The Cold, Hard Truth About Marketing

Truth #1: People sell their skills whether it’s applicable for you or not.

Most marketing firms come to the table with a defined set of skills. They always sell these skills as the best solution to your marketing challenges. A print shop will advocate for using direct mail, an ad agency will sell you traditional marketing, Google partners will advocate for PPC and Adword campaigns and so on… But is that how you buy any other products or services? Are you surprised to walk onto a Chevrolet dealer’s lot to find the sales people think Chevy is the best car on the market? Of course not.

Nobody speaks to a Verizon Wireless rep only to hear them say, “Well actually, our competition has a better network.”

That rep would be fired on the spot. So, when it comes to securing and growing revenue (arguably the most important function a company has) why in the world would you talk to a marketing firm with a limited set of skills? Think about the position you put yourself in when you speak with a firm that touts social media as their core competency. What would you expect to hear? If you bring in an old school ad agency, they are going to sell you on branding and traditional marketing; even if you’re selling to millennials. Kind of odd when you consider that millennials are the least brand loyal of any demographic. Studies show that millennials couldn’t care less about your brand; but an ad agency will still sell you on the importance of branding, no matter what demographic you target.

Truth #2: Generating sales opportunity should be the sole focus of your marketing.

Another example we encounter often is in B2B marketing and lead generation. It never fails. SEO/SEM companies come in and tell marketers and executive decision makers that optimization and Adword campaigns are the only way to go. A content strategy is all you lack! Let’s examine that dynamic for a moment, shall we?

In B2B sales, much of the business opportunity lies in getting prospective clients to switch from their current supplier to you. That means they have a current supplier for your products and therefore are likely not searching for your product categories/adwords or for you, at all. The best optimization in the world leaves out the majority of the business and sales opportunity. Meanwhile, your sales people are left on an island, cold calling and hoping for the best. In this example, your marketing is failing to meet its core responsibility. It’s failing to the one thing it should be focused on the most; generating sales opportunity.

Truth #3: Just because it can be done, doesn’t mean it will work for you.

These very simple examples illuminate a larger point every marketing team, business owner and decision maker should pay attention to: just because it can be done, does not mean it will be successful. It is imperative that you understand more than just how SEO works or how social media and direct mail work. You need to understand how your market works and what they care about. What communication channels do they prefer? Are they searching or do you need to attack? Will a new logo and brochure affect a fundamental paradigm shift within your market? Is a new website going to get thousands of new visitors clamoring for your product or service?

The truth is that until you seriously examine the decision makers you endeavor to sell to, you probably don’t know the answers. Further, you’re probably not equipped internally to do a thorough examination that will deliver accurate answers. And hiring a firm with limited skills will only return the predictable answer. Printers will tell you to print. Ad agencies will tell you to brand. SEO companies will tell you to optimize. Social media companies will tell you to get social. So who can you trust to deliver accurate information? (Here comes the shameless plug…)

Marketers today need firms that have the ability to acquire targeted data for clients and leverage that data to determine the best course of action. In today’s technology driven world, things move fast and that means the days of relying on a marketer’s instinct are gone. 30 years of experience doesn’t offer the advantage it used to. Instead, understanding the trending opportunities and combining that with smart messaging designed to get prospects to take action offer far greater ROI than trying to get people to remember your company when they’re ready to buy.

We are all spoiled. We demand relevant messaging and we want it at the right time. Failure to deliver that will result in anemic growth and a frustrated sales team.

Actionable Insights starts every meeting by asking the client about its audience. The prospects. The targeted decision makers. Because understanding who we are to engage tells us how to engage them. Any other approach will have diminished results and will lead to a lot of missed opportunity. Our firm has nothing invested in what is required to be successful. We can deliver results across dozens of communication channels. Our mission is to identify which channels will work for your specific audience. Doesn’t that make more sense?