avoid.

Whatever form you offer the educational material, it needs to connect with the pain points you identified for the target audience. Letting the prospect know you understand their pain and have a solution is always an excellent first step in creating a relationship.

Use Multiple Channels for B2B Demand Generation

It would help if you used multiple marketing channels to reach your target audience effectively with b2b demand generation. These channels could include email, social media, content, PPC advertising, and more. It would be best to have a comprehensive marketing plan for all these channels and ensure your target audience sees your message.

The prospect might not take your offer the first time they see it, but if they start seeing it appear in different channels, they will eventually bite. Marketing is about getting the right message to the right person at the right time, and you increase your odds using multiple channels.

Create High-Quality Content

Content marketing is one of the most critical aspects of B2B demand generation. Creating high-quality content that provides value to your target audience is essential for building trust and credibility. Your content should be well-written, informative, and solve your target audience’s pain points. Use various formats, including blog posts, videos, infographics, etc.

The goal with content is to position your company as a thought leader. Everyone wants to hear and buy from the people leading a market. If the prospect sees you as someone who understands their pain and offers practical solutions, they will trust you. Trust plays a crucial role in winning their business.

Optimize for Search Engines

You might create the best content, but it won’t matter if your audience can’t find it, it won’t matter. Optimizing your website for search is essential in any b2 demand generation strategy, and optimization starts with understanding the words and phrases your audience uses to find solutions like the one you offer.

The next step is to understand the domain authority of your website. The domain authority is how important your website is to the search algorithm. Think of your website as a research paper. It is essential to cite your sources (links to other sites). If other websites are linking to your site, it must be important. This linking is a significant factor in how the search algorithm sees your site. An easy way to check your site’s domain authority is to use Moz’s free tool, found here.

Now that you have the words and know your domain authority, you need to prioritize the words based on value. The value equation considers the likelihood of ranking (your domain authority and keyword difficulty) in relation to the volume of searches for that key phrase. Target the terms you are likely to rank with the highest value.

Finally, create content about the key phrase and optimize the content for search engines to outrank your competitors. Optimizing content includes using relevant keywords in your content, meta descriptions, and titles. You also need to ensure that your website is mobile-friendly, has fast loading times, and is easy to navigate.


B2B demand generation is a complex process that requires careful planning, execution, and optimization. By following the best practices outlined above, you can create an effective demand-generation strategy that helps you outrank your competitors. Remember to focus on your target audience, create high-quality content, use multiple channels, and optimize for search engines. With these strategies in place, you can generate high-quality leads that convert into customers and drive business growth.

Email Marketing B2B Lead Generation: A Guide to Effective Strategies

Email Marketing B2B Lead Generation

Are you looking for effective ways to generate leads for your B2B business? The primary source of B2B leads is referrals, but most B2B tech companies don’t understand that it is only about half of the actual lead opportunity. The other half of the opportunities lie in email marketing B2B lead generation and calls to action on your website.

Today, we’ll explore strategies for creating effective email campaigns.

Understanding the B2B Sales Process

Before we dive into email marketing B2B lead generation strategies, it’s essential to understand the B2B sales process. Unlike B2C sales, B2B sales are typically longer and more complex. The decision-makers in a B2B purchase must consider multiple factors, including a budget, company goals, existing technology stack, and the needs of various departments.

The B2B sales process usually includes multiple touchpoints, from initial contact to closing the sale. Each touchpoint presents an opportunity to nurture a relationship with a potential customer and move them closer to making a purchase. This is why it is important to map the buyer’s journey.

The Power of Email Marketing B2B Lead Generation

Email marketing is a powerful B2B lead generation tool because it allows you to target specific individuals within a company and deliver personalized messages. Unlike social media or display ads, email marketing allows you to reach people where they are most likely to engage with your message – their inbox.

Additionally, email marketing allows you to track the performance of your campaigns and make data-driven decisions about optimizing your efforts. You can track metrics like open rates, click-through rates, and conversions to see what’s working and what’s not.

Crafting Effective B2B Email Campaigns

You need to create effective email campaigns to generate high-quality email marketing B2B lead generation. Here are some strategies to keep in mind:

  1. Start with a Compelling Subject Line

The subject line is the first thing your recipients will see, so it’s essential to make it compelling. Use language that piques their interest and creates a sense of urgency. Avoid spammy or salesy language that might turn people off, and pay close attention to the length of your subject line.

