Overworked marketing teams tend to live in a reactive state, producing materials as needed and just keeping their heads above water. But it shouldnt be that way. In order to gain exposure and increase sales, companies need a forward-thinking plan that creates opportunities, says Paul Nastu, President of PJ Writing Group LLC, a Colorado-based marketing communications company. PJ Writing Group has five simple steps that will make your marketing more proactive.
1. Call a truce with sales–Take the head of sales out to lunch to find out the challenges they face in selling. What are their pain points (not the customer’s)? What do they need from you to make their jobs easier? What are they hearing from potential customers, and does it differ from what you hear? Share your knowledge as well, but make a point of asking questions.
2. Try something brand new–Most marketers have pet ideas they’d love to try, if only they had the time. Make time for one of those ideas. Maybe it’s a customer advisory panel, a new premium on a direct response campaign, or your first email promotion. If management won’t sign off on it, suggest running a small test. When results exceed your expectations, you can roll it out in a big way.
3. Collect email addresses at every touch point–You may not have or need an email newsletter, but you should still be collecting email addresses from every customer. At some point, you’re sure to want to include email as a marketing avenue. If you foresee a specific use for the emails (newsletter, email coupons), ask for permission to send that specific kind of marketing.
4. Meet with customers face-to-face–Talking with real customers is often more telling than the most in-depth survey or a focus group performed by a third party. Make it a point to sit down with customers at trade shows, or get a client contact name from someone in sales and just call them up for a chat. (This is more than useful market research. You can also use customer anecdotes to strengthen your position internally.)
5. Share market research results consistently–Where do your research results live? In a drawer? In your head? Not good. Come up with a consistent solution for sharing them. Launch an internal newsletter, house results in a central database, leave them on tables in the lunchroom, find other ways to constantly remind people that you have tools to help them make decisions.
For more information on how to make marketing more proactive, visit: www.pjwritinggroup.com