You lose some.

The saying goes “You win some…” so naturally “you lose some.”

Today, I am admitting that I lost one.

Wednesday started just like any other Wednesday, until a certain team’s marketing catch-up came round.

A snapshot of what happened in today’s meetings.

Me: “Guys – where are we at with the brochure proof? The product release has been pushed back 2 weeks already and we have been sitting on the brochure for a couple of days now. What’s the delay?”

Him: “It’s not ready.”

Me: “Ok. Why? Can you get to it today?”

Him: “No.”

Stares exchanged…

Him: “Proofing is not a valuable use of my time.”

Me: “Then I will proof and release into the market.”

Him: “No. You can’t send it without my approval.”

Me: “Ok. Then please proof it after this meeting and get your amends to me by lunch.”

Him: “I will get to it when I get to it. My time is more valuable…”

I’ll leave the rest of that sentence to your imagination! This is just one example of the numerous conversations I have had with this team leader.

Sales say that their time is more important than ours. What I find bizarre is that – surely if all our time is well spent, we all make more money? If marketing is targeted, there will be more high quality leads, there will be more revenue generating opportunities – there will be more revenue! Sales can help us do that by feeding back from the industry.

Marketing is often sales’ scapegoat.

Sales’ top excuses:

  1. Marketing hasn’t given me data
  2. The data Marketing has given me is outdated
  3. Marketing hasn’t got me any leads
  4. The leads Marketing have given me are crap

And yet, when you delve deeper into the excuse, it often is not that simple.

Example – The leads Marketing have given me are crap.
Ok – are there target profiles missing from the leads? Are they reacting unexpectedly to the event? What objections are you receiving?

Marketing needs Sales and Sales needs Marketing.

“Studies show failure to align sales and marketing teams around the right processes and technologies costs B2B companies 10% or more of revenue per year ($100 million for a billion-dollar company).” – 10 Stats on the Business Impact of Marketing and Sales alignment: http://marketeer.kapost.com/sales-marketing-alignment-stats/

So why can’t we work together? We all want the events to be a success. Our most successful events are those where we all work effectively and efficiently as a TEAM.

Despite this evidence, I have one more Salesman to convert. I won some, I lost one!

As I drink this glass of wine, I say to myself- better luck next time.

 

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A clean diary, a clean slate – tips to manage your time effectively

This is a tough thing to admit publicly (it’s a little embarrassing), but one of my favourite days each year is the day I fill in my new diary. The day that delivery arrives at the office, the excitement begins! Opening that box, the beauty that lies within…

…a pristine NEW diary!

Whenever I am recruiting, I often get asked ‘What do I look for in a new hire?’ I always answer the same, ‘Someone who is organised and can prioritise’. Our biggest challenge as marketers is balancing the needs of our customers, both internal and external, whilst also ensuring our products are introduced to the market at the right time and are communicated effectively to our target audience.

Effective time management is key to what we do.

We are fortunate as marketers, that we can manage our time. We have clear deadlines. We can measure the time it takes to set up a campaign. We know when analysis becomes available.

The first training session I do with any new starter is one on time management. In every weekly meeting with my team, I also ensure that they are sticking to the basics. That way, I know they have effectively planned their time and I can guarantee that they are getting their tasks completed.

When you get your new diary, the first thing you should do is look at the whole year. For example, we have ‘FC’ dates for every project. This is the date that we get the event brochure to design. This date is set in stone. This date for every project can be added to the new diary early. When we know this date, we can also add in that the ‘flat plan’ needs to be sent to the team 2 weeks previous.

Adding set dates to your diary over the whole year enables you to prioritise these key deadlines.

Next, I get my team to look at the next month. So on Jan 31st, we plan for February. Again, this allows you to plan around key deadlines, distributing the work evenly.

And of course, you have to plan a week at a time and also a day ahead. It is impossible to avoid those last minute tasks that enter your inbox!

So here are my tips to time management:

  • Plan a year, a month, a week and a day at a time. This ensure that major deadlines are in mind whenever you are planning. And also ensures that you plan enough time to ensure that these important activities are done effectively and not in a rush.
  • Mark out chunks of time. If you know setting up an email campaign takes you two hours, then give yourself two hours in your diary!
  • When undertaking tasks, turn off your email (or turn off the notifications that pop up on the bottom right hand corner of your screen) and focus on finishing that task. This will not only ensure a task is completed but also reduce stress, as that is one task off the to-do list.
  • Allocate time to analysis. You cannot make effective marketing decisions without knowing what works and what doesn’t. Often when busy, analysis is forgotten or pushed to the next day – no more!
  • Do not plan 100% of your time. 75% maximum – this leaves time for urgent matters, or new ideas.
  • Leave time after meetings, or weekly catch-ups, just in case an unforeseen task arises.
  • Give yourself time to look at your emails and return message. I always give myself 30 minutes first thing, 30 minutes after lunch and 30 minutes at the end of the time.
  • I love using colour! I use to colour to visually illustrate how my time is spent. For example, I mark my meetings in one colour, all urgent tasks in another…in fact I even have a colour for each member of my team!

