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Why adopt V-Formation principle?

This blog post was written by Liz Jackson, the MD of Great Guns Marketing, and was originally posted on the Great Guns Marketing Blog site.

Geese know what they are doing; they get from A to B as one – flying in formation with each bird going in the same direction. They instinctively fly in formation with everyone knowing their place and what they must do to reach their destination. Their strategy is clear before they set off and its implementation is instinctive. We all need a marketing and sales strategy that gets us from where we are, to where we want be; and like geese, it requires everyone to instinctively move as one, in formation, doing what’s required, during the journey.

Why fly in a ‘V’?

1)   To conserve energy

Each bird flies slightly above the bird in front of him, resulting in a reduction of wind resistance. The birds take turns being in the front, falling back when they get tired, allowing them to fly for a longer period of time.

The same can be true of marketing channels. By using multiple channels each one of them can ride off the back of one another. Gradually a story is built, and prospects become more brand aware. This enhances the appeal to engage and results are generated driving down the cost per lead.

Geese also change position in the re-shaping of the V which keeps them refreshed. This is the same for our marketing messages. Messaging can get tired when the same story is spun out through the same channels. By targeting prospects using LinkedIn, direct mail, email, webinars etc. and changing the story so that they hear the beginning, middle and end keeps our message alive and is much more likely to resonate with the prospect making them likely to engage.

2)   To keep track of every bird

Running marketing in V-formation assists with communication and co-ordination and it is vital to measure effectively each channel. We use an amazing automation tool for ourselves and our clients which enables us to monitor all online traffic. Think of each marketing channel as a goose. Our automation tool allows us to track exactly how each goose is performing. For example it can assess who is visiting our blog, where they go once they have read the content, have they converted into a lead, a meeting or an order.

We can do this across all of our channels, including LinkedIn, email shotting, Twitter, landing pages, micro-site and website. We can score the activity on each goose and score the prospects so that when they go through to our telemarketing team they are already well-qualified leads.

3)   To make the most of the extra lift 

The flight formation plays an aerodynamic role maximising each bird’s lift. An integrated marketing campaign can do the same. For many years now companies have engaged with us when wanting to carry out telemarketing activity. However, over the last year we have encouraged companies to carry out integrated marketing campaigns, synchronising social media, email, direct mail and LinkedIn with telemarketing. For example, we use LinkedIn to link to prospects prior to any telemarketing instantly improving conversion rates. We now strongly recommend that clients use a minimum of 7 touch points on their campaigns since each touch point creates an upwash which improves conversion rates on the next marketing intervention.

4)   To honk encouragement to those up front

When embarking on any sales and marketing strategy it is absolutely critical that we keep honking! We need to ensure our sales people are cheered on and encouraged. It is vital to stay in formation and keep flying. Geese know where they are going and the sales and marketing team need to too and keep their destination in focus.

5)   To time it right

Geese keep their ears to the ground and we need to do the same. The timing of flight is critical, as is our messaging. It needs to be current, relevant and timely so that prospects can instantly see how we can help them fix their problems. We want to bring our prospects from cold to hot and we need to be prepared to go the distance; geese fly between 2-3 thousand miles to reach their destination. This requires resilience, determination and strength.