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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Closing the Deal

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Is your marketing closing the deal? Many marketers consider their job to be the communication of key messages and making sure that creative is "on strategy." In today's environment, developing attractive marketing pieces isn't enough.

In addition to developing marketing campaigns, creative briefs, and marketing plans, professional marketers need to focus on generating meaningful results. As in any business, activity must come before results, but activity for the sake of keeping busy won't do in today's competitive environment. If you're not closing the deal, your value to the organization may be questionable at best.

The purpose of marketing is to lead consumers in your target market through the purchase decision process. When looked at in this manner, its easy to create a process that helps you achieve the desired outcome, leading prospects to the point of sale. Define the process for your customers and begin by measuring outcomes at each milestone. Now some people may say, "my job is to only create leads", or "my job is to simply create brand awareness." I'm here to challenge that a bit and say that if you're not getting the deal done, you're not doing your job as a marketer. What I'm proposing blurs the line between marketing and sales, but as companies do more with less, your survival depends on it.

What good is brand awareness if no one buys your product or service? What good is a lead if i doesn't convert? The purpose of marketing is to move prospects through the purchase process - often times to the point of sale (and in some instance after sale). The concept of sales may frighten us marketers a bit, but it is at the core of our existence. Not only do we need to take part in moving prospects through the funnel, but marketing is most effective when we ctontrol the communication even after the sale.

As marketers take on greater accountability, our success can be enhanced by the ongoing marketing and communication among existing customers. We all know that its five times more difficult to acquire a new customer than retaining an existing one. If that's true, then our involvement needs to be closely tied to managing how we market and communicate to existing customers.

As you can see, I feel pretty strongly that marketing needs to go beyond how it's been traditionally viewed and taken to a whole new level. Thanks for the rant and let me know how you feel about the topic...leave a comment.


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