Marketing needs to achieve a lot more than merely boosting your company’s profile and visibility. Elit Rowland looks at the strategies you can use to connect departments in your business and use technology effectively in order to boost your sales and profits.
Percentage of organisations that haven’t tried to integrate sales and marketing teams or functions
There’s a reason why marketers are increasingly taking on the role of chief commercial officer – with more data available to help them make better decisions, they are gaining greater respect and responsibility in the workplace, and rightly so.
Fujitsu’s marketing director for the UK and Ireland, Simon Carter, told Marketing Week that marketers are wasting their time unless they can prove what effect their division has on sales: “Salesmen cannot sell without marketing activity, and marketers have no purpose if there is no ultimate sale,” he said.
So despite a history of conflict between marketing and sales departments, the new breed of ‘super’ marketer is commercial, shrewd and led by the data.
This shift has been happening in retail for some time. Take Birds Eye and Heineken – last year, they replaced their chief marketing officer roles with newly-created chief commercial officers, who bring together a variety of responsibilities encompassing sales, marketing and R&D. Similar things happened at Asda, where the chief marketing officer was promoted to chief customer officer.
So what does this all mean for the wholesale marketer?
For starters, it’s time to consider whether your marketing strategy is working hard enough to boost your company’s sales and profits, not just profile and visibility.
Are you working with sales closely enough?
Sales and marketing are the two main ways that any business interacts with its customers. But while 80% of organisations recognise the benefits of better alignment between sales and marketing, 40% haven’t even tried to integrate teams or unify functions, according to a study by HR consultancy Randstad.
So why is it so important to bring the two together?
Marketers deal with ideas, but field sales managers truly understand customers. Speak to them, invite them to meetings, tell them about up-and-coming adverts and campaigns, bounce ideas off them and listen to their feedback. Why not spend a day on the road with them?
Don’t stop there, though. There are other departments that add value to the marketer’s role, too. Purchasing will give you a thorough understanding of the most popular products for different categories.
Don’t underestimate the value of IT, the data goldmine of any business. You can tap into some incredible insight here.
I also regularly spend days on the road with field sales managers and visit farms and factories with purchasing teams. I have even been on the road with delivery drivers.
A front-to-back understanding of your business will help to make campaigns more relevant, and will make you an invaluable part of the team.
Are you putting your money in the right place?
When was the last time you checked Google Analytics to see where your web traffic is coming from? How often are you checking it? Are you even checking it at all?
A great result I had from working closer with IT was to request a regular web-traffic report from my client to see where customers on the website were coming from. The results blew my mind. The report showed me that our social media activity was driving more traffic to the website than we had reckoned for. Facebook alone was in the top 10 drivers.
This helped me to demonstrate to senior management the commercial value of Twitter and Facebook. I was subsequently given a budget specifically for these channels.
Four things to remember
Find out four things to remember when connecting your sales and marketing strategies
Also in the top 10 were consumer-facing promotional websites that I’d never even heard of before. One generated thousands of unique visitors to the website. Naturally, we initiated a dialogue with that business, and we are currently looking at how to work together more regularly.
Are you engaging with people’s emotions?
Some of the best marketers are using creative – and sometimes controversial – ways to create brand engagement.
Last year, many male users of the Tinder dating app thought their luck was in when a beautiful brunette called Ava was in their local area ‘looking for love’. They later discovered that she was a robot and that it was a publicity stunt by the team behind artificial intelligence thriller Ex Machina. The tactic generated a huge amount of publicity and interest in the film and no doubt got people queuing up to buy cinema tickets.
Brands, restaurants and even politicians are increasingly turning to social media to win customers, votes and more. For a breakdown of what makes a highly effective social media advert, I would recommend reading The Anatomy of 9 Great Social Ads by Inside Social’s Jordan Con, which is available at http://tinyurl.com/9SocialAds
How does marketing translate to internal communications?
Marketing your business internally is as important as what you do externally. I’ve met many wholesalers who’ve said that they first read about a new initiative in their business in the trade press. But they would liked to have known about it first.
Rachel Catanach, senior vice president of marketing agency FleishmanHillard Hong Kong, told PR Week: “Brands realise that disengaged employees not only impact productivity but can also affect customer satisfaction and profitability.”
So when you distribute news, think about how to communicate it internally, too: whether it’s simply by bcc-ing staff, sending a separate internal newsletter, or putting something on your intranet site. And if you only send it to one department, make sure it’s the sales team, as they can use the information when speaking to customers.
The reverse is true, too – internal events can be used to generate more engagement with customers. Take pictures and videos during team-building events or day-to-day activities such as sampling sessions, as this will help you to generate positive, honest images of your business.
After all, likeability is still a key factor in effective marketing and advertising – no matter how great your business is, if people don’t like it, you won’t sell a sausage.