A common trap organizations can fall into is staying with roughly the same marketing approach year after year. It can be tempting to go with the tried-and-true. After all, sticking with the same or mostly the same plan as last year means you’ll know exactly what’s required when it comes to creative, and your spend can be fairly predictable. But this approach to planning—or actually a lack thereof—can leave you vulnerable in a few key ways:
Making the Same Errors Repeatedly. One packaging supplier I know has a marketing plan that is almost entirely focused on lead gen. Year after year, this marketing team focuses almost entirely on email and putting forms around content on their website. The company seems satisfied with the numbers of leads it receives—after all, it typically isn’t too far off from previous years’ targets. What the team fails to see: Similar companies are bringing in far more leads using fewer lead gen activities.
How can this be?
Because lead gen often goes hand in hand with brand awareness. When a market doesn’t know you that well and isn’t familiar with your products, prospects are far less likely to engage with you. A stream of branding tactics (video pre-roll, display ads, etc.) goes a long way to improving familiarity—and trust—with the supplier. Similarly, having great content on your website is moot if no one knows it’s there. Traffic-driving activities (targeted social advertising, trade media email) are what helps draw greatest numbers of new eyes and will accelerate prospects’ education about the supplier and its products.
Updating to a mix of roughly 60 percent branding and 40 percent lead gen (ideal goal mix will vary by factors such as product and organization maturity, current business goals, etc.) will do a much better job at not only “priming the pump” but also boosting prospects’ willingness to engage.
Failure to Support Shifting Business Goals. Another problem with a stagnant marketing plan is that your organization doesn’t support its changing needs. For example, a supplier that has recently merged or been acquired will want to focus more heavily on awareness and web traffic than it had in past years; It needs to strengthen its market presence. Whereas an organization that is launching a new product may increase its focus on driving leads (middle to low-funnel activities will help with new sales right away by addressing pent up demand from those closer to decision making). The right marketing mix needs to take into consideration nuances of changing organizational priorities and weigh overall value of tactics accordingly.
Missing Out on Important Opportunities. The other key challenge with using a year-to-year cookie-cutter approach with your marketing is that you fail to recognize environmental change. (Anyone want to send a promotion by fax these days? Didn’t think so!)
At a basic level, those who stay with the same marketing plan will be slow in addressing shifts in ways end users are researching and vetting competitors. For example, did you know that the number of individuals on packaging machinery buying teams has been increasing over the past five years? Recent research from PMMI Media Group shows 57 percent of end users now include four or more individuals on their buying committees. As such, it’s now more important than ever for suppliers to focus on message and channel diversity to go deeper into accounts. (For more information on changing purchase trends and impact on marketing, see the PMMI Media Group report Packaging Supplier Marketing Trends and Best Practices.)
In addition, when you stay wed to one marketing approach for too long, you leave yourself open to unnecessary cost or loss of effectiveness, as communication practices are constantly advancing. As just one example, consider how many marketers have spent years steering away from direct mail because of its high cost. These days, with changes in on-demand digital printing, it’s now easy to do short-run, highly custom campaigns with low investment.
Similarly, consider the many targeting capabilities PMMI Media Group has introduced. Instead of relying on mass communication, marketers now can use trade media to reach members in their addressable market more cost-efficiently and effectively by homing in on exactly the right prospect base with email, social or print targeting. Such precision was not possible only a few years ago.
Thinking it’s time to review your marketing plan’s effectiveness? Let PMMI Media Group assist you. For a free assessment of how the media group can help you achieve your sales goals, contact Wendy Sawtell, VP, Sales, firstname.lastname@example.org.