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Integrated Marketing vs “Marketing Popcorn” October 20, 2014

Posted by Mike Gospe in Integrated Marketing, Just for Campaign Managers, Leadership, Marketing Persona.
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I have a pet peeve, and it’s marketing popcorn. No, not the marketing of popcorn. “Marketing popcorn.” This is the exact opposite of truly effective integrated marketing. (more…)

Tips to energize your marketing team June 24, 2012

Posted by Mike Gospe in Just for Campaign Managers, Leadership, Marketing Operations.
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Summer is the time for reflection and assessment. As many marketers will soon be embarking on offsites and exercises to plan for the next fiscal year, I wanted to know what best practices my readers might share in how they’ve been able to accelerate their planning process and energize their team. Here are just a few of their insights. (more…)

The role of the campaign manager explained May 2, 2012

Posted by Mike Gospe in Just for Campaign Managers.
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The Role of the Campaign Manager — a new mini-guidebook for marketers

Nothing can hinder the success of an integrated marketing campaign (and your ability to claim the high ground) faster than an unseasoned campaign manager. So, what exactly is the role of the campaign manager and what is the profile of the most effective campaign managers? This guidebook answers these questions and provides helpful tips that can accelerate the campaign development process, navigate internal politics, and produce better results. (more…)

Marketing Blueprints in Action — put them on display March 5, 2012

Posted by Mike Gospe in Integrated Marketing, Just for Campaign Managers.
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Displaying their marketing blueprints in the corporate hallways have created a tighter bond between marketing and sales. “This is real enterprise marketing,” says the company’s president. (more…)

Leadership vs seniority — advice for grooming yourself or others for advancement within marketing September 14, 2011

Posted by Mike Gospe in Integrated Marketing, Just for Campaign Managers, The Marketing High Ground.
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As an executive leader, I’ve always expected and valued my “senior” staff to think beyond the boundaries of their job description. The more senior a marketer becomes, the more imperative it is that he or she be able to help unite the organization with an integrated marketing plan, to help get everyone on the same page. That means learning how to manage internal politics to align the organization (both within the marketing organization, and with sales). It also means that they have the confidence and character to ask the tough questions, like: (more…)

The role of the campaign manager: 5 key traits September 6, 2011

Posted by Mike Gospe in Just for Campaign Managers.
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A client recently asked me for some advice about hiring a seasoned “campaign manager.” Whether your organization has a formal role designed to manage integrated marketing campaigns, or you are a solo product manager trying to guide the organization, or you sit somewhere in between, these 5 traits are worthy of your aspiration. (more…)

What separates the best B2B marketers from all the rest? August 24, 2011

Posted by Mike Gospe in Integrated Marketing, Just for Campaign Managers, Marketing Operations, The Marketing High Ground.
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If you’ve been navigating the marketing groups on LinkedIn lately, you’ve probably run across this thought-provoking question: Can you use ONE WORD to describe the biggest challenge facing B2B Marketing today? Answers vary wildly from “time”, to “noise”, to “myopia”.  All good answers. But I have a different take on this question. Instead, I wonder if there is one word that can be used to separate the best B2B marketers from all the rest.  As a consultant to high-tech marketing leaders, I spent the last 10 years working with B2B marketing teams looking for clues, and I think I found the answer. (more…)

A new sales book that B2B marketers should read June 30, 2011

Posted by Mike Gospe in Just for Campaign Managers, Marketing Operations, The Marketing High Ground.
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I loved Kevin Davis’ new book, Slow Down, Sell Faster! The key here is simple: who ever understands the customer best, wins! Davis embraces this notion by pushing sales reps to really understand the customer, their pain points, goals, interests, priorities, and their buying process before making the sales pitch. (more…)

What does it take for a marketer to earn, then command, a seat at the leadership table? February 15, 2011

Posted by Mike Gospe in Integrated Marketing, Just for Campaign Managers, Marketing Operations.
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This is a good question that challenges many marketers. Traditionally, certainly in Silicon Valley, companies are founded by technologists. When executive staff members are added, engineering, operations and sales leaders are often added long before a marketer. And who can argue success when a company’s products continue to sell without the aid of a marketing leader?

