Turning Your Summer Slump into Next Season’s Success

Halfway through the year and full on into the proverbial summer slump, how have your marketing plans fared for 2018? Will you be making tweaks to your efforts, start from scratch or ride a fortuitous wave? If the outlook you had for 2018 back in January isn’t panning out quite the way you expected, now is the time to re-focus, re-evaluate and re-implement your marketing strategy.

No matter the time of year, marketers make continual efforts to engage with current customers and garner the attention of new prospects all while adapting outreach techniques.  Sometimes it means exploring modern marketing approaches and other times it means forging ahead with tried and true tactics.  And sometimes a mix of old and new is just right.

Here are just a few ideas that can be easily implemented into new and existing plans to effect a positive change in your modern marketing outlook:

Customer Engagement – Provide Interesting Content

We all want to stay engaged with our customers and data shows that email is the preferred method. While it is good to keep customers informed of your business solutions, communication doesn’t always have to be about “selling”. Email content including company news, new product launches, events your company is hosting or will be attending and whitepaper downloads are informative, yet non-invasive ways to engage with your customers. Less is more, more or less, so keep the content relevant and personal (requires knowing your customer – more on that) and only present one idea or topic at a time, otherwise you run the risk of your email not being read.

Customer Journey – Technology has made it easier…and more complex

Lead + Need = Sale.  Well, perhaps once upon a time this equation rang true. Today’s buying journey is much more complex. The Internet allows our customers easy access to many brand and solution options along with the ability to easily compare costs and review, however the journey is still a human one. And a changed human one at that. No longer is there just one decision-maker to sway. Today’s customer is actually a behind-the-scenes team of end-users, integraters, managers and executives who collaborate off-line for the good of the company. Get to know them and their company so you can offer them relevant business solutions.

Align Sales and Marketing

Align is a warm and fuzzy word for change. Sales and Marketing have long endured a seeming rivalry of sorts in the past. While each has a defined role, they’re not nearly as different as we think. Marketing aims to research, develop and promote a product or brand. Sales involves interacting with prospects and existing customers to lead them to a purchase. Both are in it for the same goal and the company’s overall success is directly tied to the success of these two players. When stakeholders from sales and marketing each have a part in figuring out how to create solutions with each other, they can then integrate strategies and implement positive change (err, I mean alignment) for their company.

You Can’t Spell Funnel without F-U-N

The traditional marketing funnel takes the customer from general awareness of your solution, to consideration, and finally to purchase. If you’ve implemented an ABM approach of identifying key accounts and their stakeholders, engaging with them so that they advocate for YOU, then your funnel is flipped.  Enter the bow tie (or hourglass if you prefer) funnel.  It’s the best of both worlds. The bow tie funnel encompasses the customer journey into customer retention and through to customer advocacy. Implementing this type of concept utilizes both modern and traditional techniques. It allows sales and marketing to synchronize and to reap the benefits of securing existing customers who are more likely to make a repeat purchase at a higher spend AND advocate your brand to new customers for you.

Whichever tactic you plan to implement or change, be sure it is completely organized around the customer. That is imperative for the modern marketer. My grandfather (a very wise man I might add) used to say “change is good, especially the loose kind”, so don’t be afraid of incorporating new and modern approaches into your current marketing mix and turn that summer slump into a summer success.

 

Dana Russo
Marketing Operations Specialist
drusso@meritdirect.com

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