1. Put strategy before execution.
Marketing tends to be synonymous with “doing.” It’s right there in the name, after all: market-ING, a verb, an activity. Marketing teams spend most of their time on tactical execution—stage this event, launch this campaign, plan for these upcoming shows. Those are important activities, but too often, marketing focuses so much on “what,” they forget to ask “why.”
Before spending time or money on any marketing activity, understand how it ties into the larger business strategy. What’s the unique value proposition for these kinds of customers, in the region you’re targeting? Why should they listen? What can you offer that no one else can? Talk through these questions with sales. Document the answers and make sure the larger business strategy is driving your marketing tactics, not something you’re figuring out as you go.
2. Agree on customer segments and personas.
Everyone in the company (sales, marketing, executive leadership) should be in agreement on who the target buyer is. Going after financial services companies? Who, specifically, are you targeting? The Vice President of IT? The Director of Compliance? Line-of-business leaders? Everyone should agree on the key people in these scenarios. Create target “personas.” Get specific on what they care about, the pain points they’re grappling with, and how you can help them overcome those problems.
Do a similar exercise on the customer segments you’re going after. It could be by vertical, region, size. Within verticals, identify the types of companies where you can provide unique value. Marketing that targets “healthcare customers” is less effective than a message targeting “midsize clinics in rural areas with this specific set of needs.”