Have a plan
Benjamin Franklin is quoted as saying that “by failing to prepare, you’re preparing to fail”, and so goes the first fundamental of business marketing: make sure you have a long term goal that sets out the marketing mix, what you want to achieve and the clear measurements of what success looks like. In the analysis, 70 percent of 2015’s award entries had a formal marketing strategy.
Mix it up
Of particular note was the vast number of ways businesses can market their products or services. The online environment has drastically increased the number of avenues that can be explored, while decreasing barriers to entry significantly.
The analysis shows that it’s important to diversify your options. Of the 15 ways that were presented, just three marketing tools had a third of businesses using them. Those three were outdoor marketing, telemarketing and “other” methods.When asked what performed best when it comes to marketing themselves, the general consensus was that lower cost activities performed best and the cost per lead was lower. Referral marketing, a good website, social media, and face-to-face all ranked highly.
Measure, measure, measure
Of critical importance when it comes to executing marketing campaigns that drive businesses forward is the ability and foresight to determine what success looks like. Most entrants last year measured the effectiveness of their campaigns with rigor, with much of the measurement focused on increases in revenue, repeat business, online engagement and profitability.
However, returns and costs per lead vary wildly across industries, products and mediums, so it’s important to do your research and talk to people within the industry to get an idea of what a good return looks like and set a marketing objectives benchmark.
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The role of online marketing strategies, unsurprisingly, was highlighted as a critical and inexpensive way to generate business and present their business’ marketing face to the world. Social media, email and search engine optimisation (SEO) all had a key role.While 21 per cent said their website is static (as an online brochure or business overview), more than a third said they have an interactive site that facilitates two-way discussion. One in four said their website marketing strategy is fully integrated with business processes such as CRM, and one in five are investing in digital commerce.
Communication is key
Public relations also played a key role when it comes to engaging customers in a considered, proactive way – particularly when your industry is in the news. Of the Telstra Business Award entrants in 2015, half take the opportunity to proactively communicate with their clients, prospects, suppliers and external stakeholders when the media is covering issues within their industry.
By putting their front foot forward – particularly in times of trouble for your industry – it’s possible to distance yourself from controversy and assuage the fears of your clients or customers.
Know your enemy
Of the businesses entering into the 2015 Awards, all knew who their main competitors were, with 98 per cent able to differentiate themselves from their competitors - and communicate their unique selling points (USP).
It may seem like a given, but the more you know about your competitors, the more you’re able to find new gaps in the market and grow your own business. And while many businesses were able to identify their competitors, less than half were able to identify how much market share their competitors had, or their business strategies they were employing.
Originally published 11th March 2015. Updated 9th September 2019.