Earlier I commented on VC Fred Wilson’s smart quote “Marketing is for companies who have sucky products” and the failure of companies that focus on tactical programs when they should be thinking strategic. I wrote:
Marketing is THE customer expert and advocate. … Marketing ensures that the product has the right features, optimal positioning, pricing, packaging, and promotion, and a market and customer-oriented product roadmap.
That’s only part of the solution.
For far too long marketing has been a custom, personnel-intensive, and thus costly part of company operations. The lack of coupling between marketing and sales is the single largest failure, if not albatross, of Marketing today.
This is especially so at high performance companies that develop tech products that generate exponential returns or tighten the supply chain to wring out a magnitude of inefficiency and costs. How can the Marketing department be just as responsive and productive?
The answer is not the “sucky” marketing that Fred Wilson so accurately wrote about. Yes, you’ve got to have tactical marketing programs like a web site, newsletter, blog, social media, PR, etc. But they’re akin to the modules of a software program – necessary but not the strategic organizational driver that’s going to make your business a huge success.
Let’s step back and look at this from an evolutionary perspective.
- Fair marketing is product-driven.
- Decent marketing is sales-driven.
- Good marketing is customer-driven.
There is a clear trend that’s moving from me the provider to you the customer. The next step is to dive even further into the customer to understand not just what he wants and needs, but how he makes decisions.
A typical product close is not one decision but a series of customer buying decisions that have their own individual marketing and sales processes.
The implementation of this Point of Decision (really, Decisions) approach is through a marketing system with campaigns that automatically and seamlessly work the lead through the sales ladder, deliver the offer, and promote the customer to the campaign on the next level and ultimately your target market.
One example that scratches the surface of Point of Decision is the free version of many software and web services today.
Point of Decision avoids the brute (and blunt) force trauma associated with much of today’s marketing with sales conversion rates that are a fraction of a percent. It’s a natural customer-centric process that puts the customer in control, while subtly selling at the same time. As your prospect and then customer naturally arrives to and makes each individual buying decision, he gains trust in your company and product and becomes increasingly engaged. The result is hugely more leads, more closes, and more revenues.