The irony with this approach is that its success is likely to be short-lived. According to Brian Gentile, a well-known marketing leader and CEO of Jaspersoft,

Eventually this model, driven by the engineers and salesmen whose roles were never designed to understand and target complete markets, always runs out of steam.

The answer is not to suggest that a marketer should overstep or replace the leadership of engineering or sales. Far from it. Instead, the real long-lasting value a marketer can bring is to rise to the role of leading the executive team, and by extension the rest of the organization, to the high ground. No other function is properly suited to do so.

The marketing high ground represents a special place where you know the market so well, so deeply, that you become acknowledged and valued, internally, as the customers’ advocate. With this knowledge comes confidence in gathering and interpreting market data so that the best product, service, and go-to-market decisions can always be made.

Consider life at a company where no one owns the high ground. What does this look like?

  • Unaligned marketing and sales departments which lack clear goals and objectives
  • Engineering and product management teams working in silos, focused on isolated features
  • Frustrated marketers who write, then rewrite, then rewrite again messages, never able to get them right
  • Poorly executed marketing campaigns that don’t produce the right quality inquiries and leads
  • A set of individuals who don’t behave as a team, where decisions are made based on “whoever yells the loudest”

This is hardly efficient or effective.

On the other hand, when the marketing leader steps up to take ownership for becoming the customers’ advocate and sharing market perspectives internally, a whole different type of discussion takes place internally.  No longer are debates driven by random opinions; they are founded on customer use cases, market data, and customer feedback.

The high ground is not something owned exclusively by the marketing department. Every market-driven company gains its advantage from an incredibly aligned workforce. A workforce that clearly understands the organization’s vision, its core benefits and value ascribed to it by customers, and the distinct competitive advantages. This is what it means to own the marketing high ground.

This is what it takes to earn, then command, a seat at the leadership table.

This topic is the focus of The Marketing High Ground, a marketers’ playbook that acts as a tactical guide to the marketing high ground.  The book includes action-oriented best-practices templates, techniques, and examples.

Additional blog posts will explore these best practices in more detail in the coming weeks.

Communications Objectives and the Buying and Sales Processes September 14, 2010

Posted by Mike Gospe in Integrated Marketing, Just for Campaign Managers, Lead Gen, Marketing Operations.
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How does our marketing communications objectives fit against the customer’s buying process or our selling process?  This is a weighty question that can be tough to decipher.  Here’s a handy overview with respect the selling into the B2B technology market.

An overlay of communications objectives to the corresponding stages of the customer's buying process and a company's sales process. Although generic, this graphic provides some relevant context for marketers selling to B2B.

I titled this graphic “Mapping Customer Perception” because that is our goal, ultimately.  Marketers strive to influence how prospective customers think.  To do that, we need to understand how and when to guide them.  First, they must be aware of who we are and the solutions we offer.  Then we want to hook them and engage them as they become interested.  Next, we need to build understanding and become a credible source of information.  And, finally, we want to entice them to take action and purchase our products and services.

In an ideal world those communications objectives would map directly to the B2B Technology Customer Buying Process.  For example, the best time to hit the prospect is early in their buying process, when they are doing an operational analysis or building their budget during the investment planning phase.  Once we’ve got their attention, we want to provide relevant content throughout the purchasing cycle.  If we can guide the outline of the RFP we stand a better chance of winning the deal.

Next, let’s overlay both those processes with the ideal  B2B selling process.  It’s no coincidence that the sales process is a reciprocal of the buying process: the sales rep wants to identify and qualify opportunities as early as possible.  They want to work with the prospect as they are establishing their needs in order to determine if there is a potential fit.  Reaching the “go, no-go” decision point prior to generating a proposal is preferred so that time isn’t wasted.   Sales will negotiate with prospects as they are selecting and making a final purchase decision.  The sales process doesn’t end there.  While the solution is being implemented, the able-minded sales rep will be following-up and conducting account management duties, all the while looking for opportunities to engage the next sales cycle.

If life were simple, these three processes would overlay nicely.  But life is like a Rubik’s Cube.  Each of these processes are not static, and they don’t always start at the same point in time.  That is why marketing is an ongoing processes, constantly creating awareness and offering opportunities for the prospect to raise their hand and engage us on their terms.  When they are ready.

Have ideas on how to make this graphic better? Let me know.  I welcome your input and feedback.