Growth Insights for CEOs

Conducting Your Orchestra: How to Achieve Opera-Sized Marketing Impact on a Sonnet-Sized Budget

Posted by Deborah Fell


A funny thing happened on the way to the Orpheum: Today's flip-flop-wearing, short-attention-spanned public simply isn't looking for symphonic-sized entertainment like they used to. Ask any community orchestra conductor what brings out the most throngs these days, and they'll tell you it was the "Pops" performance of Star Wars music that far outplayed Beethoven.

Though it's easy for classical purists to bemoan their fate, it seems that giving the public what they want is the surest path to preservation and success.

Today's chief marketers can't help but empathize with their baton-wielding counterparts: The annual marketing plan we used to know and love -- filled with big budgets for big concepts, and big-picture items -- simply isn't what it used to be.

Indeed, corporate marketers would be wise to curtail the practice of big bets on big campaigns–going with their gut and waiting for the sales to roll in – or not. 

Fortunately, the tools that power data-driven marketing intelligence have become much more accessible, giving rise to the concept of “disruptive marketing” – the kind of limited-budget, limited-audience campaigns that can deliver a much more measurable – and actionable – set of results.

Such innovation has come at a time when marketers are under pressure to “act” more like sales executives. A recent study found that more than half of corporate marketing teams are asked to allocate budgets across the entire customer journey; further, spending on digital marketing continues its steep ascent, with spending on digital media to overtake, and surpass, more traditional ad spending, this year, according to Magna Global.

To get you on the road to success, let’s look at three keys to successfully earning wallet share from right-sized campaigns: 

  1. Stake Out Your Position: Understanding the fundamentals that drive consumer behavior in your segment is a fairly essential exercise. Knowing how prospects enter – and transit -- through their customer-buying cycle (vs. thinking only from how you sell) is a critical first step. We want to understand: How do they search for information on our products, and those of our competitors? What role does mobile play in their daily lives? Will they order our products or services online, or does the transaction require facilitation or human intervention?

Building out your lead cultivation infrastructure now will help you capitalize on the right-sized opportunities as they flow into your organization. And, more than just a “good idea,” fortifying your digital presence now is an absolute in keeping your enterprise competitive. A Gartner study predicts that by 2020, 85 percent of consumers will manage their relationship with an enterprise without human interaction; in fact, even today, nearly two-thirds of consumers have already determined their purchase intent BEFORE then give us a call. 

  1. Talk With, Not At: The days of crowing over how amazing we are have been replaced by a climate where consumers are driving the dialogue. They’re much more interested in the type of “pain-point” solutions that we offer than how many gold statues our industry has bestowed upon us. If we want consumers to engage– and increase the level of their relationship–with us, we need to be always providing value – in our product/service, communications and customer service.

Helping them to tune in the right message – much in the way our friend, the orchestra conductor, is able to turn cacophony into harmony with a tap of the baton – means our content has got to be rock-solid. Though 98 percent of B2B marketers cite content marketing as core to their marketing strategy, a strong majority (65 percent) of intended buyers have distaste for the quality of what they’re receiving. Investments in strategies and tactics like case studies and white papers, landing pages and webinars are among the most cost-effective means to educate the target consumer, support your role as a pain-reliever, and build their trust. 

  1. Tools for the Trade: If your company already licenses SalesForce or another comprehensive CRM system, you are – possibly unknowingly – well on the road to winning the measurement game. When SalesForce purchased the Pardot marketing automation platform, it reinforced the importance of integration between sales and marketing.

Pardot–and its brethren HubSpot, Marketo, InfusionSoft, along with other marketing automation suites–will inject intelligence into your message distribution system – monitoring key behaviors and interactions with your content and identifying buying signals. Further, the analytics will help you improve your consumer dialogue, cultivate new opportunities and provide the kind of concrete proof you need to unlock some additional marketing funds.

One final thought – bear in mind the importance of creativity in breaking through the clutter. Even though we are leveraging some professional techniques and tools, we’ll need a healthy dose of right-brain rumination to stand out from the crowd, and to give a virtuoso performance!

Topics: Marketing Budget

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