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GUEST POST | Marketing Productivity by Tim Hazelhurst

06/11/2018

In the world of Martec and its evolution – at a rate the average Marketer has difficulty keeping pace with – how do you achieve optimum marketing productivity; what does it mean and what are the implications for agency and client?

You would assume constantly evolving technology would inevitably lead to increasingly efficient, and therefore, more productive marketing.

In the main, however, you would be wrong!

Marketing has always used the latest technology. From the wax tablets posted on the walls of the Forum in Rome 2000 years ago, through to Caxton’s printing revolution, to the salesmen of the 1940s and ‘50s (in their new technology, the motor car!), then television and now, Martec.

The common element through these millennia? Pareto!

Only 20% of enterprises and marketers truly succeed. Amongst a number of requirements to be part of the 20%, is getting an improving return on your marketing effort. Or, improving your marketing productivity.

So, what are the 80% doing wrong? And who are they?

Well, they’re the ones who tend to see technology as the solution – rather than the enabling tool for a thorough strategic process and system.

They’re the ones who mail me constantly as the CEO of IAS (Stein IAS), which I sold in 2004 and retired from in 2009!

They’re the ones who pretend to know me, much to my annoyance (and probably the annoyance of the ill-targeted genuine prospect!)

They’re the ones who pursue you with products or services totally irrelevant to you!

I could go on…

But, most significantly, they’re the ones who are unaware of, or ignore, the laws of B2B marketing.

So how do you succeed to become one of the 20%?

When I was building IAS to be the UK’s leading B2B agency, I’d only work with clients who appreciated the need for, and would work with, front-ended, knowledge acquisition-based budgets.

If they understood the B2B Timeline and Relevance Laws, they would accept, nay prefer, this approach.

Back in those days, out of roughly 80 personnel, 30 were employed in the disciplines of research, database management, lead qualification and campaign measurement.

Add to that the customer advisory panels and focus groups from the target audience we ran for our clients, throw in the integration of our clients’ product/service development with these functions, and you could clearly see the Law of Relevance was being complied with!

But… We never asked the client to increase the budget. We just divided it differently, with it becoming less front-end loaded in the 2nd year.

But back to the 80% and the seemingly endless flow of irrelevant contact – now slightly more complicated and time consuming by having to click to agree to the contact, which clearly reduces the likeability and benefit of the brand to you!!

Back in those IAS days, our shared Construction Industry Database was created with what we called, a contact creed. It was a permission marketing strategy:

We promise to create a relationship with you that is strictly:

  • Desired
  • Relevant
  • Useful
  • Beneficial
  • Interesting

What we called dialogue.                       

Productivity is about a dialogue with 5k relevant prospects, rather than a grapeshot campaign to 50k suspects, simply because the technology enables you to do it!!

Account Based Marketing (ABM) seems to address what might be called “doing it properly” with existing customers. We used to call this “Share of Wallet” – an example of marketing productivity at work.

But the Relationship Timeline Law demands significant influence be generated in the early phases of the 1-2-year B2B customer acquisition timeline. As the prospect moves from unaware to aware and then to interested.

First impressions and all that jazz!!!

So, marketing productivity is about investing in knowledge to enable market share growth, which brings us on to the Law of Brand Strength.

This is based on the fact consistent measurement has proved the ability to attract and convert enquiries is directly proportional to your brand strength.

Technology-enabled bombardment of suspects, rather than prospects, in an irrelevant way is clearly eroding any brand positioning you may have had.

To achieve marketing productivity as a joint output from agency/client you need:

  • Complimentary resource between the two
  • Appreciation of the qualitative as well as the quantitative
  • Adherence to the B2B laws of marketing
  • Clear, measured, marketing and campaign objectives
  • Integrated business, brand and contact strategies
  • Utilisation of the latest technology to deliver your programme of marketing productivity

 

  

Tim Hazelhurst founded IAS (now SteinIAS) back in 1973; in 1980 founded Brit-Am to introduce UK clients to the USA and, in 1987, created BBN, The global B2B Network. Tim was a founding member of ABBA (since evolved into BMC) and was the first recipient of Business Marketing’s “Lifetime Achievement Award”.