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How to save ourselves from the 10 sins of the modern marketer

So just what prevents them getting there?

We have witnessed many obstacles that make the challenge harder. We call these marketing sins, with poetic licence, but really it’s a series of common scenarios that we find time and time again within the sales and marketing structure, which prevent the every day marketer from delivering against target. This is just a starter for ten, but put right, or recognised, these common mistakes and misunderstandings might make the modern day marketer’s objectives more within reach:

Lead targets – targeting marketers on delivering leads in the enterprise space drives all the wrong behaviours. It becomes a race to generate as much volume as possible when, in the enterprise segment in particular, the emphasis needs to be much more on quality. Our experience has shown that high volumes of leads result in low lead progression and when the progression of leads falls below 70 per cent sales engagement falls through the floor – meaning future leads are less likely to get the attention they need, even if they deserve it.

Revenue targets – this is the extreme response from those who wake up and realise targeting leads is getting them nowhere! Targeting marketers on delivering revenue can turn them into surrogate sales managers. They can end up focussed on chasing the sales people to attribute their revenues to particular campaigns and end up spending less time focussed on developing and executing strategies that will create opportunity in the first place.
Creativity for its own sake – clever campaigns are admired by all and we’re certainly not advocating stifling creativity but sometimes we can take it too far and end up doing things that are more than a little self-indulgent and have little or no bearing (or worst of all, detract from!) the messages we’re trying to convey.
‘This tool / communications method renders all others obsolete’ – there is no single medium of communication that trumps all others. Different prospects respond to different mediums. There can certainly be an uptake in responses to a new medium when first tried but this is often a novelty and wears off pretty soon; out-of-fashion mediums can then become novel by comparison and so the whole cycle starts again. When was the last time you found a handwritten envelope on your office desk? We bet you’d open it…
‘We need to reduce cost per lead’ – cost per lead is just one of many ways to measure marketing effectiveness and is rarely adequate on its own. If we reduced our cost per lead by 50 per cent but this meant the progression from lead to opportunity fell from 60 per cent to 15 per cent as a consequence then we clearly haven’t achieved what we meant to as our cost per £/$/€ of revenue is actually greater.
Prioritising campaign execution over market prioritisation and alignment – it’s no good running lots of campaigns if they’re going to the wrong people in the wrong organisations or the messages just aren’t honed. We’re not advocating analysis paralysis here but there needs to be more ‘ready, aim, fire’ than just ‘FIRE! FIRE! FIRE!’ We have to be strong and push back against our sales and business leadership if they’re pushing us in this direction.
Believing customers buy our features or technology – they don’t; they buy answers to their problems. If we can’t understand their objectives and the problems they have in achieving these and demonstrate the capabilities we have, we have no chance from the outset.
Channel consistency – out of sync - we are living in a day and age where our customers will often find us before we are aware of them. We need to convey the right messages in the right tone, wherever they happen to be looking. If we don’t do this, we can appear disingenuous, and from a practical point of view, often increase effort and duplication.
Sales and marketing alignment – in any organisation this is a well-documented relationship. It is important to develop some sort of joint forum or method of regular communication. Most importantly, a lack of integration can lead to customer feedback and issues not aligning. This is crucial in ensuring that the marketing messages are as close to current as possible and highly relevant. We have to make it easy for sales to integrate and get their buy-in to following the processes we need followed.
‘Using the evidence of one’ – a salesperson met with a customer who said x; we’ve now re-aligned our whole marketing strategy to address this. We need to be sure we have strong evidence base for the direction we’re taking and any changes we’re advocating. The example above would be a great hypothesis to test with other customers; it’s not a reason to change direction in itself. 

Consider your marketing organisation a while and think whether these ten suggestions are being truly adopted or acknowledged within your teams. If so, then you have overcome many of the significant hurdles that your peers have faced.

I am by no means saying this list is all-inclusive, I know it’s not. If you think there are far greater issues out there that should enter this list, I would be delighted to hear from you. At the end of the day, all we want is to make marketing saints of us sinners.