A 10-point marketing campaign checklist to ensure success.

Way too often, marketers, under pressure from their seniors, CEOs launch into campaigns even when they do not have all elements of the campaign figured out. The result most often is suboptimal results. It is always helpful to start with a written plan, that communicates the various pieces of the campaign and clearly sets expectations.

A 10-point marketing campaign

10-point marketing campaign checklist to ensure success

Here is a checklist that will help you put this campaign plan together.

1) What is the premise/hypothesis for the campaign?

Why do you think the campaign will succeed? Is it because of a market situation or a because of a seasonal phenomenon that you are aware of. When you have your ears to the ground in terms of content research, you will know the trending topics in the industry, which you can capitalize on to create campaign ideas (& also content ideas). Your content research can span across media, competitors, events as well as editorial calendars of leading publications. The more trending the topic (the more real the pain), the more likely will be your campaign success.

2) Set campaign goals

What are you expecting the campaign to accomplish, can you talk of measurable results from your campaign that you foresee. It is best to be as specific as possible. Your end goals may be business leads and revenues, but also think in terms of measurable intermediate goals like clicks, calls, contacts, registrations, referrals, etc.

3) Define your TG (Target Group), including segment definition

Who are your targeting your campaign to. Is it a specific market segment, is it to specific job titles, is it to specific regions? Be clear about these definitions and create a dashboard of what these segments mean in terms of numbers. You might need to create different offers/promotions to different segments and may need to tweak your messaging.

4) Define the offer

Come up with a compelling offer, that will WOW your target audience. This could be a free evaluation, free test orders, special initial pricing, price lock, discount offers, or any number of things. The greater the appeal it has for potential customers, the greater the response will be.

5) What are the components of the campaign?

What channels will you use for the campaign and what will be its components. Will you need an email campaign tool, integration of data with some systems, a landing page? Will you be planning some content pieces as a part of the campaign? Where will you be hosting these content pieces, on a blog, on LinkedIn or as assets on your website. Having created content, how will you promote your content and what will be the destination landing page across these assets and what will be the objective of this landing page.

6) Define the stakeholders involved and what you need them to know

As you launch into specific offers, you might need support from your finance team for

pricing offers. Your operations team may need to ramp up to support additional volumes coming in as a part of the promotion. Your technology will need to be robust to support the additional volumes expected. Your customer service may need to be equipped with the FAQ related to the promotion etc.. Think through several of these pieces

7) Determine your budget

Define your budgets for the campaign. Are you providing

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mementos, gifts, lucky dips as a part of the campaign? Are you planning advertising, advertorials? Define the high level cost items and include them in your campaign budget for approval, right up front.

8) Craft your key messages

It is necessary to focus on the benefits of your product or service, when you write about it. Features are what makes benefits possible. Customer never buy features, they buy benefits. As you craft your message, focus on the benefits that you are able to drive or your target audience. Also make sure that your messages have emotional appeal, as that is what drives most of the purchasing decisions.

9) Defining automation and nurture workflows

If you are using marketing automation tools, make sure that you have defined your campaign workflow and scenarios well. Based on transactions that your TG is doing on the reach-outs, you can trigger automated workflows, which could include specific nurture oriented messages.

10) Analytics and reporting metrics

Decide on the analytics and reporting metrics for the campaign. Make sure that you can capture these metrics easily and can report frequently. Reporting these will ensure that you can track early signals from the campaign and can factor in corrective steps, as needed to ensure campaign success.

We hope this checklist will be useful for you as you plan your integrated campaigns. If you need help we are just a call away. Do take a look at what we offer in terms of campaigns and some examples of how we have delivered results to customers.

Comments welcome

Regards – Atul Dhakappa

@xeniaconsulting

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6 Steps to planning the perfect Email Campaign

People will tell you that email campaigns will give you a 10-15% open rate and a 2-5% click rate. This is considered to be good by most standards. While this looks closer to the industry standard, did you ever realise that 85-90% of people that you are trying to reach are not even opening your email? That is pretty bad, considering all the effort marketing is putting in to plan promotions, offers and putting together the email marketing program.