  1. Segment Your Email List

Segmenting your email list allows you to send more targeted messages to specific groups of people. You can segment your list based on company size, industry, technical stack, or other relevant factors. This allows you to deliver more personalized messages that are more likely to resonate with your audience.

  1. Personalize Your Messages

Personalization is key to effective email marketing B2B lead generation. Use your recipients’ names and any other relevant information you have to create personalized messages that speak directly to them. Personalized messages are more likely to be opened and engaged with than generic ones.

  1. Provide Value

Your email campaigns should provide value to your recipients. Whether you’re sharing industry insights, offering a free resource, or providing a special promotion, ensure your message is relevant and valuable to your audience.

  1. Use a Clear Call-to-Action

Every email you send should have a clear call-to-action (CTA). Whether you’re asking your recipients to download a white paper, sign up for a demo, or schedule a call, make sure your CTA is clear and understandable.

Optimizing Your Email Marketing B2B Lead Generation

Once you’ve created your email campaigns, it’s essential to optimize them to ensure they’re as effective as possible. Here are some strategies to keep in mind:

  1. Test Your Emails

Testing is essential to optimizing your email campaigns. Test different subject lines, email content, and CTAs to see what performs best. Use A/B testing to compare different versions of your emails and make data-driven decisions about what works best.

  1. Monitor Your Metrics

Keep a close eye on your email metrics to see how your campaigns perform. Monitor open rates, click-through rates, and conversions. Also, pay close attention to the results from A/B testing. This data helps you understand how each email performs and enables you to improve your emails in the future.

  1. Analyzing and interpreting your data

When analyzing the data from your email marketing, it is important to understand what it represents. The open rate is driven by email deliverability (did it get there) and the effectiveness of the subject line. If the open rate is low, ensure your emails are landing in the customer’s inbox versus the SPAM folder, and improve your subject lines.

The click-through rate is determined by the effectiveness of the email message and the call to action. The email’s first line and first paragraph must grab the customer’s attention, and the CTA needs to compel them to click.

Conversion rates are driven by the effectiveness of the landing page. Improving a landing page might involve better headlines, compelling text, or a stronger call to action. Also, keep in mind forms play a big role in conversions. The more you ask the prospect to give up, the less likely they are to complete the form.

  1. Making adjustments for future campaigns

Once you understand what worked and didn’t work, you can apply the knowledge to future email marketing. This might involve testing a hypothesis, improving subject lines, stronger calls to action, or improving landing pages and offers. The metrics help you understand where to focus.

Frequently Asked Questions about Email Marketing B2B Lead Generation

As you might expect, the best time to send B2B emails is during prime business hours 10 am and 6 pm. Avoid sending emails on the weekend, as open and click-through rates are lowest during that time. 

There is no fixed answer to this question. The best way to know how often to send emails is to monitor your unsubscribe rate. The frequency of sending b2b emails varies based on the maturity of your database, and the value of what you have to say. 

The best ways to avoid ending up in a SPAM folder is to start with a good opt-in database, mail from an approved sender (DKIM and SPF records in DNS), and avoid SPAM trigger words

Make sure you test your emails before sending.

Email marketing B2B lead generation is powerful when used effectively. By following the best practices and strategies outlined in this article, businesses can create successful email campaigns that generate qualified leads and drive growth.

Remember to focus on building a quality email list, crafting compelling emails, and measuring your results to improve your campaigns continually. With the right approach, email marketing can be a highly effective B2B lead generation strategy.

Why is B2B Inbound Marketing ignored by MSPs?

B2B Inbound Marketing for MSPs

I run a marketing agency specializing in B2B tech, so I talk to many Managed Service Providers (MSPs) about their marketing. I’m constantly amazed that, for many of them, marketing doesn’t exist. They often refer to cold calling as marketing, but using b2b inbound marketing to encourage customers to find them is a foreign concept.

What is an MSP?

For those who don’t know, MSPs are the backbone of the technology market. They provide services such as installing, configuring, and supporting the technologies businesses rely on. They are an extension of most IT teams. ChannelE2E estimates there are over 20,000 healthy and profitable MSPs in North America.