People have often said that being too organised stifles creativity – I disagree. Giving yourself time to plan, gives you time to be creative.

Creativity and organisation – a marriage made in heaven.

 

Cutting costs – dispeling the myth that Marketers spend, spend, spend

One of the many focuses of the NYC office of my company has been cutting unnecessary costs – not to the detriment of the customer’s experience of our service.

Marketers don’t need to spend, spend, spend – we need to spend WISELY. By profiling we can target our communication to our customer resulting in cost-effective spend. It is vital to understand which distribution methods work best for your target customer. For example, the customers from Trading Show Chicago behave differently to those from World Orphan Drug Congress USA. What works for one doesn’t work for another. Cost-effective spending can only be achieved by understanding the customer and targeting marketing activities to satisfy their needs.

design 2There other ways to cut costs, for example on design. I am not a designer, but sometimes it saves time and money to do small design projects myself. I follow a simple rule – less is more. Here are some designs that we have done in-house.

Note the simplicity and style- it’s important to echo the brand. Don’t deviate from the brand colours, font or style.

See some samples below that I did for the World Orphan Drug Congress USA 2015, which is taking place this week.

This image was put together using simple design tools such as Canva.com

What do you need to build an effective marketing strategy?

You need the building blocks – the what, the who, the when, the where and the how!

1) The What

What are you marketing? Whether its an event, a toothbrush or a haircut, you need to know what it is you are marketing. What sets your product/service apart from the competition? What is your USP? How would you position your product/service in the market? What is the price of your product/service? Does this align with your positioning? Be careful not to price yourself out of the market – be competitive, cover your costs and remember to think about the value your customer attributes to your product/service.

2) The Who

Who are your customers? Who is your product/service for? Go into detail so that you understand your customer. How old are they? Are they male or female? What are their interests?

What are your customers wants or needs? Use this along with your What information to write down the features, advantages and benefits of your product/service. This acts almost like a spellcheck – making sure your product/service is suitable for the Who.

The Who also covers your internal resources – staffing.

3) The When & The Where

What is the distribution plan? Where can the customer get your product/service? When will the product/service be available? How will customers purchase from you?

4) The How

How will you communicate all this to your target customer? What elements of the promotional mix are you planning on using – Advertising, Direct Marketing, PR, Personal Selling or Sales Promotion? Remember to think about your customer and what communication channels they favour. Marketing is not one-size-fits-all.

These four building blocks will ensure your strategy effectively anticipates, identifies and satisfies the needs of your customer!

“Marketing is the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably.” –CIM

Time to go back to basics

It’s easy to get distracted by new ideas and the latest technology or theories. Whether it be content marketing or keeping up with the latest social media trends.

Sometimes the best thing to do is to go back to basics!

What is Marketing?

“Marketing is the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably.” –CIM

One thing stands out for me in particular- the CUSTOMER. How can you “identify, anticipate and satisfy” their needs if you don’t know who they are? With two new Marketing Executives on my team, it is important that their training focuses on who our customer is. This is not always an easy thing to learn! As a business, we work in several different industries pharmaceuticals, marketing, aviation, trading, supply chain…to name but a few. As marketers, our role is to focus the team’s efforts on the customer and ensure that we communicate effectively with that customer.

Every newbie to marketing when asked “what do you think are effective tools of promotion” answers “social media!”  I am not suggesting that this answer is wrong…I am suggesting that this is not always the answer. Similarly, email is not always the answer.

So I recently implemented new policies within my office to focus everyone, not just my team, back onto the customer and who our customer is.

For our events, we have 3 main phases of promotion: spexprom, confprom and visprom, each tailored to get certain a type of attendee. To echo these 3 phases, we now have separate profiling meetings immediately before each phase is strategised. This ensures that our message and data segmentation is much more targeted and effective.

So for example, immediately before the marketing team begins to strategise for spexprom, as an event team we talk about our customer. We discuss their job titles, their industries, their age, their salaries, their favourite sport…we even give each customer a name. This helps not only the marketing team to visualise each customer, but the whole team.

We have already seen a vast improvement to our copywriting, as each team member can now imagine the person reading. Our email open rate has improved by 3% in just two weeks!

This renewed focus on profiling has helped us to visualise the conversation and ensure we are communicating the information the customer needs to know- thus identifying and anticipating their needs. It has also helped with the production of our products. By visualising the customer in the audience, our understanding of their needs has improved- thus ensuring we satisfy their needs.

Effective marketing is not achieved with a one size fits all mindset. Each customer has different needs. Taking the time to get to know the customer ensures you satisfy their needs profitably.