Everyone thinks they are a marketing expert. If you ask 5 people for the best approach to grow sales, you’ll probably get 5 different answers – each one with equal conviction.
“Let’s do some radio advertising” says the sales person who spends most of his/her time driving listening to commercial radio.
“The problem is not advertising, the problem is we’re not getting found in search engines. We gotta do SEO.” says the 30 something year old accountant who spends all her time behind a computer.
“No, you guys are out of touch. Everyone’s on mobile – we have to do Facebook and Instagram marketing” says the millennial social media addict.
And so it goes, …
• We should get better signage
• We need a new website
• Why don’t we do some letterbox drops
Everyone feels their idea is best. But how then is the sales problem solved?
In my experience, things generally go down like so;
- Someone makes a judgement call (takes a guess) as to which initiative will generate sales
- People are hired and/or money is thrown at external agencies for a one-off project (perhaps the new website, or an advertising campaign)
- Everyone gets busy, and no-one remembers to put in place marketing tracking
- The company panics when sales keep going down
- No one bothers to review the original planning process and goes straight to the conclusion that marketing, the agency, the marketing contractor, or all of the above doesn’t work
Sound familiar? This approach is so obviously flawed, but frustratingly common. But perhaps it’s only obvious when we understand an alternative approach.
- Instead of using guesswork as to what to do, as a first step we spend the effort to track and measure every customer interaction, from initial interest right through to purchase and ultimately cancellation
- What this allows us to do is gather data. We can build a picture of how our customers buy (journey mapping) and identify the highest resistance in the buyer journey (at what stage do most of our customers stop considering us)
- With this information, you’ve identified your #1 marketing initiative. Plug the biggest leakage in the sales pipeline. The problem might not be Visibility (advertising, signage, etc.) but Lead Capture (answering phones, having an easy to use CRM), the Sales Pitch (lead follow up, value proposition) or what you’re selling (customer didn’t like the product). Yes, there’s more to marketing then advertising.
- Put all your energy into this initiative, and when it’s fixed, measure the impact and reassess where the next biggest problem (opportunity) lies.
- Marketing then becomes a systematic and ongoing effort of continual improvement, and plays a central role to your business growth strategy
There are a few advantages to this approach.
- 1. You take the guess-work out of marketing. By using data, decisions are easier to make – they are fact based and without the emotionally charged debate that assumptions trigger
- You identify the lowest hanging fruit. Too often we spend time and effort on big problems we think exist (eg, rebranding), when in reality fixing smaller and easier to solve issues give you much bigger results.
- Taking a scientific approach to marketing works! Numbers don’t lie.
So next time you’re faced with the challenge of growing sales, don’t poll the organisation. Poll your customers instead by tracking their behaviour, and using data based planning and decision making.
Let us help you take the guesswork (and debate) out of marketing.