Four deadly marketing habits killing revenue goals

The core function of marketing within businesses is changing and evolving so rapidly against the backdrop of the pandemic and increased pressure on businesses to adapt to unusual market conditions. Marketing is now a vital aspect of revenue generation. But many businesses are still making the critical mistake of ‘setting the marketing department up for failure.’

At AZK-Media, we’ve seen businesses get it right, and we’ve also seen businesses get it terribly wrong. From experience, these are habits and systems to avoid to make the most ROI out of your marketing efforts.

Mistaking marketing for ads

Yes, advertising has its place in the marketing mix. But just paying for ‘ad space’ with no regard to organic, inbound marketing as part of a long-term strategy is expensive. It’s also unsustainable.

Just like any investment, when you invest in marketing, it needs to be treated like an asset. Organic content and earned media placement activities can be easily scaled. So, create a variety of interesting content for your prospects. Then build trust and help drive an authentic community around your brand.

A good cadence of organic content, PR and social media can drive inbound leads organically, without ads. So even when you ‘switch gears on your marketing spend’, your organic content can still drive traffic and inquiries. However, if you pool all of your marketing spend into Google Ads, when you switch those off, all of your marketing effectively stops with it! The same can be said with social media and banner ads.

Here’s a real life example of a business we saw who came to us looking for help. They had an outdated website, no internal marketing function, and any marketing spend was blown on Google Adwords. They would get three, maybe four leads a month. We proposed a healthy mix of brand marketing, social selling and inbound lead generation, along with the construction of a new, SEO-rich website.

The CEO didn’t ‘get’ marketing and reverted back to just upping spend on Google Ads. Two years on, and they have barely budgeted on business growth. Instead, their competitors, who invested in their brand, PR, social media and customer advocacy, took over their market share. They came back to us tired and devastated, wondering why their brand doesn’t look as ‘polished’ and ‘attractive’ as their competitor’s.

Outdated systems, processes and ‘busyness’

In the days of innovative marketing agencies, data-driven marketing platforms and real-time collaborative project management tools, there’s no excuse for slow marketing processes, decision by committee, ‘corporate navel gazing,’ ‘post it note bingo’ and other vacuous marketing activities that make marketing teams look ‘busy’, when they are, in reality, ineffective. Because we all know ‘busyness’ does not necessarily make for great ‘business.’

By investing in the right people, tools and processes, you can streamline marketing. This will help in cutting costs and significantly reducing sales leads time. As an example, our clients don’t need to waste time and money juggling multiple video, marketing, PR, event and content agencies, they just come to us for all of their inbound marketing needs – simple processes, easy project management, and fast results.

Overlooking regional needs

A common mistake we see companies make when expanding into new markets is reusing the same messaging and customer stories. They do this without locating the marketing messages or content. As an example, a US-based technology company can’t expect a use case, featuring an obscure local retailer will resonate with APAC or UK/EMEA prospects. If you’re looking at regional marketing, find your local customer champions and build a customer advocacy program around them.

However, an integrated customer advocacy program often involves many moving parts. This includes PR, content production, copywriting, project management, event management, webinar management, storytelling, video production and social media. This is usually well beyond the remit and capability of one, sole regional marketing manager. This is where we come in. We do the heavy lifting and take the pressure off the local field marketer, while helping scale regional activities and business growth.

Misaligning sales and marketing

At C-Suite level there’s often a misconception that marketing is secondary to sales, whereas, in reality, the two need to work hand in hand in order to fire up the lead gen engine.

Marketing teams are under pressure to ‘bring in leads’. Meanwhile the disconnect between marketing and sales is resulting in Sales being under pressure to convert those ‘leads’ into sales faster and at scale.

The reality is, many of those ‘leads’ aren’t quite ready for conversion. They need to be nurtured slowly. In many large SaaS/Data companies, these leads can take 6 months to a year to come to fruition. In the meantime, the sales marketing teams are becoming more burnt out, more frustrated and churning off into other companies. Then if the model is also broken there, the cycle starts all over again.

In a data-driven environment, there’s no better time than now to start re-evaluating your marketing and sales data and take it more seriously. Do something meaningful with it, build a collaborative revenue engine, and unlock the true potential of your business to attract and retain customers.

Azadeh Williams is the founder and managing partner of AZK Media.

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