Email marketing

6 Steps to planning the perfect Email Campaign

What if I were to tell you, that with some simple and practical corrective steps, you can achieve upwards of 75-80% opens and as a significant rise in your number of clicks and responses? You would not believe if, of course. But this is what we have been achieving for some of our recent campaigns. What then is the secret sauce?

Is it the offer, is it the timing, is it the subject lines or is it the message itself? Well it is a combination of all of that & more

1) Get your subject

line right

The subject line is the only thing that a reader sees apart from the

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name of the sender. The moment the sender is unknown to the reader; the chances of the email being read reduce significantly. If the subject creates value for the reader, then you might still have a chance of the email being read. Create intrigue with your subject line, but don’t spam with words like FREE, offer, promotion etc. Keep it very topical and talk about the value to the customer upfront. Relate to the challenges the customer is facing right now. If you would like to know how this works for you, feel free to get in touch and we will guide you how this can apply to your business. Download our marketing campaigns capabilities.

2) The message – Establish a reference

The first 2 lines in your message – It is important to establish reference and some credibility. If you do not have a reference point and this is a cold email, relate to challenges that the reader can relate to. Try smartly to see if you can include an event related reference (Most of the people do not remember all the people they met at an

event). This section plays an important part in the email. It opens up the reader to a listening mode.

3) The messaging core – Bring in proof points

You may be delivering great value as a product/solution, but bring in elements of how the reader’s industry peers are benefiting from the product/solution. Bring in a bit of competitive fear. Relating to the industry and to some names will bring in the ‘inner circle’ feeling among your readers. You will start getting accepted as a player who knows what is happening in the industry and therefore able to help the reader better.

4) Define a clear expected action

If you are talking about the offer, be sure to take him to your landing page. If you want him to send you an email/phone, make sure that you bring those elements into the email. Keep the section short, yet crisp. You may want to tell a lot more details about the offer, but keep that agenda for the landing page. In the email keep an objective of getting the reader to the landing page.

5) Have a clear and documented follow-up plan

A single email seldom gets you result. Get into a conversational mode in your emails. Talk about the email that you send earlier and follow-up with the reader at a reasonable frequency. Based on the transactions people have done in the previous mail, plan follow-up emails that take into factor that intelligence. Finally, this is a conversation and if you take up topics where you left before, the conversation is bound to be a fruitful one.

6) The timing for the emails

What are best times to send emails – not Monday morning and Friday evening for sure. Mid-mornings are usually good, so you are sure that bulk of the overnight email volumes have been cleared. Sometimes if may be a good strategy to engage on weekends as well. Your email does not get lost in volumes of emails. Using EDM tools, you can also schedule your emails for different regions at different times. Analyse your results to find out when you have got some of the best response rates. What works for everyone may not work for you. It is for you to try this out yourself. Of course, if you need help, we are just a call away.

I hope you found this useful.

Comments welcome

Regards – Atul Dhakappa

@xeniaconsulting

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5 simple steps to get LinkedIn working for your business growth.

Leveraging LinkedIn for business growth needs to be an important part of your business strategy. While a lot of entrepreneurs create a profile, connect with people and are able to build a network, they don’t do much beyond. What’s the point of having a network that cannot help you in your business growth?

5 simple steps to get LinkedIn working for your business growth

5 simple steps to get LinkedIn working for your business growth

Take a look at some mindboggling statistics from LinkedIn and you will almost immediately realize the importance. The statistics are a bit dated, but interesting nevertheless. LinkedIn has 332 million members, 2 new users join every second, 42 million unique mobile visitors per month,107 million users are in the USA alone, Average time a user spends on

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LinkedIn is 17

minutes per month, 25 million LinkedIn profiles are viewed every day, one in three professionals on the planet are on LinkedIn, you can increase your LinkedIn views by 11 times by including a photo

What are some practical things you can do leveraging LinkedIn for your business?

1) Complete your profile with keyword tagging

As you sign up for LinkedIn, one of the first things you do is to start filling in your profile. Nowadays, LinkedIn profiles are almost resembling CV’s and can also be used by potential recruiters to consider hiring you.

While you build your profile, make sure that you highlight the keywords in each section. The headlines are meant to catch attention, so make sure that they are done with the target reader in mind. As you complete your education details and past employment details, make sure that you are able to link to respective universities and companies that you have been a part of. That way, you can start building your connections using your past colleagues or your university batchmates.

