In an interim CFO role I held, I took over the company’s marketing. There was no concerted marketing effort. We bought leads from an excellent list generation company, then called upon that list using in-house telemarketers paid at $10.00 per hour plus commission. We did no e-mail marketing to that list. We used a Microsoft CRM product but mainly to track current customers. We did not upload that list into the CRM program. We did not occasionally reach out to old customers. We didn’t track our customer acquisition cost. That is, we didn’t do any of this until I arrived.
I’m not here to sing my praises. (Ok, Allelujah!! If I don’t on occasion, who will?) My point is that many small to medium businesses get into a routine and don’t stop to measure and assess their marketing efforts. Circumstances, operating environments and markets change. What worked before may no longer work. But if you don’t measure or assess, how can you know?
Perhaps it’s my engineering background. I started my career as an automotive engineer doing testing and measuring. I then moved on to product development and operations. After B school, I went into finance and business development. But I noticed I approached problems with a methodological, solution-driven approach. Meaning, I asked a bunch of questions. (It helped that I moved around to different groups and companies and asking questions was the only way to get answers and get to the root quickly!) How, when, where, what and why. Especially, why? Sometimes I sounded like a pain in the xxx 4-year old on the road to discovery. But it always worked and led to answers. And actually enabled me to develop some marketing acumen despite my operations and finance background.
I do believe wholeheartedly in marketing. Without marketing, or its wonderful twin, public relations, no one knows about your company. If no one knows, they can’t possibly buy from you. Yes, companies go out of business from growing too fast. But more businesses fail from not generating enough sales. That’s primarily due to insufficient marketing.
I do believe strongly in the value of marketing lists. You can build one organically from people visiting your website, from speaking at conferences and writing in trade journals, etc. etc. If you want to drive sales quickly, you must market to a group of individuals or businesses that fit your company’s profile. The sooner you can do that, the sooner you can drive larger sales.
I hear and read repeatedly that many buyers need seven touches to make a purchase. E-mail marketing enables you to do that fairly cheaply…and to track those touches. A high quality list provider, such as that provided by List Giant, can provide your company with the list you need to accelerate your sales and marketing efforts. A good provider can also help you set up and track your direct marketing campaign, similar to the way I helped my former employer.