Senior management spends vast amounts of time preparing account plans and sales budgets. Unfortunately, marketing usually comes in as a poor cousin. Marketing plans are seldom written or face the cold, hard scrutiny of an A4 piece of paper. It’s one of the many paradoxes of the IT industry. We evangelise technology and planning, but fail to practice what we preach. Even worse, marketing initiatives that strive and fail to deliver instant results are deemed a failure.
An extremely short-sighted view of marketing objectives.
With a modest amount of planning you can increase the effectiveness of your marketing budget and results delivered. Let’s clarify what marketing means in the context of this article. The purpose of marketing is to generate new leads and opportunities from existing and potential clients.
STEP 1- YOUR FIRST MARKETING PLAN AND BUDGET
Identify your target audience.
Identify suspects and prospects worthy of investing 6-12 months of marketing funding and effort. Add these to your list of existing clients.
FREQUENCY: Monthly mailers are easier to resource and manage. Emails to prospects and suspects often produce a negative outcome. Even worse, they can irritate your current clients. If your marketing letter hits the recipients rubbish bin unopened, at least the client has sighted your logo. The desired “touch-point” has been achieved.
COST: If you work on $100 per 100 clients this should cover the cost of your monthly mailer.
CONTENT: The cost of preparation of the material is dependent upon how much effort you consider worthwhile. Look to your staff and their families for candidates with skills in desktop publishing and a flair for design. Uses Microsoft’s free templates for Publisher or Word. ARN sends weekly emails highlighting special deals. So do most distributors. It’s a rich and easy source of content.
STEP 2 - FOLLOW UP
Give your clients a call and ask if they were interested in any of your offers?
At worst they may say no. Then again, they may say “no, but can you help me with…”
Even better, they may say "I didn’t know you guys did that”. It happens. Bliss!
STEP 3 - HAVE FAITH IN YOUR PLAN
Remember. Don’t be discouraged if the results don’t flood in. Maintain the touch with existing and potential clients and you will be rewarded with business. Invest in your marketing plan and it will deliver the results.
- Do not undertake any marketing initiative as a single event.
- Commit both budget and resources to at least 12 months of activity. Start with a mailer, but look for other ways to create interest. Training and knowledge exchanges that reward clients with more skills can achieve excellent results.
- Set up a user in Exchange called marketing and start filling the calendar with 12 months of recurrent entries. Commit to this and engage with partners and vendors for commitment of resources.
- Ask vendors and distributors to contribute funding to your objectives. With a clearly articulated written plan, the purse strings will open. Remember that you earned those marketing funds. Use them.
- Good ideas with supporting documentation earn credibility points with your business partners.