2) Create a LinkedIn company page

Company pages are your brand identity on LinkedIn and should represent information about your company at a high level. Below are some of the common objectives that company pages can help you achieve as well as some key metrics to track.

Common Objectives:

  • Brand awareness
  • Thought leadership
  • Lead generation
  • Event registration

Key Metrics:

  • Page Followers
  • Post Clicks
  • Engagement
  • Comments
  • Inquiries
  • Leads

Action items to make your Company Page successful:

  • Create a plan that enables you to post at least 3-4 times every week and then slowly graduate to multiple posts per day
  • Dedicate resources to engage with and respond to followers’ comments
  • Change header image every few months

3) Create LinkedIn pulse posts

Over 1 million members are publishing more than 130k posts a week on LinkedIn. Interestingly, approximately

45% of readers are in upper ranks

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of their industries, managers, VPs, CEOs.

LinkedIn is a great place to publish original content that aligns with your network on the platform. If you create content elsewhere on the web, you can also repurpose that content (and link to the original content) through LinkedIn to expose your community to more of the content that you’re creating.

Common

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Objective:

• Thought Leadership

Key Metrics:

• Post views and profile views

• Demographics of your readers

• Likes, comments and shares

Action items for publishing:

  • Create content that matches what you feel passionate about and what your target customers would be looking for
  • Recommend bi weekly or monthly publishin

4) Share relevant posts on LinkedIn

Once you are up and running on LinkedIn, it does not make sense to be a silent spectator. Think about the people that you have among your connections. What will they be interested to read? Share relevant posts. As long as you are not sharing direct competitor posts, any good read will be helpful for your contacts.

Engage with people actively, comment on posts, participate in groups.

5) Participate in LinkedIn groups

LinkedIn allows you to join 50 groups. Find out the groups that are relevant for your business and join them. You can also participate in discussions happening in groups and showcase your thought leadership.

As you can see, there is no shortage of opportunities for publishing and amplifying content on LinkedIn. However, it takes time and effort to begin building your content credibility on LinkedIn. If you want to get started but need the help of content marketing experts, contact Xenia Consulting for more information.

I hope you found this useful.

Comments welcome

Regards – Atul Dhakappa

@xeniaconsulting

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Posted in Blogs, Business Development, Campaigns, Case Studies, Content Services, Demand Generation, Key Accounts Marketing, Lead Generation, Marketing Collateral, Marketing Content, Marketing Infrastructure, Marketing Operations, Marketing Outsourcing, Marketing Strategy, Products Marketing, Sales Enablement, Social media marketing, Thought Leadership Content, positioning | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

7 must-have collateral items for every small business.

To remain competitive, you need to provide information about your company and your products/services to employees, investors, existing and potential clients on an ongoing basis. Your company’s success depends on how well you communicate what you have to offer. What’s Your Story?

7 must-have collateral items for every small business

7 must-have collateral items for every small business

This, in turn, may depend on how well you prepare collateral items (brochures, newsletters, fact sheets, press releases, and other electronic and printed promotional materials), ranging from company and product fact sheets to biographies of key team members. With diminishing attention spans, these documents should not only be brief and to the point, but should also leverage graphics to communicate more effectively.

Every business should always have the following seven items on hand, ready to distribute

1. Company Fact Sheet

Potential investors,

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employees, analysts, and members of the media should be able to learn important facts about your business with a quick look at your fact sheet. A company fact sheet should include the following information:

– The date the company was founded

– Location of headquarters and any affiliate offices. This can include

images.

– Names and brief backgrounds of founders and senior-level management. These can also include photographs.

Contact information

2. Product or Service Fact Sheets

Keep a fact sheet on file for each of your products or services. A product or service fact sheet should include the following:

– The product or service’s function or value

– Distinctive features that set your product or service apart from the competition

– Clear articulation appealing to the relevant target segment about the promise of the product/service

– Comparison to similar products or services on the market

– A statement about quality and reliability

– Cost comparisons

3. Vision & Mission Statement

A vision & mission statement serves multiple purposes: It can motivate you and your employees, provide direction and focus as you make decisions, and give new hires a sense of the purpose of the company. It can also provide a confident and clear statement to potential investors, lenders, and members of the media.

