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I’ve spent the better part of the last few years telling any small to midsize business owner that would listen that marketing isn’t really that complicated.

What’s complicated and frustrating about marketing perhaps is how small business owners and those that work in the field of marketing approach it.

Marketing is just a process and, operated as such, it’s no different from the other processes needed to run a business. A process creates control, a process guides priorities, a process generates accountability and a way to measure and win the game.

I developed my own view of “marketing as a process” after discovering that working with small to midsize business owners with no process or methodology leaves me with no way to apply it over and over again. Secondly, business owners are frustrated because there’s no strategic way to buy marketing services from people pitching all the tactics of the week.

I had a healthcare business consultant approach me recently and tell me about trying to help several of her clients develop and install a marketing process. Because she noticed doctors spent most of their life in practicing medicine and that often meant a lack of business or marketing skills.

And that’s precisely the work I’ve been engaged in for the last few years – putting an end to marketing frustration – helping business owners take a process approach to marketing.

I’ve built a marketing process that provides real results for small to midsize business owners through the Indispensable Marketing Process.

Below is a very brief description of the elements of a marketing process

1) Goals before strategy, Strategy over tactics – specifically define goals and create a narrowly defined strategy first

This is without a doubt the most crucial step. Goals must come before strategy andstrategy must overshadow any tacticsUntil you can specifically define the results you want to achieve, or the primary reason you’re marketing that supports your overall business goals and until you can narrowly define your ideal client and uncover or create some way your business is both unique and different you’ll compete on price and struggle to build any sense of momentum. 

2) Build your I.E.S. Marketing Touchpoints – A marketing focused business model

The next step involves what I call The I.E.S. Marketing Touchpoints. This simple process asks you to view your business and discover how you will move your ideal prospects down the path of informing, educating and selling. The holy-grail of this thinking is that it puts the focus on the end – a raving customer, willing to buy more and tell others. Get that part right and you’ll never need to worry about lead generation in the same way again. 

3) Publishing educational content – Your content is the new branding (know, like and trust)

Almost every element of the Marketing Touchpoints relies on some form of intentional educational content to operate properly. In this step business ownerscreate their content plan with some very specific objectives in mind. More content is not the answer. The right content, delivered to the right person, at the right time is the answer. 

4) Build a obvious choice online and offline presence – Integration is the key to success

Integration is what makes social media work. It’s what makes email marketing work and it’s what drives effective advertising. Until you view your online and offline presence as one integrated whole you’ll continue to fall prey to the tactic of the week. Any decision on what to do on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook comes with content, SEO, email and advertising implications as well. View it that way and you’ll never wonder about ROI again. 

5) Build a lead generation process – Lead momentum comes from multiple streams of lead generation

Lead generation is a game of trust, context and repetition. Networking, advertising, public relations and referrals built around an effective marketing strategy is the secret to creating the right awareness with the right prospects. 

6) Lead conversion is a process – Lead conversion as a repeatable process and customer experience

The thing about an effective marketing process, such as the one described above, is that it eliminates the need to sell – at least in the traditional sense of the word. When you educate, build trust and create engagement all that’s left to do is show prospects how they can get the result you’ve shown them. For more on this:Download your free 7 Steps eBook here.

7) Live, breath, and sleep by the calendar – You’re never done, simply operate the process over and over again

Once you build the various elements of your marketing process you must map it out on a calendar, test, analyze, tweak and improve it continuously. For some, simply carving out the time to create new processes and putting in the effort to develop new marketing behaviors must become a habit before any progress can be made. It’s a long-term game, you’re never done, just deal with it every day.