Thursday, December 28, 2006

Marketing's Value to the Business

As marketers, we are often called to demonstrate the value to the business of what we do.

It can be difficult to do this, especially when you are thinking with your marketing 'brain'. Like writing a brochure or creating an advertisement we need to consider what is important to the audience receiving this information.

The following five points, from a new ITSMA presentation titled "Making the Case for Marketing: Communicating with Senior Management" are a good start for any time you need to present back to the business what you are delivering:

  1. Be clear on the business' goals, context, and objectives
  2. Understand the internal stakeholders
  3. Define the contribution marketing will make and set objectives
  4. Develop the marketing and internal communications plan
  5. Measure and communicate marketing's impact

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Make Marketing History: Geek Marketing 101.

I have recently come across this post from 'Make Marketing History'. In the technology sector I have in the past struggled with some of the attitudes or beliefs in organisations regarding marketing. Some times we get so enamoured with the technology we forget what the reality is: it is still something which needs to be properly marketed, even if it IS the best thing since sliced bread.

Make Marketing History: Geek Marketing 101.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Why do I have to change?

I bought a car recently. It's a Ford Focus. It has an automatic gearbox.

I have driven cars with auto gearboxes for a number of years without any trouble. But what I have found is that this car does small kangaroo hops when I drive away from speed bumps in the road, as it kicks back from second gear into first to gain better acceleration. The car has had this problem virtually since I got it about three weeks ago.

After having it serviced the problem remained and so the head technician took me out for a test drive this afternoon. After driving it with little problem, the car did a couple of little hops. The explanation to me is that there is nothing wrong with the car. It is my driving style. Apparently I am confusing the computer which manages the gearbox. I have to change my style to suit the car.


I don't drive the car aggressively nor treat it poorly yet I have to change. The car can't be reprogrammed to suit me. Why not? If all the other cars that I have driven in the past suit my driving style, why can't this one?

It would be great if the car learned a person's style and adapted things such as gear changes, etc to meet that style. I am sure the technology is available. Who's going to create it?

But then I suppose this car is like other products I buy which don't quite suit me but I buy them as they are the next best thing to what I need. Is it possible to make mass produced products customised for each individual?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Poor training kills telesales

Earlier today I received a phone call from a friendly woman in a call centre offering me a free mobile phone. The fact that she was obviously calling from an Indian call centre makes this story no less relevant. This can and does happen everywhere in call centres.

I asked a few questions which she could not answer and instead of trying to find the answer she hung up on me! That's right a sales person hung up on me for asking questions about their organisation and offer. Here's how it went:

Sales: "Hi I'm calling from XXXX (name removed to hide the guilty). We work with 3G networks."

Me: "Is 3G Networks a company? I haven't heard of them?"

Sales: "Haven't you heard of 3G networks?"

Me: "No. Who are they?"

Sales: "I am calling from XXXX. We work with 3G networks."

Me: "I haven't heard of either company. Who is your organisation?"

Sales (ignoring my question): "We would like to offer you a free mobile phone."

Me: "I already have a mobile phone, thanks."

Sales: "I know. That's why we would like to offer you another one."

Me: "Why do I need another phone?"

Sales: "We are offering you a phone as your number has been specially selected."

Me: "But you haven't answered my questions - who 3G networks is and why I need another phone?"

The phone line went dead.

I honestly wasn't trying to be difficult. I was trying to find out about the sales person's company and why they thought I needed a second phone. The problem was the script in front of her didn't provide the answers and no one had trained her with the information she needed. So with that failing the sales person tried to continue down the safe route of the call script. When that failed she gave up.

But the worst part would have to be that she hung up on me. Why? She initiated the call. I am asking questions - simple, logical questions. If you haven't heard of an organisation before you obviously want to know who they are. And I was intrigued as to why they thought I needed a second mobile phone.

If you are running an outbound call centre they are usually at the front line of your sales force. If they are trained poorly then the image they present to your customer is not going to be very positive at all. That is going to cost you sales and hurt your reputation, especially when you are in a competitive market space like mobile phones.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Sales and Marketing on the same page

Brian Carroll over at 'B2B lead generation' makes a great point about the relationship problems between sales and marketing.

While I have talked about the trust problem between sales and marketing in a previous post, Brian points out that there is also the issue of the two teams being on the same page when it comes to definitions. What marketing calls a lead isn't always the same as what sales calls a lead because often they have differing opinions because of their job descriptions. Brian points out that the CEO - but it just has to be the person in charge overall, whatever their title - needs to take the lead in making sure that everyone is on the same page.