4. Company Background

Whereas the company fact sheet is essentially just that — a list of facts — this document is written in paragraph form and should include more detail. In a sense, it is the history of the company and can be told chronologically or not, as long as you convey a real sense of the company and its worth.

Images are helpful — a picture of your headquarters, your best product, your top people, or team shots — will help people get a better sense of who you are.

5. Client List

Prominently display a current list of your clients, partners, and (if appropriate) vendors. This information will be of interest to employees, investors, existing and potential clients, and media, as well as the general public. Your willingness to display this information builds trust, shows confidence, and establishes you as a serious player in your field.

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6. Press Kit

When you open your business or launch a new product, send out a press kit. Press kits are easily released online as well as by mail and are a handy way to pitch your business at a trade show. Your kit should include the following elements:

– Your company’s logo featured prominently

– A personalized letter pitching your company, product, or service

– A press release

– Company fact sheet

– Product fact sheet

Articles written about your company

– Your business card

– Company background

7. Clip File

Assign someone in your office the important job of collecting and maintaining any articles written about your company, employees, events, and so on. There are companies that provide clipping services; you can also set up Google Alerts to make you aware whenever a certain name or term is mentioned online.

Note:

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If you are thinking about mounting a PR blitz, consider hiring a firm to track where press kits are sent, make sure they are received, and then monitor the press for mentions of your firm.

I hope you found this useful.

Comments welcome

Regards – Atul Dhakappa

@xeniaconsulting

Like our Facebook Page

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Posted in Articles, Blogs, Business Development, Campaigns, Content Services, Demand Generation, Lead Generation, Marketing Collateral, Marketing Content, Marketing Strategy, Products Marketing, Sales Enablement, Thought Leadership Content, Uncategorized, White Papers, positioning | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Content Marketing to drive market leadership and expand segments

Whether it is software products business, IT/ITeS services business, consumer goods, automobiles, housing, banking or utilities, each industry has its own version of marketing strategies. One of the commonalities across these industries is the increasing usage of content marketing and the level of engagement that they have with their potential and existing customers leveraging digital marketing mechanisms.

Content Marketing to drive market leadership and expand segments

Content Marketing to drive market leadership and expand segments

Clearly there is a reason why content dominates the world of marketing: It allows businesses to leverage their knowledge, exhibit their thought leadership and clearly stand out from their competition. Besides being cost effective, content marketing provides value that quickly builds relationships with both prospects and customers.

It also creates brand loyalty, establishes a business as a trusted industry resource, and helps customers educate themselves to make informed buying decisions. If you

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can think through the buying cycle of the potential buyer

and provide him with useful resources/guides that can make his journey more comfortable.

Content marketing also helps you rebrand your business as it evolves. Consistently delivering fresh content helps your brand keep up with changing leadership, shifting

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business strategies, mergers and acquisitions, and added products.

Although content marketing is crucial for any business to stay competitive, it certainly isn’t easy. Effective content marketing requires creativity and a well-designed content strategy. A good content marketing strategy helps ensure that all pieces of content are in line with the business model, while making sure content is planned with profitable results in mind.

Whether you’re rebranding your business, or you just want your content marketing to outshine the competition, help is available.

Two recent examples

  1. 1. Software product suite for managing payroll

I recently met with a co-founder of a business into providing a software product suite for managing payroll. The solution has been well received and provides most of the functionality that any business would look for, from a payroll solution. They have already won over several brands and their target is to start reaching out to the blue-chip companies and start winning them over.

Clearly a sales chase into blue chip accounts is going to be very sequential and will involve a serious sales effort and that too from sales guys who are well accomplished. (not the typical junior sales hunters). Knowing that sales budgets are always limited and most of these chases will also require significant travel, what could be other options that the company can lean on.

Surely they can lean on content marketing, but what can they do that will help position them as a market leader and will help them generate a buzz among their target market.

They can invest in creating a content hub that talks about the common challenges of Finance & HR heads. The content topics used can be the most relevant and trending topics that people care about. The participants can be the very people that they want to build rapport and relationships with. The audience can be the whole wide world.

What you are talking about on the content hub is not self-promotional content, but you are talking about industry pain areas and providing a perspective, from the experts themselves….and of course once in a while, you can always pitch in with what your product is able to achieve and what the company’s vision is, and how that links very well to solving common industry challenges.