Although MSPs are known for supporting IT, they almost all started as sales organizations. They are the technology industry’s channel to market, and in North America, they sell over $200 billion in software and services per year. The job of installing, configuring, and supporting the technology is created by selling it, which plays a significant role in how they view marketing.

The Makeup of an MSP Leader

If you’ve ever been around a top-flight salesperson, you know they don’t need help bringing in business. They are networking machines that single-handedly drive millions in sales per year. Their self-confidence lends itself to a leadership role, and they build out the delivery side first because their promise means everything.

Who the Founder/CEO is has everything to do with how they see sales and marketing. When the business demands more growth than the CEO can produce, they hire more salespeople. Marketing, if it exists, role is to provide sales support (brochures, sell sheets, a website).

MSP Sales Expansion

It doesn’t take long before the MSP realizes the new salespeople aren’t the same as the founder. They need marketing support to succeed. They express this need by saying, “we need leads.” The new salespeople aren’t rainmakers like the founder; they can’t create something out of nothing.

The MSP leader will likely churn through several salespeople before they realize a different approach is needed. This need for a different approach drives them to look for marketing. The MSP leader still sees b2b inbound marketing, or a prospect finding them, as like chasing a unicorn. They always found their own opportunities. When times got tough, they would knock on new doors, so what they need is someone to cold call. They see it as marketing and frequently find us at Sizyl.

The Importance of B2B Inbound Marketing for MSPs

Our first conversation is about where leads should originate for a b2b organization. If all your leads come from referrals, you have to work twice as hard as your competitor that has invested in marketing. Half of an MSP’s leads should come from referrals, and the other half should come from the website and email marketing.

In today’s digital age, businesses must have a strong online presence to succeed. The need for an online presence is especially true for MSPs (Managed Service Providers) who rely on their ability to market themselves effectively to attract new clients. However, even with a strong online presence, many other inbound marketing tactics still exist to master.

At its core, b2b inbound marketing is all about creating valuable content that appeals to potential clients and draws them to your website. This content can include blog posts, videos, infographics, and more designed to educate and inform your target audience. By providing value in this way, you build trust and establish yourself as an authority in your field, which can lead to more leads, conversions, and, ultimately, revenue.

The buyer’s journey today is online. Ninety percent of the time, it starts with a search. If your business isn’t found in search, you’re out of the game before you even knew there was one. SEO’s role in the equation is to make you findable.

The next step is to develop the prospect’s interest. The prospect will land on your website, and in six to nine seconds, they’ll decide if your business is one they should consider. You’re out if you don’t communicate who you are and why the prospect should stick around.

Between 40% and 70% of the prospect’s evaluation of vendors will occur before they ever talk to a salesperson. If you don’t have inbound marketing, you ignore everyone looking for your solution.

So why do so many MSPs ignore B2B Inbound Marketing?

The answer isn’t as simple as I made it out to be above. It isn’t just because the CEO/Founder thinks everyone can sell without marketing. There are several other reasons, including:

Lack of Understanding – One of the most common reasons MSPs ignore inbound marketing is that they need help understanding it. They may have heard the term but need to know what it entails or how to get started.

B2B inbound marketing can be a complex and multifaceted strategy. Still, MSPS need to take the time to educate themselves on the subject if they want to succeed in today’s digital landscape.

Time and Resource Constraints – Another common barrier to entry for MSPs is the time and resources required to create and maintain a successful b2b inbound marketing campaign.

Developing high-quality content can be time-consuming and costly, especially for smaller MSPs with limited staff and budgets.

However, while it may require some upfront investment, the long-term benefits of inbound marketing can make it well worth the effort.

Fear of Failure – Finally, some MSPs may hesitate to embrace inbound marketing simply because they fear it won’t work for them. They may have tried other marketing strategies in the past that yielded different results than they were hoping for, and as a result, they’re skeptical of trying something new.

In conclusion, while there may be several reasons why MSPs ignore b2b inbound marketing, it’s important to remember that inbound marketing has proven to be one of the most effective strategies for B2B companies of all sizes and industries. With the right approach, b2b inbound marketing can also work for MSPs.

B2B Marketing Consultant Makes Big Impact on Small Businesses

B2B Marketing Consultant

Customers come in all shapes and sizes. Some customers prefer to have us do their marketing for them, while others prefer we consult to improve their internal marketing. As a b2b marketing consultant, we aim to help small businesses achieve their desired growth and success.

