Current Marketing Trends – Relationships vs. Lead Generation

By in Marketing Trends,

Because of the sweeping changes in the reach and role of marketing in successful organizations, we’ve put together this guide to help our clients take a more strategic look at how they define and plan their annual marketing budgets and the related activities.

Back in the day, a marketing budget was largely equated to a single activity – lead generation.

However, because of the evolution of multi-channel communications, social media, reputation management, reliance on third party reviews, experiential marketing, content marketing, etc.. and the imperative integration of marketing strategies throughout the entire organization, lead generation is now only a small part of a successful, integrated marketing plan.

Here are some quick facts about today’s current marketing trends:

1.    The better you execute on these more strategic areas of marketing

a.    The more effective ALL lead generation activities will become
b.    The less important lead generation will become to your bottom-line profitability

2.    The cost of a new customer, via lead generation, is 5X more expensive than the effective retention of an existing customer
3.    Referrals have a 300%+ higher closing rate than leads acquired through lead generations
4.    If you are able to retain 90% of your existing customers and 80% of them provided you with just one referral per year, you may not need any lead generation to achieve your marketing  goals.

To help you update your marketing perspective and better align with today’s strategies, we have created this list of specific marketing recommendations. These are listed in order of importance:

Existing Client Engagement – Increases Retention & Referrals, lower cost!

Why Consulting – By engaging people to be a part of something and thanking them for this, they will have more loyalty and tell others about you.  If they are just buying a product, this does not happen. But, by clearly conveying your Why, you can achieve this. Clearly define why you are in business and why anyone should care. Then, invite those who believe what you believe to be an engaged part of your community.
Social Media Listening & Engagement – Proactive listening, and joining in the conversation
Valuable Content Generation – Continually provide value through content that engages your customers
A Regular and Engaging eNewsletter – Critical to the sharing of your content and being ever-present with our customers
Post Service Surveys w/Closed Loop Follow Up – creating this dialogue shows you care and provides feedback for Experiential Marketing Standards, Training & Monitoring. It also allows you to discover and address customer issues before they turn into negative reviews.  This is also a perfect time to measure your Net Promoter Score (how likely your customers are to refer you to others).  Experiential Marketing Standards, Training & Monitoring – These intentional and documented behaviorally standards should be based on your Why and desired brand experience. Create a database of the experience your clients have at every key touch point.  Some of these might include:
•    How you answer your phone
•    Your sales process
•    What  you to do celebrate with your clients
Touch Base Phone Calls – depending on the above, maybe all customers should receive a call every 6 months
Client Engagement Community Events – summer picnic or annual open house

Referral Marketing – Increases Retention & Referrals

NUDE Model Development– The only reason people give referrals is to feel good about themselves.  There are four
factors that allow them to feel good about themselves:

Novelty – what about the delivery of your product or service goes well beyond expectations to create novelty?
Utility – Does every one of your clients understand the full scope of services you are able to provide?  The more people that understand all that you are able to, the more people to which they can refer you.
Dependability – Ensure that the novel experiences for which you become known and are referred for are always dependable.
Economy – make sure the experience you deliver, along with your product or service is worth the price of time or money your customers give you.

Lead Generation Activities – Provides Potential New Clients

Increase The Results of All Your Lead Generation Activities

More Effective Messaging & Offers – Instead of continually searching for the magic bullet tactic for
your ads to perform better, we recommend that you create better, more engaging ads.  You can achieve this by
Incorporating your Why and differentiating your brand. Again, if you share what you believe about the world and what you stand for as company, instead of pitching you product or service, you will receive a better response rate.

Experiential Marketing Standards, Training & Monitoring– You will spend $20, $50 or maybe even $400 for each lead you generate through cold lead generation ads.  To take full advantage of this, create standardized and repeatable experiences to convert more of these leads into customers.  Some elements of this should include:
•    How you answer the phone
•    How you engage the lead to create an amazing experience
•    How you describe your services
•    Follow up emails and communications
•    Etc…

Lead Generation to reach people who are actively looking for your services

SEO – If done well, this will be your most cost effective lead generation activity.  This is true because you are
seen 24/7, there is no incremental cost per lead, you can proactively target words with the highest search
volumes and everyone seeing your listing is actively looking for your services
Pay Per Click – If done well (ads, landing pages, call buttons, offers, etc…) this is also very effective, again
because everyone who clicks your ad is actively looking for your services.

Lead Generation to reach people who are not necessarily looking for your services

Direct Mail
Radio Remotes
Billboards
Print Ads
TV Commercials
Lead Gen Community Events

How to Use This Information
If you already have a reasonable customer base, the majority of your marketing efforts should be allocated to Existing Client Engagement & Referral Marketing.  If Lead Generation is still a necessity, you should follow the order of activities listed above:

1.    Creating a better strategy for increasing your lead generation effectiveness
2.    Conduct lead generation to reach people who are actively looking for your services
3.    Then, as a last resort, conduct lead generation to reach people who are not necessarily looking for your services

Be prepared. Often, marketing budgets have to increase to make sure all these activities are funded correctly, or portions of other budgets (operations, customer support, training, etc…) may need to be allocated towards achieving these critical success elements.

Webolutions is a strategic marketing agency located in Denver, Colorado.  If you could use some help aligning your marketing strategy to be more effective, please give us a call at 303-300-2640 to let us know how we may be able to help you.  If you have any feedback or questions about this blog post, please feel free to respond below. Thank you for your time today!

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About John Vachalek

I believe we should all “take a step back” and create a different lens through which to view the world. When constant change and evolution is the norm, this lens allows us to challenge the status quo and create fresh, innovative, relevant approaches to build success. This success allows us to make a difference in the world and this relevance is what drives me. Learn more about John Vachalek.

The United States Air Force Academy is located in Colorado Springs.