15 Nov Five Steps to Crushing It With Digital Marketing
“Digital marketing? Where do I even start?”
If I had a dollar for every time I heard that question from our clients and potential clients… I’d have like, $37.
Yeah, the saying loses its impact with those real-world numbers, but thirty-seven people in a relatively short period of time is a huge number. The fact is, most manufacturers don’t start digital marketing because it just feels overwhelming, and figuring out where to begin seems like a mountain they just don’t have time to climb. Let’s face it. You have cut sheets, sales sheets, market research, and a myriad of other things to get done; and while you know there is something to the buzz of online marketing, you just don’t have the time to figure out what it is.
But you do know there’s something to it, at least. So how do you take a sensible approach to figuring that out?
I’m going to lay out five steps to developing your digital marketing plan. I’m a realist, though, so I realize not everything works for everyone. From my experience working with manufacturers that sell B2B, these are the most common ways they have reached any level of success. View and review as needed and implement what you’d like in your business.
Know Your Customer’s Journey
This isn’t a digital marketing principle, but it is by far the most important piece of the puzzle. Who is your customer, and how do they buy from you? Who signs the deal? Who influences the buyer? Who interacts with your team on a daily basis after the purchase?
Answering all of these questions is the first and most critical step in developing your digital marketing plan. Why? Because your digital marketing plan is nothing more than a really efficient way to serve the needs of all of the people involved in the customer journey.
Understand What Value You Bring to the Market
Just like the last point: while not exclusively a digital marketing landmark, understanding what unique value your product or service brings to potential buyers is the bottom line.
Digital marketing is a big old amplifier. It’s a way for you to get the word out about how your product or service can help your target companies make or save money and time by working with you. If you have a well-crafted message, your digital marketing campaign will drive it home. If your message isn’t well-thought-out… your digital marketing campaign will drive that home, too!
Define Your Budget in Time, Resources, and Money to Dedicate to a Digital Campaign
Just being honest: here’s where it breaks down for some companies. They want to take the next step to developing a digital marketing plan. They know it’s what they need to do, but the commitment isn’t there. Instead, the plan is to “dip your toe” in a couple of different things and “see if they work.”
Deep down inside, you know how that will go. Knowing what you can commit in regards to the hours from your subject matter experts, marketing resources, and of course the almighty dollar, will help you develop a realistic plan.
Build a Realistic Plan with Realistic Timelines
Speaking of realistic plans…
Rome wasn’t built in a day (I never thought I would use that cliche. Oh well, never say never – DOH! Another one!) The truth is you work for a conservative, slow-moving manufacturing company. They live in a world where, if you mess up, you don’t just change website code and move on; you have real products in the real world that cost real money. Embrace the reality of that mindset and work with it.
The biggest mistake I see marketers make is to try and transfer what works for B2C companies, or even SASS B2B companies, onto industrial manufacturing companies. It won’t fly. Stop trying. I totally get that Pinterest is cool, but there is a chance that it won’t be a viable marketing channel for you.
What happens when you take a paper airplane that flies well with a delicate toss and instead you rear back and throw it with all of your might? That’s right: resistance rules the day and the plane flips, flops, and nose dives.
Use finesse and be in it for the long haul. Bring everyone else along for the ride and account for that in your plan and timeline.
Decide What Success Looks Like
Let’s face it: your idea of digital marketing is new. Not everyone is buying in, and there are lots of naysayers peppering your path to success. You are working hard and want results. Here’s the key: you need to know what good results (read: success) looks like. Plan it ahead of time. Get buy-in from your executive team. Really hold their feet to the fire on this one. Make a deal up-front; after all, you are pouring your blood, sweat, and tears into this – so define what success looks. If it works and you succeed, decide in the beginning what your next steps are. If your campaigns bring in a 40X ROI, then you should get to decide where every marketing dollar until the end of time is spent! That would be an ROI performance that probably crushes every other campaign your company has ever run.
Following these five steps will help you develop a digital marketing plan that is achievable, measurable, and drives action for the next big thing you want to do.
Still not sure? Let us help you. With over twenty years of combined agency and brand manufacturing digital marketing experience, we can help bring all of the parties to the table (sales, marketing, executive team, etc). We will spend two full days with your teams and build a digital marketing plan that everyone will want to stick with. Get more information today before our 2017 time slots fill up!