Doing this consistently will make sure that they win friends at the targeted prospect they want to convert to customers and will also reach out to a lot more people, who will build affinity with the brand and can start acting as your referral ambassadors, besides of course buying it for themselves.

Of course, I am not able to share too much details, for confidentiality reasons…

  1. 2. Company in manufacturing of RFID devices

I recently met the founder of a business into manufacture of RFID devices and solutions related to RFID. While they are doing business in some of the sectors like time and attendance tracking, access cards, tracking goods movement, safety applications etc. the opportunities are just tremendous. There are so many industry sectors to which RFID based solutions can make a lot of sense. How should the company plan to expand into existing segments and also venture into newer segments.

Do I hear you saying – Invest in more Sales? – Very expensive and very difficult. You know my answer and certainly content marketing can add a lot of firepower to their reach-outs. One of the first things that they can do with planned content marketing is simplify the relevance of RFID based solutions in different industry segments. This can be done through several content forms including videos or informative infographics or even short content posts leveraging graphics.

Every content piece can focus on some specific and relevant areas, trying to highlight the current industry challenges and how a RFID based solution can address the challenge. Having developed this content, through a focused list building exercise and an organized campaign

plan, they can also reach out to several potential prospects with their value proposition.

If they are able to deliver value through their content to the target market, the likelihood is that when the prospects think about doing something to address their challenges, this RFID company will be the first one they will think of and they will call them in.

A lot of organizations have used white papers, webinars, podcasts in the past, but in several instances, these have tended to be self-promotional in nature. It is possible to generate content that will provide resources/value to your target market in some way, and yet not be perceived as overly self-promotional.

At Xenia, through our services in marketing content management &

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content research, we have been doing that for customers and driving lead generation for them. Our hit ratios are still in the 5-10%, but the rest of the 95% do not get put off. They are only getting gradually closer and building affinity to our customer brands (because we are providing them immense value & not annoying them)

I hope you found this useful.

Comments welcome

Regards – Atul Dhakappa

@xeniaconsulting

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Posted in Articles, Blogs, Business Development, Campaigns, Content Services, Demand Generation, Graphic design, Key Accounts Marketing, Lead Generation, Marketing Collateral, Marketing Content, Marketing Infrastructure, Marketing Operations, Marketing Outsourcing, Marketing Strategy, Messaging, Social media marketing, Thought Leadership Content, White Papers, positioning | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

4 ways to quickly improve sales productivity.

As we step into a new FY, most organizations would have made decisions related to their business goals and would have identified the key sales people that are going to help achieve this goal. While you may arguably have some of the best sales people in the business (that is what everyone likes to believe), it is important equip them with the right resources and help them perform to their potential and drive business growth for your organization.

4 ways to quickly improve sales productivity.

4 ways to quickly improve sales productivity.

1) Dovetail marketing organization to build awareness and generate leads

Sales carries organization goals, but marketing needs to support them with awareness initiatives, so these goals need to be dovetailed down to the marketing organization in measurable parameters. If marketing does not build enough awareness, there will be no leads and sales will have nothing to work on, for closure. Expecting sales to go the full distance from awareness to closure is expecting too much

2) Train the sales

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team on your business offerings

In most of the instances, sales training is across one or two calls (C’mon Isn’t sales expected to hit the ground running?) Sales teams create their own opinion about what they have heard and it may not be always true. They typically start going to the market with what they have understood and so perform at suboptimal levels. Marketing should take over the responsibility to ensure that they understand business offerings well.

3) Set a governance/ review mechanism

Setting a schedule for quantitative and qualitative reviews is very important. Tracking down opportunity movements to closure is what will get you new business. Also tracking commitments by month to the actual numbers will ensure that the sales guys will remain under pressure to perform well.

4) Have an incentive plan/ commission plan

Do make sure that the compensation for your sales team is incomplete without they being able to earn their variable pay (this could be based on incentives/commissions). Make sure that decisions related to incentives/commissions are fair and transparent.

Some of these measures sound simple, but get difficult to track and implement. A

strong MIS and reporting culture in the organization can put some of these initiatives on track.

At Xenia, in our sales performance improvement initiatives, we focus on getting this done for our customers.

