Does Your Marketing Strategy Include Data? Professional services firms (PSF’s) rely on many things to accomplish their revenue goals, and marketing strategy certainly plays a big part. But do CPA’s, Lawyers, Architects and other PSF’s incorporate data into their marketing efforts? Whether traditional advertising methodologies or the use of digital, inbound marketing, or even a combination of the two, the data collected from the marketing activities should drive your marketing strategy. Data-driven content marketing (also called inbound and/or digital) can change the entire outcome, especially when it is automated.
There is no denying that CPA’s and accountants are involved with numerical data all day long; how much of it is intended for their marketing efforts? Not as near as much as it could or should be. Architects and structural engineers work with several forms of data, but their marketing efforts probably don’t reflect the use of data-driven marketing. Professional services firms, like any other businesses, use various marketing tactics to generate leads and drive revenues. PSF’s on a global basis are well behind other business sectors in the use of content marketing, but little is known as to why? Marketing data or what may be referred to as “open-rates, click-throughs, pay per click or other numerical equations to judge a marketing tactic successful or a failure is now necessary for improved results. These types of data offer less than a clear picture of the “ideal prospect” and may be ambiguous at best.
The proper use of data-content identifies the behaviors of the responders’ demographics and psychographics allows us to better tailor our message and “relate” more to our audiences. No longer do we have to rely on “cold calling” tactics, or outdated direct mail (although there seems to be a rise in certain print advertising lately) as we can position ourselves in closer alignment with those whom we wish to serve. PSF’s are not utilizing data for its best purposes, however.
Whether your firm operates in the B2B realm or B2C arena, the use of data-driven lead generation is equally effective. It is the correct data and the understanding of the story it tells that will better direct the potential customer’s focus. You can then reach the center of the audience, where the chances for success are their greatest. With the current state of the economy, this makes tremendous sense, as every dollar spent must result in a positive return on investment. It is time to put the “marketing shotgun” down and start using a “marketing rifle,” through automated, data-driven marketing.
Ask Yourself These Questions
- Do your current marketing efforts tell you in what content your prospects are interested?
- Can you discern which is more relevant to your ideal prospect; blog articles, print advertising, direct mail, email blasts?
- If you answered yes, what style of any of the aforementioned works best within that segment?
- What page(s) on your website attract the most visitors?
- What percentages of response to you receive from every type of marketing effort?
- How many viewed the free content download versus how many actually downloaded?
- Who opened the email and who didn’t, separated by which sample of email to which they responded?
- What works – and to what degree?
- Can you tell the difference between a successful campaign and a loser, and why?
These are merely samples of data collection that goes into today’s marketing. It is all about analysis of the information, and understanding what actions must be necessary for the tactic to be tweaked, increased or eliminated.
Marketing Automation Software (MAS) is the tool that can reveal the necessary data to better home in on your ideal prospect. Trial and error is a mindset that is a thing of the past. Marketing communications of any sort must be dissected, analyzed and reviewed over time to understand what works and what doesn’t, offering insights into what style of communications your target audience finds most appealing. Is it emails, blogs, tweets or webinars/webcasts that they resonate with? Utilizing a well-rounded marketing approach will generate a clear view of which direction your marketing should take.
Gain Lead Insight Through Data
The message which you send out must no longer be about your product or services features and benefits, the function or perceived value. It must relate to what the audience is looking for, and is fully dependent upon the buyer’s persona (purchasing manager, chief decision maker, 2nd level scout) as well as the phase they might be in; awareness, considering, justifying the purchase, or ready to purchase now. An analysis of the data in its granular form will reveal all of that information through the use of the marketing automated software. It is known in the industry as “digital body language” and fully understanding is a skill in its own right.
Once the “suspect” converts to a prospect or “lead,” the sales funnel has many levels, all requiring a different type of information share. Early leads may need nurturing just to stay in the sales process, and other early leads may rush through to the final stage of the sales funnel. Those somewhere in the middle of the sales funnel will require a different type of content to help them move toward the goal of selling them. Data analysis helps understand where leads are in the process, and knowing what type of content or messaging they are seeking will allow them to grow their relationship with your firm, and whether or not they will eventually become “buyer ready.” It makes little sense for your sales department to go after leads that are not ready to make a buying decision, and is more or less a waste of their time. Sales should be ready for the handoff from marketing at the right time to maximize ROI, and minimize lead fallout.
Lead segmentation is part of the process, and is an invaluable step in crafting the exact type of message your content needs to foster growth within your market. By understanding where in the sales process your leads are, you are better armed to focus relevant messages pertinent to that level. You would not produce buyer-ready content if your qualified lead was merely in the awareness stage. On the same note, those in the justification stage will require some content that reinforces their position in the sales funnel, and nurtures them to continue on the path to sales. Such is the value of lead segmentation. By understanding each email that is opened, each registration, every web page visitation, each social media referral all tells you what you need to do to move your target leads through to the “buyer ready” stage with the right content at the right time.
Learning to read the data takes time, but through the use of a marketing agency for such purposes makes the transition from “do-it-for-me to “do-it-yourself.” It makes little sense to jump off the high dive into the shallow end of the pool. A professional marketing agency such as Zen Marketing Inc. can assist with the marketing review, design and creation of content to eventually master your own skill set.
Lead Scoring Eliminates Guesswork
Marketing automation software is an invaluable resource for crafting data-driven marketing content. Through the ability to understand exactly where each lead is in the buying process, it makes delivery of pertinent information easy, taking the guesswork out of the work. By optimizing the communication cycle, your targets get the right message at the right time, improving the closing process dramatically. It becomes the rifle method rather than the shotgun approach to marketing.
We at Zen Marketing Inc. can supply a no cost review of your current marketing efforts, and provide the insight necessary to make an informed decision as to the need for an automated marketing software approach to business.