We understand that small businesses face numerous challenges and obstacles, including limited resources and budget constraints, and it takes work to compete with larger corporations. That’s why we offer a comprehensive range of marketing services specifically tailored to the needs of small businesses.

Our b2b marketing consultant team has years of experience in marketing and has helped numerous small businesses achieve their growth objectives. We understand that marketing is not a one-size-fits-all solution, so we take a personalized approach to every client. Our services include market research, messaging, website development, search engine optimization, content creation, social media marketing, and more.

Market Research

Before we start any marketing campaign, a b2b marketing consultant conducts extensive market research to gain a deep understanding of your industry and competitors. We identify key trends and opportunities and leverage them to gain a competitive advantage. Our market research includes quantitative and qualitative analysis and customer research to understand the target audience.


Our b2b marketing consultants work with many tech firms that find describing their business difficult as time passes. This messaging challenge is natural as the company adds more services and technology to its solutions. Often the people in the company cannot find a simple way to message, as they are too close to the problem.

To help develop an optimal messaging framework to support a business, a b2b marketing consultant takes customers through a proven facilitated process. Our method is designed to uncover the best positioning for the company and the core supporting messages.

Our process also helps customers clearly define their ideal customer and the roles they need to influence within those organizations. Clearly understanding the target audience creates focus and often leads to accelerated growth.

Once a messaging framework is developed, our b2b marketing consultants can use it to optimize your future marketing.

Website Development

Your website is the foundation of your online presence, and it’s crucial to have a well-designed and user-friendly website that reflects your brand identity. Our website development services include designing and developing custom websites optimized for search engines and providing a seamless user experience.

Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization (SEO) is optimizing your website to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). Our SEO services include keyword research, on-page optimization, link building, and technical SEO. We use white-hat SEO techniques to ensure that your website ranks higher in SERPs and drives organic traffic to your website.

Content Creation

Content creation is essential to any b2b marketing, and your content should demonstrate your expertise. Early in the buying process, most customers are self-educating, and your content is an opportunity to become trusted and to influence how they see solutions.  

Thought leadership content can be blog posts, ebooks, white papers, infographics, videos, and more. Content should be the foundation of website calls to action, social sharing, and email campaigns.

We work with our customers to create high-quality, engaging content that attracts and retains your target audience. Our content creation services include blog writing, social media content creation, email marketing, and more.

Social Media

Social media is a powerful tool for connecting with your target audience and promoting your brand. Our b2b marketing consultants help you understand how to use social media to communicate with your audience and influence their buying decisions. Social media services include developing a strategy, creating engaging content, and managing social media accounts.

As a b2b marketing consultant, we provide a comprehensive range of marketing services tailored to small businesses’ needs. We take a personalized approach to every client and work closely with them to achieve their growth objectives. Our services include market research, branding, website development, SEO, content creation, and social media marketing. Contact us today to learn how we can help your small business succeed.

Is a Fractional CMO Right For Your Business?

Fractional CMO

The reset created by the pandemic caused many smaller businesses to rethink how they approach essential functions. CEOs of SMBs frequently lead every function, or certainly go-to-market functions. Many CEOs find it attractive to engage a fractional CMO to chart strategy and develop plans to elevate marketing efforts to produce greater demand. Today, we take a deeper look at this role to help you assess if it is a good fit for your business.

What is a Fractional CMO?

A fractional CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) is a senior-level executive who partners with businesses on a consultative basis, providing advice and guidance as needed. This model has become increasingly popular in recent years as companies look for cost-effective ways to access the skills and experience of a seasoned marketing executive.

A fractional CMO can be especially beneficial for small businesses. Using this model can bring a fresh perspective to an organization and provide objective insights into the company’s marketing efforts.

What does a fractional CMO do?

A fractional CMO reviews existing marketing and provide planning and strategy to improve it. The perspective of an experienced marketing executive is often needed to perform a marketing reset. CMOs usually are connected to a network of resources to help companies execute these plans and strategies.

Why try the fractional CMO model?

A fractional CMO can be beneficial for businesses that do not have the resources to hire a full-time CMO or for companies undergoing a transition period. This business model can bring a wealth of experience and expertise to a company and provide an essential outside perspective. A fractional CMO can provide guidance and support during periods of change, helping to ensure that the company’s marketing efforts align with the overall business strategy. As a result, businesses that use this model can benefit from greater clarity, focus, and efficiency in their marketing efforts.

