Last week, I talked about how you should question everything from time-to-time in order to improve what you are doing. And that’s how we ended up here, with a new approach to integrated marketing because I first questioned what was wrong with how integrated marketing is being done currently.
The result of these questions was to find two key components that traditional integrated marketing does not incorporate to the extent that it should. One is to focus on the customer and the other is to follow through from launch to customer and then repeat. That’s why when I outlined the approach to the new integrated marketing, I tied everything back to the sales funnel. But, to be successful with this new approach, it’s not just about what you do at each stage but also the why, which we’ll look at this week, and the how, which I’ll look at in a future post.
Once you map your integrated marketing plan to the sales funnel, it should be clear that the objective at each stage of the process is different because the prospect is at a different stage of the buying cycle. So as we follow the prospect along their journey to being a repeat customer, here are the different goals, or the why, at each stage:
- Introduce – The main reason to launch your product is to introduce it to the market in the way you want prospects to see it. That’s why a strong foundation for the messaging and brand is so important. You want to make sure your audience clearly understands how you can solve their problems better with your new solution.
- Discover – Once your product is launched, it’s not quite as simple as everyone just finding you, as any marketer will attest. You need to make it easy for prospects to discover what you have to offer. Clearly this is closely aligned with the previous step and quite often done as part of the same launch plan.
- Educate – Only in the rarest of circumstances will someone discover your product and buy it immediately in the B2B world. That’s why you need to educate the prospects that have discovered you with compelling content as you nurture the leads. And this education, is not about your product but how you can help them solve their problems.
- Differentiate – While many will talk product from the start, I think the product push is subtle until you get to this stage when you need to differentiate your solution from the competition, both direct and indirect. At this stage, it’s crucial that your message clearly shows the prospect how you can solve their problem differently or better.
- Convince – Even when you have followed all the steps so far, there is still the need to convince the prospect that your solution is the one they want to move forward with. And, there is no better way to do this than to connect them in some fashion with others, like them, that have already successfully used your solution to solve a similar problem.
- Close – Sales will clearly be driving this step, as they have done for the last few stages. But, the close is not to be overlooked as I’m sure any sales person will have several examples of when they lost the deal at this stage. Any content which will reinforce the decision the prospect is about to be made should be shared.
- Develop – After the prospect has become a customer, the process starts over in many respects. You need to ensure the customer is more successful after using your solution than before and you want them to remain a customer for a long time. In some cases, the more they use the product, the more you can sell to them so it’s important to continue to develop the relationship.
I think it’s really important to look at integrated marketing not only from the perspective of what you are doing but also why. I think the why is often overlooked or forgotten in the push to deliver the what. That’s why I think the goal at each stage of this new integrated marketing approach is just as important as the what and the how. Maybe, more so.