Comments welcome

Regards – Atul Dhakappa

@xeniaconsulting

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Role of Graphic design in building awareness about your product.

Patience is waning across all age groups and people no longer have the time to go through traditional forms of content. Brochures/Flyers are slimming down in size and content. Companies are reducing the number of slides on presentations and trying to make it more visual instead. There

are several alternate forms of content distribution that are becoming very popular like Instagram, YouTube, Slide share, which are more amenable to quick consumption, across multiple devices and are easy to share as well.

Graphic design in building awareness about your product

Graphic design in building awareness about your product


As you start communicating about your products/services, building awareness and affinity towards your brand is one of your first objectives. With diminishing attention spans, it is best that you deploy visual means to communicate your values

How can graphic design help in external communication?

1) Events presence – The display panels/banners that you host at your booth need to talk about the values that your product is able to deliver. What better way than to use visual and graphic content. Presentations and videos that you plan to show at the event will need animations and

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graphics to deliver the message efficiently

2)

Brochures/ Flyers & Promotional handouts – it makes sense to make your brochures/flyers as visual as possible. The promotional handouts that you host at the booth can have subtle branding elements, that will help your recall

3) Campaigns – Neatly designed HTML campaigns can communicate your values more efficiently than long texty emails.

4) Advertising – Both digital and physical advertising demands that communication be more visual and graphic oriented and have minimum text.

5) Social promotions – As you promote your product, event or any content that you publish, the themes that you plan to use in social promotions can be more visual and to the point. This will help drive larger number of hits to your content piece

6) Content marketing – As you create multiple pieces of content including case studies, white papers, e-books or any other documents, it pays to build them on nice design templates. A well-designed marketing piece helps the audience see past the graphics to the message, but it’s the appealing graphics that reel them in.That helps improve recall as well as portrays you as a far more professional organization

How can graphic design help in internal communication?

1) Internal and Facilities branding – Building your company identity starts on the inside, so your employees must be committed to the brand. What are the traits/attributes you would want your employees to display Graphic design can help strengthen that sense of commitment? What does your company

stand for? You can communicate that through well designed posters or through animate videos on digital media.

2) Corporate stationery & Promotional

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items – Your employees will be surrounded by stationary, uniforms, publications, and more items that will remind them about the company core positioning

3) Facebook promotions – As you engage with employees on Facebook across the different initiatives that you drive, creating well designed banners can help engage the audience effectively.

I hope you found this useful.

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Comments welcome

Regards – Atul Dhakappa

@xeniaconsulting

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How to leverage content marketing to drive lead generation

Lead generation seems to be the number one agenda for most people that I talk with. Companies try a lot of different mechanisms to drive lead generation, the most popular that I have heard of being cold calling. Cold calling has its own benefits, however, I feel it has too many negatives that we

should be aware of, before we decide to sacrifice our company’s reputation and branding as we decide to go that route. I am listing some that I have on the top of my mind.

How do you leverage content marketing to drive business leads.

How do you leverage content marketing to drive business leads.

1) Cold calling creates negative branding – At best you can get 3-5% results and for the rest of the 95%, you are creating irritation/annoyance because you are disturbing them from their current routines and are talking about something they have no interest in

2) Cold calling is extremely operator intensive – So if you do not have the best person (which is very rare, as turnover in the field is very high), then how he is communicating about your company does end up contributing to negative branding

3) Lastly, in this world, where, as a buyer, you can search what you want, someone pestering you for something that they want to sell sounds generally annoying and creates a negative vibe.

So then, what else should companies do? They still have their lead generation targets. Well, why not invest in content marketing

Noooohhh, that is too long term… I want my leads for this month,

how can content marketing

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help me (common objection that I have faced) I will try to address some of the common objections and provide some tips on using content marketing to drive lead generation.

1) Inside out vs. Outside in

When you take the traditional sales approach, you are talking inside out. My product or service does this and is able to provide these benefits… blah blah… When you decide to take the content marketing route, you are trying to take an outside-in approach. In the current market situation, these are the challenges, and this is how you will be able to address them using my product/service. Seems simple, but how do you do this without being overly self-promotional while you seek to become a thought leader on the topic.

2) Plan content marketing themes in line with your brand positioning

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What are the values your product stands for? Use these themes to build content themes, as you start to build following and thought leadership.

