Top-growth CMOs accelerate conversion from buyer interest into revenue faster than their competitors and industry. They accomplish this by augmenting their marketing strategy with a Revenue Growth Methodology. Think of it as a marketing strategy multiplier. Without a Revenue Growth Methodology, marketing leaders generate interest only in the company’s products and services. With a Revenue Growth Methodology, they take it a step further and convert this interest into revenue. To access emerging best practices in this area, download our 10th annual workbook, How to Make Your Number in 2017.
Exceptional marketing leaders do things differently, and better, than their functional peers. They understand how to blend strategy perfectly with execution. All execution and no strategy results in temporary success: a good year instead of a good decade. On the other hand, all strategy and no execution results in missing this year’s goals and having to make promises for a better tomorrow.
At the end of the day, a successful marketing strategy must allocate people, money, and time to build buyer preference for your products and services and ultimately contribute to growing revenue. To accomplish this, marketing leaders must build brands, run campaigns, publish content, and generate leads.
Is Your Marketing Strategy a Problem?
Quite likely. Watch out for these warning signs:
- Your industry and competitors are growing revenue at a faster rate than you are.
- Marketing’s contribution to revenue is unclear.
- The marketing budget is frequently challenged.
- You are not gaining market share.
- The demand drivers are shifting.
- Traditional routes to market are being replaced or augmented with new routes to market.
- Brand awareness in your addressable market is inadequate, compared to your competitors.
- The customer buying process is changing.
- The sales force is not living the brand in every interaction with customers and prospects.
- Demand generation and lead generation have reached a point of diminishing returns.
- Many marketing people are performing lots of marketing activities, but their impact is unclear.
If you see one or more of these issues in your business, it might be wise to take a fresh look at your marketing strategy.
What Is the Solution to a Marketing Strategy Problem?
Best-in-class marketers begin with context. They first ask themselves, “Am I doing the right things?” They study the outcome of Revenue Growth Methodology exercises from the CEO, chief product officer, and head of sales— understanding that alignment across corporate, product, marketing, and sales strategies is the key to success.
Next they ask, “Am I doing things right?” They answer that question by analyzing whether the current marketing strategy is being executed correctly. The outcome of this exercise is better execution.
The following five steps define your marketing strategy, including respective phases within each step.
Step 1: Market Research
Phase 1: Markets. Find and capitalize on the sweet spot in your addressable market. Direct scarce resources toward markets with attractive growth characteristics, in segments you can win. Know that budget and headcount must be allocated with precision for marketing to contribute to accelerated revenue growth. Dynamically changing demand drivers call for a new level of market analysis, as market segments splinter into many different subsegments. As a result, current growth markets may stagnate and new growth markets may emerge overnight.
Phase 2: Accounts. Understand which accounts in your market are going to generate the most revenue over the shortest period of time. Not all B2B accounts are created equal. Some have much higher revenue potential than the average account. Others have much higher propensity to buy than the average account. Gone are the days of marketing to a market and then generating leads. To grow revenue faster than your industry and your competitors, you must generate opportunities for the sales team by marketing to specific accounts.
Phase 3: Buyers. Learn who your buyers are, how they make purchase decisions, and why they choose you over your competitors. Buyer preferences continue to change. Customers want to engage with your company in new ways, and through new channels. Brand preference erodes quickly and loyalty is harder to earn and retain. Revenue growth depends on your ability to know your buyers better than your competitors do, if not better than themselves.
Step 2: Strategy and Planning
Phase 1: Brand strategy and planning. Create an inspiring brand that tells your strategic story. Your competitors are making the same claims and promises as you. They are even using the same words. Brands that are built on “who you are” and “what you do” do not result in above-average revenue growth. Marketing impacts revenue growth when the sales force activates your brand in a way that becomes uniquely relevant to your customers and prospects.
Phase 2: Brand positioning and messaging. Inspire your customers and prospects to go from the problematic status quo to the opportunity-filled future by explaining how your solution solves their biggest problem. Customers and prospects sometimes have a hard time articulating their problems and understanding the real cost of the status quo. To accelerate revenue growth, you need to help them think through their issues, quantify their pain, evaluate their options, and select your solution. Without proper positioning and compelling messaging, buyers will not take action and you will not grow.
Phase 3: Campaign strategy and planning. Capture the attention of customers and prospects. Every market has a sweet spot. Campaigns (and their budgets) generate revenues when they focus directly on this sweet spot. Campaigns that are not hyper-targeted do not. To generate a return on your marketing campaign dollars, you must determine a clear objective, timeline, budget, accurate lists, correct media mix, and compelling calls to action.
Phase 4: Content strategy and planning. Earn brand preference by satisfying the information needs of your target customers and prospects. Producing and distributing content for everyone is relevant to no one. To generate revenue from content marketing initiatives, you must determine exactly what your customers need, where they need it, how often they need it, and in what form they prefer to consume it. Miss any of these aspects (and others like them) and your content marketing efforts will fail to contribute to revenue growth in any meaningful way.