When should a business consider a Virtual CMO?

When it comes to marketing, one size does not fit all. The needs of each business are unique, and the marketing strategy should reflect those needs. For some companies, that means working with a full-time marketing team. However, there are certain situations where a fractional CMO may be a better option.

First and foremost, businesses should consider a fractional CMO when they do not have the budget for a full-time marketing team. A fractional CMO can provide the same level of expertise and experience as a full-time CMO but at a fraction of the cost. This role can benefit small businesses or startups working with limited resources.

Another situation where this model may be beneficial is when a business is going through a period of change. Whether it’s a rebranding effort, the launch of a new product, or simply a shift in strategy, a fractional CMO can provide the flexibility and agility needed to navigate these changes successfully.

 Ultimately, whether or not to work with a fractional CMO depends on the individual needs of each business. However, this model may be the ideal solution for companies working with limited budgets or navigating periods of change.

What does a Fractional CMO cost?

A fractional CMO will charge an hourly rate or a monthly retainer. The average hourly rate for a part-time CMO is $200-$300 per hour, and the average monthly retainer for this role is anywhere from $2,500 to $10,000 per month. However, depending on the CMO’s experience and geographic location, this rate can vary significantly. The exact cost will depend on the scope of the engagement and the level of expertise of the CMO.

While this may seem like a significant investment, it is essential to remember that a CMO can provide a tremendous return on investment by helping you to reach your target market, achieve your sales goals, and grow your business. In many cases, fractional CMOs can also provide their services at a lower cost than full-time CMO because they do not require benefits or other overhead costs. As a result, using this business model can be an excellent way to benefit from experienced marketing leadership without breaking the bank.

Who should consider this role?

Deciding whether or not to hire a fractional CMO is a big decision for any business. After all, the Chief Marketing Officer is responsible for developing and executing the marketing strategy, and they play a vital role in the company’s growth.

Determine the scope of the project and the CMO’s level of involvement. For instance, you may only need help with strategy development or someone who can take on a more hands-on role. Consider the CMO’s area of expertise. Make sure to choose someone whose experience matches the business’ needs and someone with experience in your industry.

Consider your marketing budget. Be sure to clearly understand the CMO’s fee structure before making any commitments. This business model can be a great option if you want to get more bang for your buck, but they are still a significant commitment.

You also need to think about your company’s long-term goals. If you’re looking to rebrand, launch a new product or service, or make a significant market push hiring a fractional CMO can help you achieve these goals.

In short, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, and it all depends on the specific needs of your business. If you’re unsure whether this business model is right for your company, consider talking to one to see if they could be a good fit.

Welcome to the New Normal: There’s No Going Back

new normal

People find safety and security in the status quo. Today’s, Covid-19 disruption is not normal or the status quo and it is creating a new normal. When your work life is suddenly disrupted it can cause a great deal of stress and anxiety. As far as business disruptions go, Covid-19 is a different kind of disruption.

Normally, businesses get disrupted by changes in the economy, competitors, acquisitions, etc.. Sometimes businesses grow so fast they reach a point where they are compelled to change. These disruptions all provide time for planning. The current one did not.

Regardless of the cause, one thing always follows; a desire to get back to normal.

Over my career, I’ve acquired many companies, and have also been part of companies that had been acquired. Most times the acquirer handled the acquisition with kid gloves the first year. This occurs for two reasons:

  1. A desire to not disrupt the business and cause unnecessary damage
  2. A need to understand the business better before proceeding with integration

Even when the acquirer treats the acquisition with kid gloves, there is still a great deal of stress and anxiety. Every little change is treated as something negative and soon a mantra of “I wish we could go back” gets heard in the workforce.

Having been through many disruptions like this, I’m here to tell you there is no going back.

When businesses get disrupted, they adapt. It is simply human nature to do this. Through the process of adapting, we innovate and find new ways to get things done. We often find new methods superior to the old ways of doing things.

I’ve worked out of my home for the last ten years. Prior to working remotely, I would have told you that something gets lost by not being there. Over the last decade, I’ve adapted and I’m more productive than ever working from home.

