Marketing Execution Separates Tech Consulting Firm Winners from Losers
By David Smith
Consistent marketing execution is a characteristic of successful tech consulting firms. These firms have invested in developing a strategy and translated their strategy into a marketing plan that can be effectively managed.
Strategy and planning are necessary, but they don’t get results. Execution gets results.
“The thing that keeps a business ahead of the competition is excellence in execution.” -Tom Peters
What is marketing execution?
The simple answer: “getting the work of the marketing plan done”.
Building on the simple, we need to add a purpose and the boundaries. The purpose is “that supports the marketing goals,” and the boundaries are “based on the marketing schedule and budget.” You now have a context for the efforts; a plan, schedule, and budget.
Marketing execution is getting the work of the marketing plan accomplished, based on the marketing schedule and budget.
If a strategy is measured by achieving KPIs, and management brings about critical success factors, execution is then the ability to accomplish results through consistent of habits.
Even the best of strategies and plans fail without the commitment and capacity of execution.
Execution involves many roles and dependencies, emphasizing the value of proper marketing management. Marketing execution requires creativity, and the effort of production, distribution, and implementation.
Execution is not activity for activity sake. It’s not about going through the motions and scoring points on the vanity metrics of marketing-centric measurements. It is about the dedication and discipline of delivering the efforts and products necessary to fulfill the marketing plan.
“It’s not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is, what are we busy about?” —Henry David Thoreau
These three elements can frame marketing execution for tech consulting firms:
People – having the right resources
Process – reliance on proven processes
Technology – the use of the right technology
Specialization of marketing skills has accelerated in the last decade. Social media specialist, video specialist, SEO specialist, website specialist, PPC specialist, are all readily available to apply their particular expertise. But the un-coordinated and un-synchronized application of their expertise is a calamity.
That isn’t a criticism of their skills or desire to provide them to your business, only an acknowledgment there are many skills and specialties required to make your marketing system work. A network of marketing professionals, properly managed, will help marketing execution get done.
Few people can excel in multiple marketing specialties. A person experienced in SEO may not be the person you want producing your video content.
Maybe the person that is a 9 of 10 in all these marketing skills is out there, but more likely a unicorn will be sipping coffee in your break room. Grab and hold on to either of them if you’re lucky enough to see them.
A well thought out marketing plan will involve many resources, with many skills. Having a team that represents all aspects and skills necessary is essential for success. Tech consulting firms will undoubtedly understand this concept as they face this resource deployment question with many of their engagements.
Usually, a well-functioning marketing department requires a hybrid approach of both internal and external expertise. Unfortunately, keeping a hybrid team engaged and productive is difficult – especially with gig-economy professionals.
Successfully execution will require the right processes.
Most tech consulting firms will agree that a lack of consistent execution is the primary reason for marketing failure. That’s one reason firms do not achieve results.
A poorly defined plan combined with inconsistent execution is a recipe for failure. You might as well burn those marketing dollars. At least you would have the ashes as evidence of action.
Systemization of process is the key to execution success. Repeatable processes that have the same (intended) outcomes are immensely valuable.
Repeatable process execution has these benefits:
1. The opportunity to improve. Without consistent process execution, you cannot measure and improve results.
2. The opportunity to optimize. Efficiency can only be achieved if the execution is consistent.
3. The opportunity to scale. Using defined and repeated processes allow you to engage new resource consistently with consistent results.
Execution requires an understanding of what will be done, how it will be done, and by whom. Documenting this will lead to consistency. Scripting repeated actions allow marketing teams to scale effectively. While it may seem daunting to script every action, it does provide value. If you perform the same task repeatably using the same process, you can measure and improve it. If you don’t, you can’t.
The Marketing space is full of vendors offering the latest and greatest marketing tools and automation. The marketing technology (MarTech) provider list grows every year. This MarTech Today chart illustrates the crowded field of marketing technology.
There is a good reason for the emphasis on marketing technology. Marketing management demands more evidence of success or failure (impact) and return on investment.
Where in the past the John Wanaker quote “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”, was the typical situation of most B2B firms, it isn’t the situation today. MarTech allows for ease of execution and more importantly, consistent reporting. You should no longer doubt which half of your marketing spend is getting results.
Email marketing tools report opens and clicks. Social media tools monitor reach and engagement. Integration of MarTech and CRM systems allow sales teams to analyze prospect engagement.
And productivity technologies like G Suite, Loom, and Slack are being used by disparate marketing team members to coordinate marketing intentions and actions.
The collaboration of plans and actions with documentation managed in the Google Suite (Docs, Sheet, Slides) ensure marketing team members can engage in real-time and centralize plans of action.
Realtime communication technologies like Slack, allow teams to reduce email and communicate effectively by organizing conversations and providing context. They can also ensure priorities and needed actions are expediently communicated.
With tools like Loom (a video recording technology), there is no longer the need to produce a text document that explains step-by-step instructions. It’s much easier, and better communicated, to show the actual screens and steps.
MarTech is providing the data firms need to make decisions on investment and results. Productivity tools are allowing marketing teams to coordinate and collaborate on execution in timely and effective ways.
Marketing execution is a balance of people, process, and technology focused by strategy and planned by management. Technology consulting firms with the ability to staff internal marketing teams that can achieve consistent marketing execution have a decided advantage over firms that cannot.
That’s why smaller tech consulting firms are turning to marketing consulting firms like Valens Point.
Are you looking for consistent marketing execution and positive results? Schedule a call with Valens Point’s master-leveled certified marketing consultants.
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We help technology services organizations grow by putting into action a marketing system containing the right balance of strategy, technology, process, and expertise that will get results.