3) Research what the target market wants to hear about

Content research across competitors, media and events can help you understand what the buyers are worried about and want to hear more about. If you can address these topics and link it back to what you offer, in perspective, it is easier to get your content marketing to drive leads/inquiries for you.

4) Bring in the experts

People always value third party opinion. Rather than you talking and preaching about the topic, it makes sense to bring in views from the experts (that you have access to). Third party views bring in a lot more credibility to your content

A lot of organizations have used white papers, webinars, podcasts in the past, but in several instances, these have tended to be self-promotional in nature. It is possible to generate content that will provide resources/value to your target market in some way, and yet not be perceived as overly self-promotional.

At Xenia, through our services in marketing content management & content research, we have been doing that for customers and driving lead generation for them. Our hit ratios are still in the 5-10%, but the rest of the 95% do not get put off. They are only getting gradually closer and building affinity to our customer brands (because we are providing them immense value & not annoying them)

I hope you found this useful.

Comments welcome

Regards – Atul Dhakappa

@xeniaconsulting

Like our Facebook Page

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Posted in Business Development, Case Studies, Content Services, Demand Generation, Key Accounts Marketing, Lead Generation, Marketing Collateral, Marketing Content, Marketing Outsourcing, Marketing Strategy, Messaging, Products Marketing, Sales Enablement, Thought Leadership Content | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Why do you need to control your sales urge in winning new business?

Sales is a high-pressure game, period, no debates about it. But if you ask yourself the question – How often does the buyer buy, because you are pushing too hard, as a sales person? You can guess what I am getting at.

Why you need to control your sales urge.

Why you need to control your sales urge.

Buyers make purchase decision because they have a need that needs to be fulfilled and based on conversations with you

(the salesperson) and the company (the brand that is the company that is omnipresent across its website, social infrastructure and conversation with some of the existing customer experiences). Maybe this will get a bit more clearer with a few examples.

Sales conversations at networking meets

Let us relate this to a networking meet. You meet with a new guy, start a new conversation. You will typically start by asking them some generic questions and try to know them a bit better. You will NOT talk about yourself unless there is a genuine interest from the other person to learn about you as well. The more

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knowledge you have about the other person, you can figure out what relevant points you can pull into the conversation, if you want to keep the conversation going. The points that are irrelevant can continue to stay in the closet.

The same rules apply in sales conversations. A lot of sales folks rehearse on an elevator pitch they will use very often in such scenarios and they deliver it, without trying to figure out if any of it is relevant to the other person. Elevator pitches don’t get you sales relationships. Empathy about the other person and how you are making your product relevant for him wins you friends and business. You actually need to care about this other person to earn his trust.

Like human relationships, the brands that care more about the other person than they do about themselves build more trust and confidence and also the business.

How does the buyer build confidence about your company?

If you think that the sales guy is doing a marvellous job of convincing your buyer, then that may only be half the truth. The sales guy will always talk great about the company he is representing. That is a fact that all buyers know and so they will always take the sales pitch with a pinch of salt. They would want to do their own due diligence on the company before they decide to engage.

Some of the obvious choices are the digital and social properties of the company. The website is again more of a mouthpiece and beyond a hygiene factor, losing popularity as a confidence building tool. The buyer will want to engage with your existing customers and will want to look at some of the conversations, experiences across your social channels. The thought leadership that you bring in a domain will be visible through the content that you are generating and publishing, the topics that you are talking of, at events etc., All of these items will help build confidence, way above what the sales guy can do, in a few face to face interactions.

Focusing on the larger goals

How can you show potential customers that you are interested in solving real problems? It is not enough to just act like you care. You need to actually care and prove it in the way you act. This is not just across your sales team. It is just as relevant across your operating teams; customer support teams etc. because all of them help in building a brand for your company. The more they know what your company stands for, the better they will be able to react in situations like these.

The Power and importance of empathy

But how do you explain the power and importance of empathy to executives who only want to sell, and promote, at the drop of a hat? You have to show them that, as a society, we tune out ads, and promotion, and ego-driven marketing tactics. Promotion and propaganda don’t work so well in today’s world because there are so many tools available and it is so easy for people to help themselves.