Phase 5: Budget strategy and planning. Allocate your marketing budget to the accounts with the most revenue potential and the highest propensity to spend. Underfund marketing and you will constrain revenue growth. Over-fund marketing and your profits will suffer. Spread your marketing budget uniformly across all segments, accounts, and buyers, and you will run out of money quickly without showing results. Revenue growth requires embracing objective-based budgeting with precise allocation of your marketing dollars.
Step 3: Resources
Phase 1: Organizational design. Modernize the structure of your marketing department. Old activities-centric marketing org charts create ineffective silos and prevent revenue growth. In contrast, modern outcomes-centric marketing org charts eliminate silos and provide seamless integration with the product and sales teams, unlocking trapped revenue potential.
Phase 2: Agency management. Generate better results from your agencies. A significant portion of a marketing budget is spent on agencies. Yet, often these agencies do not contribute to your revenue growth. at results from poor agency management. Be sure to hold every agency accountable to a business objective and a set of key performance indicators, multiplying the capabilities of your team.
Phase 3: People plan. Staff wages consume marketing budgets. Put an “A-Player” into each role on the marketing org chart. Outstanding, highly specialized marketing talent deeply engaged in the brand is key to turning the marketing department from a cost center to a revenue generator. Unfortunately, legacy marketing talent with outdated skill sets plagues many marketing teams.
Step 4: Execution
Phase 1: Account-based marketing. Replace leads with opportunities for the sales team. Demand generation and lead management does not work for companies whose business models depend on a small number of accounts that spend a lot. Waiting for dream accounts to come to you will result in missing your revenue targets. If you live and die by the big deal, growing revenues faster than your industry and your competitors requires a shift to account-based marketing.
Phase 2: Lead generation. Generate enough leads for the sales team to exceed the revenue objectives. Businesses that generate a lot of revenue from multiple accounts need a constant stream of new leads entering the funnel. If sales teams are generating leads, they are not closing deals. Marketing needs to feed the sales force qualified leads and focus the sales team on running effective sales campaigns. Failure to fill the sales team’s funnel will result in below- average revenue growth.
Phase 3: Customer marketing. Grow revenues from existing customers. You are in trouble when a customer says, “I didn’t know you did that.” If your business depends on increasing revenue generated from current customers, you must educate these customers in everything you can do for them. The customer life cycle does not stop once a prospect becomes a customer. The life cycle continues as you develop repeat customers.
Phase 4: Partner marketing. Increase your mindshare— and wallet share—with every channel partner. Neglecting partners is a quick way to miss a revenue target. Paying attention to all channel partners will stretch a team and a budget. Signing up every channel partner to represent your products does not grow sales; it reduces sales. If your business depends on generating revenue from indirect sales channels, partner marketing is a must.
Step 5: Marketing Support
Phase 1: Product marketing. Increase pipeline attribution, customer loyalty, and customer lifetime value. Product marketing teams that do not have revenue targets are considered overhead. They are not revenue contributors. Weak product value propositions, messaging, and competitive positioning statements result in poor win rates and deal sizes. Underfunded and understaffed product marketing teams translate to poorly enabled sales forces and disappointing revenue performance.
Phase 2: Field marketing. Drive revenue growth by connecting corporate marketing with the field. Corporate programs without localization fail to produce revenue. Each region is different, and each message and program must be adjusted to the needs of different customer types. Corporate marketing not influenced by the field is a waste of funds. Field marketing is the connective tissue between corporate and the field.
Phase 3: Marketing operations. Make marketing scientific. Data is everywhere. Channels are exploding. Technology is changing. And executives require more detailed reporting. Intuition and experience are no longer enough. You are living in the show-me era. Marketing leaders cannot deal with this alone. You need a right hand, called marketing operations.
Phase 4: Systems. Move the buyer through the decision- making process seamlessly. Software innovation and platform proliferation have changed marketing forever. Software-as-a-service offerings are easy to buy and use. At the same time, if you are not careful one day you will wake up with tools everywhere, no cohesive architecture, dirty data, and worse—no business benefit derived from all these systems.
We have looked at different facets of a marketing strategy. Now it’s time for you to dive in. To learn more, download SBI’s 10th annual workbook. We provide a comprehensive set of questions specifically designed to keep your marketing strategy discussions on track. Each question is categorized as an emerging best practice, best practice, or standard operating procedure. Your ability to answer those questions will indicate where your marketing strategy lies on this scale. Discover how the world’s top sales and marketing leaders meet aggressive revenue growth goals using the management methodology in our 10th annual workbook, How to Make Your Number in 2017 … and Every Year Thereafter.
Make Your Number in 2017 - Special Strategic Planning Issue
Discover how you can increase the efficacy of your Marketing Strategy with a successful Revenue Growth Methodology using our 10th annual workbook.