Marketing and that Strategy Thing

Companies typically work every day to develop qualified leads, but many do not achieve the results they want. Not everyone is taking the time to put in place a proactive marketing strategy, even though they should. Strategic marketing isn’t an easy one-two-three activity, and the U.S. marketplace keeps getting more crowded with new brands and offers that seem to never end.

Enter a simple, strong strategy—the way to clear sailing from prospect to qualified lead to customer. OK, it’s not entirely that simple, but your strategy should be.

In 1957, McDonald’s sold 15 hamburgers. Today, it has sold more than 300 billion. Its restaurants can be found in 119 countries serving 58 million customers each day in 31,000 locations worldwide. The company employs 1.5 million people. Needless to say, it is successful.

How would you feel about having served 58 million customers? Actually, it’s not important how you feel about it, it’s what you are going to do about it that counts. So let’s take a few moments to review some keys to building a successful strategic marketing program.

Understand your funnel.—Marketing spend is largest at the top of the sales funnel. Much of the time it’s necessary because the company does not have a well-defined strategy in place, so casting a very large net is required to deliver an appropriate number of ’qualified’ leads.

A huge amount of uplift can be realized by simply being more selective in who you target. Having 100 highly qualified sales prospects is far more valuable than 10,000—or even 100,000—that are not qualified. Yet, the majority of companies purchase enormous lists and email or mail to them every day with astonishingly low success rates.

I have tried this approach and can tell you it doesn’t work. In most cases, it burns your marketing spend down to the point you don’t have enough resources to continue the dialogue.

Tom Marin is the managing partner of and provides corporate and brand strategy to organizations of all sizes. He has an extensive background in the graphic arts, printing, publishing and media industries. Marin is an accredited member of the national and international chapters of the Business Marketing Assn., is a (CBC) certified business communicator and a past marketing chair of the Chicago chapter.

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