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Getting your marketing communications right

Getting your marketing communications right

With many organisations reviewing the role of the marketing and sales function as part of their planning for 2021, Chris Ashworth sets out the five key areas where marketing communications can ensure effective customer engagement.

Marketing Segmentation

The starting point for any business plan is effective segmentation. Tools like Barbour ABI can be used for data analysis. Identifying the largest market segments and those where there is most growth potential. It can also highlight the Clients, Architects, Engineers and Contractors who are securing the majority of the project types best suited to your products. Overlay this with your CRM system to identify those where you already have a strong relationship and you are well on the way to Key Account Management.

To inform your decision making it’s also wise to conduct market research to better understand your customers’ issues, the factors that influence their decision making and perceptions of your company and products.

The Decision Making Process

The decision making process of Awareness-Interest-Evaluation-Trial-Adoption is a key aspect of marketing theory (see our Communications Toolkit example for specification sales). But the advent of Covid, causing greater home working, less face-to-face meetings and greater use of digital information sources has changed the engagement process.

Marketing is now able to play a greater part in taking the prospect through the process to Adoption thanks to the enabler of a range of marketing automation tools which can route the decision maker down different channels subject to their interest and needs. If done correctly this will allow the sales team to focus on the final stage of Adoption - closing the sale. For smaller opportunities, or repeat users, Sales may not even need to be part of the process.

To be effective this must be a well thought through process, using multiple Personas to consider the needs of the different decision makers and ensure each is routed in the right direction to match their needs.

Integrated Communications

This is a message preached for many years and advocates consistent messaging and identity across all touch points. Supported by high quality, engaging content this can draw enquiries to your website and start the customer’s decision making process.

Communication is a two-way process, and as well as providing information, manufacturers can gather information from enquiries using a range of techniques including gated content. All of which feeds into a CRM system, with customer knowledge and understanding shared between prospectors (marketing), technical advisors and sales (both internal and external).

Marketing Integrity

To build Brand reputation and trust it is important to ensure information provided is accurate, complete and not misleading. When products, legislation or standards are changed there is a danger that some of a manufacturer’s information sources can be missed and not updated. In a CPD seminar for example, leading to incorrect information and a loss of credibility. It’s important to have a process to ensure accurate product data. Equally important is ensuring that all those in customer facing roles are technically competent to answer questions and give accurate advice.

Business Development or Account Manager

As marketing develops its mastery of the decision making process the sales role will change. No longer will sales people be needed to prospect for opportunities, instead their role will be more efficient and focused. There will be fewer, higher quality people, who work as a deal-closer, or as an account manager, gaining a better understanding of each customer’s needs and working with them as a solution provider.

Further Information

Chris Ashworth is founder of Competitive Advantage Consultancy which specialises in helping building product manufacturers to be more effective at getting their products selected. Services include bespoke market research, learning and development programmes a range of sales and marketing tools and consultancy to help implement change.

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