Covid-19 has caused remote work to become the new normal. Companies are learning quickly that many jobs get done just as efficiently from home as they did in the office. We’re finding new ways to interact with each other and stay connected.

Having been a remote worker, it’s refreshing to see that cat walking through the background of a video conference, or the dog barking at the door during a meeting are just accepted as normal. Hey, when you’re at home kids and pets just happen. When you were the only remote person at the company this was embarrassing, now it’s the new normal.

Bigger changes than remote work are afoot. When you see General Motors rapidly spin up ventilator production or hear we might have an antiviral in less than a year, necessity once again spurred invention. How we invent and how we innovate manufacturing is changing.

I guarantee you there is someone in senior management over at GM thinking: if we could take IP and produce ventilators that fast, what else could we be producing?  That’s got to be a real eye-opener, especially when you consider the financial hole this virus has created for most of these companies.

I also guarantee you that there are people at GM thinking: I can’t wait for things to go back to normal. My point is that things rarely go back to what was normal. Through necessity, we’re creating a new normal. This might involve GM making ventilators or some other off the path products. We’re almost certainly going to see more work done through remote teams.

Welcome to the new normal – There’s no going back.

If I could afford one marketing tactic, what would it be?

marketing tactic

I noticed on social forums people often ask about the best way to spend limited marketing funds. The questions are usually phrased “If I could afford to do only one marketing tactic, what would it be?”. This is an interesting question, as it assumes the most valuable things will come with a cost.

If everyone keeps asking, why doesn’t someone just answer? There no simple answer, and that’s the rub. The right marketing tactic depends on the business you’re in. Not all businesses are the same when it comes to marketing.

What’s really interesting, are some of the answers. Many marketers are one trick ponies. So of course, they think their one trick is the answer to everything. Put another way, if you’re a hammer the rest of the world looks like nails.

You run across a lot of marketing people who want to build you a website or optimize the site for SEO. Another group wants to write blog posts, while a third thinks Ads are the solution. Then there are the specialty people who offer custom videos or clever emails. They recommend all of this before they know the first thing about your business.

What the best marketing tactic investment?

I suspect by this point in this post you’re thinking: Is this guy going to answer the question? Yes, and here it goes. If you can only do one thing, do this:

Make sure you can describe your business and its value in 60 seconds or less.

Sort of anticlimactic, isn’t it? Hate to tell you this, but that’s the real answer. If you can’t easily articulate what you do, and why anyone needs it, you haven’t passed Go.

What marketing tactic comes next?

Now you’re thinking, I already know that. That’s business 101. What comes next? Next, you need to make sure you know your target audience. Who needs your product or service and why? You’d be amazed how many businesses haven’t stepped back and thought about this. How can you even begin thinking about marketing tactics, if you haven’t really thought this through?

Know Your Buyer’s Journey

OK, let’s assume you can articulate your value proposition and you know who needs it. What’s the next step? The next step is to know how they buy. I’m not talking about the purchase transaction I’m talking about the journey. From the time your target audience gets the thought they might need you, what are the things they do to find you?

SiriusDecisions did research on this several years ago and found the average customer will be 50% to 70% through the buyer’s journey before they will engage with a sales person. So what are they doing? And we’re back to it depends on the business you’re in.

They website/SEO marketer is jumping out of their chair right now yelling they do a search! That’s not always true. A few years ago, I was working with one of the top solar panel companies. They told me most people get interested because a neighbor installed panels. They found their best marketing tactic to be lawn signs, door hangers and vehicle wraps.

How did they get the first customer on the block? They knew their product had a great return on investment for someone living in a sunny State. They knew the early adopter was a highly educated environmentally conscious, economically well off home owner. This caused them to target specific communities and community groups that were trying to do something environmentally friendly.

The point here is they understood their value, understood their buyer and used really focused marketing tactics. None of the common ones that come to mind work for them. Placing Ads was just a waste of money. Search wasn’t the first thing their audience did. They weren’t trying to reach everyone, they had a highly targeted niche.

Their audience wasn’t going to begin their buyer’s journey by searching for solar panels. An educational approach was more compelling. It wasn’t really about the money saved as much as the environmental impact.

Hopefully, this example helps you understand why you need to know your value, target audience and their buyer’s journey before considering marketing tactics. You then need to map tactics to the journey. This usually takes a seasoned marketer as a guide.

