Tech Consulting Firms Should Concentrate Their 2020 Marketing Planning In These 5 Areas
By David Smith
As 2020 fast approaches, tech consulting firms need to begin their concentration on 2020 marketing plans. Yes, I realize it’s only the beginning of Q4 – but trust me, the quarter will fly by quickly and you don’t want to begin your planning in January. If you do, you’re creating an issue that will be felt throughout the remainder of the year as you attempt to “catch up” to the immediate need for marketing results. Determining your marketing strategy, plan, calendar, and budget now will give you the greatest chance to achieve the marketing results you want in the new year.
This article will give you 5 areas that deserve attention now and form the basis of what your 2020 marketing strategy and execution will include.
Measure 2019 Marketing Campaigns Effectiveness
You should begin your planning effort with an analysis of what went right in 2019. What marketing campaigns yielding the best results? Where did your new customers first hear about your firm? What helped convert prospects to paying customers?
These are the real metrics of marketing and should be the focus of your investments in 2020.
If you can identify successful lead generation activity, for example, event or conference follow-up, concentrate on how to improve your results. Build marketing assets that accelerate the results in these areas as this is undoubtedly low hanging fruit.
What if you don’t have campaigns to improve?
Examine your new lead and customer sources and determine your best investment strategy. If word of mouth (referrals) is generating most of your leads, seek to improve your generation and conversion.
The best practice is to double-down on what is working to optimize success.
Update your marketing strategy
Your marketing strategy should not become a one-and-done planning exercise. You’ll want to revisit your marketing strategy and make the necessary adjustments. There are five elements of your strategy that should be analyzed in your planning.
Has the definition of your ideal customer changed? What have you learned during 2019 that will help you define a clearer picture of your ideal customer?
Have you narrowed or concentrated your firms’ solutions in 2019? Is your marketing message accurate? If not, how can you update your message (statement of value, value proposition, or unique selling position) to reflect your current message and communicate your expertise and difference effectively?
Have you removed the friction of contacts or visitors progressing on the buyer’s journey? What can you do to create simple and clear experiences with your website, sales process, and customer onboarding? This an excellent opportunity to put yourself in your customer’s shoes and consider the best outcome from their experiences.
Does your brand need an update? Are your brand elements (icons, logos, colors, and fonts) documented and communicated to those will need to use them? Are brand elements correctly and consistently used? If not, you may need to update your brand and brand guide.
Most tech consulting firms concentrate their content efforts on awareness (top of the funnel) content and limit their content type to only articles. Your content needs to be relevant to the buyer’s journey, which goes well beyond awareness. Additionally, your ideal customer may have a content type and consumption preferences that influence your 2020 content strategy. Audio, video, visual, and text content types should also be considered.
Identify 2020 Marketing Campaigns
Your campaign planning should include dates for execution, the goals you’ll measure, and the assets you’ll need. Assets include landing pages, email marketing content, and articles, videos, and other valuable content.
Your 2020 marketing campaigns should be focused on four (4) areas.
Nurturing campaigns for existing and new contacts
These campaigns engage your contacts with educational and informative content. Your goal is to build trust and help them progress their relationship with your firm. Demonstrate your expertise with authority building content like studies, surveys, and tools your audience will use.
Lead generation campaigns
These campaigns help contacts progress into prospects for your services. The goal is to have the audience engage with your firm. A compelling call to action here is a consultation (phone call). Webinars are an excellent method for lead generation. They require the investment of time from your audience, which usually indicates a heightened interest.
Customer value achievement
These campaigns focus on helping your customer achieve value from the solutions your firm provides. Value achievement might be updated training or the explanation of new solution features. The goal of this type of campaign is to create additional opportunities with past or existing customers.
Referral encouragement campaigns
As the name suggests, the goal of these campaigns is to garner referrals. Staying in touch with past customers and updating them on your recent project successes is an excellent method of generating referrals. Be specific about what you would like for them to do (refer you) and you’ll likely be surprised at by the result.
Build or improve your marketing foundation
A strong marketing system foundation is essential. Without a strong foundation, other areas of your marketing will fail. Here are the elements of your marketing foundation that you should analyze and improve in 2020.
Website – concentrate on user experience, relevant content, calls to action
Email marketing fundamentals – used segmentation, indoctrination workflow, content interest to drive relevant email
Consistent social media effort – focus on consistent messaging, posting consistency, and increasing engagement
Content – improve your research, topics, and content production process
Brand – ensure you have a recognizable and cohesive brand identity
Search engine optimization (SEO) – measure and improve your ranking for the most relevant search terms and phrases
Create your 2020 plan, calendar and budget
Marketing management is an underrated aspect of marketing success. Your marketing management will translate your marketing strategy and goals into plans, activity, dates, budgets, and measures.
The plans and activities reflect the work to be done on your marketing foundation and the plans for 2020 campaigns. Once plans are known, schedules and budgets can be produced.
Your marketing calendar should include all scheduled events for you and your target market. For example, if you are attending an annual vendor conference, you’ll want to certainly indicate those dates in your calendar. But you should also include in your marketing calendar the prerequisites such as speaking requests and submissions, exhibitor registration, bookings, and any campaigns that you will want to execute before the event.
Your budget needs to identify relevant categories for marketing management and resources, execution, events, travel, content, promotion, and any advertisement.
Get to Planning!
These five focus areas will give you a great start for your 2020 marketing plan, and if you commit yourself, you’ll be finished and begin your execution before the turn of the New Year.
There is added value in doing this now. “Plans are worthless, but planning is indispensable” is a quote attributed to President Eisenhower. By proactively and methodically working on your marketing plans, you’ll discover interesting (past issues and performance) and important (future success) aspects of your business you may not have allowed to surface or mature.
That’s where the good stuff is found.
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