But we tune into content and brands that help us. The only way to accomplish this is for brands to create content that actually helps people and lots of it.

When given a choice, all of us will only buy from brands we know, like and trust! So then, why do we believe that our companies will be able to do better business by just pushing smart sales people at our buyers?

Comments welcome

Regards – Atul Dhakappa

@xeniaconsulting

Like our Facebook page

Posted in Blogs, Business Development, Cold Calling, Demand Generation, Lead Generation, Lead Nurturing, Leads, Marketing Budget, Marketing Content, Marketing Infrastructure, Marketing Outsourcing, Marketing Strategy, Products Marketing, Sales Enablement | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Budgets time- How do you go about planning your marketing budgets?

What should be your marketing budget for the next year?

A Marketing Budget is a detailed roadmap of the total cost which is required to promote your products or services and outlines your marketing strategies, costs and projected results over a period of time. It includes all branding & promotional from advertising and public relations, employing staff, office costs, traveling to other miscellaneous expenses incurred on marketing.

Old rules of thumb say have your marketing budget per year should range anywhere from 1 percent to 10 percent of sales, or possibly more, depending on several factors, including:

  • How established is your business? (If no one has heard of your business yet, you should probably spend more.)
  • What industry are you in? (You should have a sense of how much your competitors are spending.)
  • How much can you really afford? (Don’t spend yourself into a hole, especially today, when there are so many cheap and highly effective Web options to help you promote your business.)

Some statistics have shown that up to 85% of small to midsize companies operate from a budget only. They keep figuring out how to spend a defined budget, instead of thinking about goals and strategies.

These are some pointers will help you to set your marketing budget.

  1. Objective – Base of your marketing budget should be your objective. Objectives you want to achieve through marketing and design your strategy to achieve the objectives. These are some broad objectives taken into consideration while crafting a marketing budget -
  • Awareness
  • Creative Presence
  • Market Penetration
  • Lead generation

2. Decide a marketing budget-

Many companies set their marketing budgets by simply allocating between 1- 10% of their revenues to marketing. It totally depends on type of industry, type of product/service. Generally, products industries keep their marketing budget at 5-10 % of their revenue budget whereas for service industries that ratio is 3-5% of revenue budget.

3. Where and how –

You don’t need to list every campaign that you want to carry out but outline where do you want to be seen and at what frequency. Options can include traditional options like print, Radio/TV, direct mail, Trade show booths or modern digital platforms like online advertisings, social media, PPC, SEO etc.

Once you have your practical wish list ready it will be easier for you to set your budget too.

4. Marketing tool and Data

At some point

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of time it becomes necessary to automate your processes. There are many marketing tools, CRM systems available which help you carry out you marketing efforts more efficiently and also help track the results and ROI. Decide a tool and amount that you can spend on such marketing automation tool, CRM, campaign tool, any automation tool.

5. Track your ROI – Y

Regardless of how you decide to allocate resources in this year, once you start shelling out the dollars, it’s critical to follow the performance of your marketing efforts closely.

Your sales and marketing data from the past year will provide a valuable insight into what will work

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over the next 12 months. So carefully track the ROI you’ve gained this year and identify the activities that have created the best results.

Put a plan in place for tracking your ROI. You can also use inbound marketing technology to closely assess and analyses the exact ROI of your marketing plan and feed this knowledge into the year ahead. Inbound marketing allows you to do this continuously

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and consistently, letting you adapt and refresh your marketing activities accordingly.

6. Competitor Analysis- Matching what your competitors are spending is another way of establishing your marketing budget. The assumption here is that if you want to remain competitive you have spent as much as them.

There are a few challenges here. Firstly, this information might be difficult to find, depending on the industry. Moreover, there is no way to know if the number made public is accurate or not. And thirdly, you might be able to use your budget more efficiently, and get more done with less money.

http://branduniq.com/2012/6-ways-to-set-your-marketing-budget/

http://www.mbaskool.com/business-concepts/marketing-and-strategy-terms/13164-marketing-budget.html

http://www.jeffbullas.com/2012/07/11/how-to-budget-for-marketing/

http://www.marketingmo.com/strategic-planning/marketing-plans-budgets/

Posted in Business Development, Demand Generation, Lead Generation, Marketing Budget | Leave a comment