If you have very limited funds to spend on marketing, and want to spend them wisely, build a foundation. Know your value proposition, target audience and their buyer’s journey, and avoid the one trick ponies. You’ll assume you can learn this by watching others in your market, but keep in mind that buyer’s journeys are changing. Those that recognize changes first are the ones that succeed and grow.

Generational Marketing Talent – The 12 Tool Player

Does a generational marketing talent exist? Many companies have had to cut marketing staff and are asking those remaining to do more. Small and mid-size companies are getting down to skeleton crews. This begs the question: “If I could only keep one person, what skills do they need?”

Baseball describes the ideal player as having five tools: speed, power, hitting for average, fielding and arm strength. If a player possesses those five tools at the major league level they are guaranteed to be a star. For example, Mike Trout is the latest major league five tool player and he is an All-Star, three-time American League MVP, and a seven-time winner of the Silver Slugger Award.

The Payroll Protection Program (PPP) has given mid-size and small business a short reprieve, but the economic burden of the pandemic won’t go away tomorrow. All businesses are now rationalizing their cost base going forward.

The biggest marketing cost in most mid-size and small businesses is people. When costs needed to be reduced people get looked at really closely. Most good marketing teams have two key people at the top:

Marketing Leader – A person who operates at an executive level and collaborates with the CEO and head of sales on go-to-market strategy. This person creates and drives the marketing vision and strategy, manages all of the people and work and ideally contributes thought leadership.

Creative Director –   This person takes the vision and strategy and brings it to life visually and also makes sure the branding is kept consistent across all work.

Generational Marketing Talent Tools

To really have a marketing department that contributes at a high-level these two people are required. It is extremely rare to find one person that can do both roles, but this is where our marketing unicorn description begins. At a management level our generational marketing talent needs the following:

  1. Strategy & Visionary
  2. Domain Expertise
  3. Collaborative (executive level)
  4. Strong oral, written and graphics skills
  5. Ability to manage work and people

Even with all these skills leadership typically still needs:

  1. Web and SEO
  2. Social Marketing
  3. Research
  4. Marketing Automation
  5. Media Relations
  6. Advertising
  7. Event Management

What do these talents cost?

At a minimum, most companies would need someone who could do all of the above. Does a generational marketing talent exist? If they do, they are really rare.

As mid-size and small businesses look at reducing the size of marketing, they need to keep these twelve tools in mind. If you reduce staff and eliminate some of these skills it will cripple marketing’s ability to execute.  Yes, you can outsource but you’ll need the remaining people to manage the marketing freelancers. This assumes you keep the leadership and cut the lower level workers. Does the math really work on this?

When you look to make a meaningful reduction in cost you have to look at the math. Here’s how it typically shakes out (conservative estimate):

Vice President of Marketing $150,000
Creative Director $100,000
Web/SEO $50,000
Social Marketing $50,000
Research $40,000
Media Relations $50,000
Advertising $50,000
Event Management $50,000

Almost half the cost of the department is in management. Could you cut one of these two people? Finding one person who can manage both is almost impossible, so the answer is likely no.

To outsource the lower level functions and reduce cost you have to assume someone outside can do it more efficiently than you did it inside. Outside freelancers usually cost 150% of internal resources, so cutting and outsourcing rarely make sense if the person is fully utilized.

To make a meaningful cut you’ll need to stop doing something that eliminates both a person and an operating cost. This brings us to Advertising, Events and Media Relations. All three of these have external cost beyond the body managing the activity.  Can you stop doing one or more and sustain your revenue?

Most people zoom in on Media Relations when this gets put on the table. The problem is that it has the lowest external cost. Company’s also need to manage their reputation in the media and also produce enough news to show signs of life. Outsourcing a minimal effort in this area frequently doesn’t cross the 150% threshold required to achieve a savings.

This brings us back to Advertising and Events: can you stop doing them? Is there any alternative?

We started Sizyl with this in mind. We’re a generational marketing talent delivered as a service. We can handle all of the functions and let you deal with the entire department as a variable cost. For example, if you’re spending a half million and want to reduce 30% we can still produce across the broad spectrum of marketing and reduce the cost. This is because the cost is shared across multiple customers, so you’re not paying for the people, just the service.

This new delivery model is your generational marketing talent. Sizyl is a 12 tool player that can execute to your budget.