In my current role, marketing, sales and management have one definition of a lead and it makes things easy for everyone. The trick is to make sure that the the description of a lead is definitive and that there can be no argument from any party as to whether a lead passed from marketing to sales fulfills the definition.

Sometimes this makes it more difficult for marketing but at the end of the day we know what we have acheived.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

How does marketing contribute?

I was talking to a sales person this week who didn't believe in marketing. He believes marketing is worthless and a waste of resources.

The bias might have something to do with the outlook that this sales person has. He is successful in what he does and his success comes in the way he crafts his story. He doesn't like marketing crafting the story.

The problem is that in this case the success of the sales person is for now. And growth will come from sales success. But in order to grow an organisation BIGTIME you need more than sales. You need to get the message out in other ways.

Marketing tells stories and prepares the way for sales. Not alway for today but for the future. And a company's success isn't just built on one day. It is built on months or years of hard work and consist story telling.

Friday, April 07, 2006

An example of good customer service

Recently I have been having problems receiving my magazine subscription for Marketing. This is a good magazine and well worth a read if you have can get hold of it.

Anyway, after some poor customer service and not receiving my magazines I was not a happy subscriber. But the team @ Niche Media did a good job in keeping me on board. How?

  1. They admitted their mistakes. There has been some problems their end.
  2. They didn't use the problems as an excuse.
  3. They gave me an incentive to stick with them.
  4. There was accountability. People told me to speak to them should there be any further problems.

Great job and well done to all involved. It is so nice when you get good service.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Getting lead generation right with trade shows

I admit it. I am not a big fan of trade shows and the like, especially those whose topics are broad - eg CeBIT (for IT).

My experience is that trade shows yield little in the way of quality leads. Most people, no matter how excited they are at the event tend to turn into 'tyre kickers' post event - or that's what the sales team says. So what is happening?

According to Brian Carroll only 5-15% of leads taken at trade shows are sales funnel ready. The rest need to be nurtured. More over at Brian B2B lead generation blog: 'Generating real sales leads from tradeshows/conferences'

The problem with loyalty... or lack there of

Simon Caulkin in yesterday's Observer business ection looks at the loyalty problem affecting mobile phone companies. But this problem is not unique to mobile phone companies.

Customer Loyalty is important for all businesses. But mobile phone companies seem to be getting on top of the problem.

Trouble with mobile phone users is, they get around

Monday, March 27, 2006

Gates & Murdoch on the future of the media

I think anyone in marketing also has some interest in the media. Afterall, so much of our content is published in media in one form or another. We go hand in hand.

So it was with great interest that I read the following articles published last Monday in the UK's Independent newspaper. Firstly, Bill Gates talks about his vision for the media 'gadget' of the future. And then excerpts from Rupert Murdoch's recent speech to the Worshipful Company of Stationers and Newspaper Makers in which Murdoch says that good journalism will mean that the news media will not die.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The difference between good customers and loyal customers

I am reading Ben McConnell's and Jackie Huba's "Creating Customer Evangelists" at the moment.

They talk about creating customers who are passionate about your product. This is more than just loyalty. Because loyalty can be for a number of reasons, not necessarily that the customer likes your product.

For example, here in the UK I have subscribed to a well known cable TV provider. I didn't want to go with them but unfortunately I couldn't get the satellite service because there are trees in the way and they are not on the property.

The reason I didn't want to go with the cable TV provider was because of the stories of poor customer service. And it has come true for me. I went through four set top boxes in the first month. Recently, without warning, the company did an upgrade on their equipment in my suburb. Resulting technical problems caused me to be with TV service for almost four days.

I haven't received an kind of apology. I can request a credit for the days that they didn't service me, but it wont make much of a difference to the service (but that another story altogether). I am stuck with them as they are the only provider for my area - unless I want to go to another provider with an even worse reputation for customer service.

So yes, I am a loyal customer, but no, I am not a good customer. I tell friends to stay away from this company, lest they suffer the same poor service.

Friday, January 27, 2006

We need giant bulleseyes and homing beacons!

Earlier this month Seth Godin produced a very accurate piece on marketers being like hunters. Instead of 'farming' and then 'harvesting' leads we are blundering about with rocks trying to find the well hidden prospects.

Why can't good prospects walk around with giant bulleyes painted on their chest? That would make things easier. or maybe homing beacons, so we could just dial up a webpage type in a search for the kind of prospect we are after and voila! A pretty map with prospects! Whoa! What an idea!

But seriously, Seth's comments have more to them than first meets the eye. We need to look at ways to develop relations (nurture and grow) and then harvet the prospects for our sales teams when they are ripe for the picking. That's great marketing and it happens every day. But not everywhere and certainly by not enough people.