Marketing processes can not only make work more efficient and more accessible but also lead to cost reductions. But which processes make sense at which point in B2B marketing?
Marketing and advertising still have the reputation of being very spontaneous and based on instinct. Creativity needs space. Structured marketing processes are supposedly in short supply in most marketing departments. That is no longer true today. Marketing is becoming more and more strategic and data-driven. Nevertheless, there is often still potential for optimization in the marketing management process, leading to significant budget and resource savings.
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What is a Marketing Process?
How do I save marketing costs while maintaining the same quality? This is why one or two CMOs or marketing directors and managing directors probably ask themselves. The bad news: Often, savings are made in the wrong place. The good news: There is a better option: Appropriate marketing processes ensure greater efficiency – without sacrificing quality.
But let’s start at the beginning: What is meant by a marketing process? The meaning and definition often vary. In simple terms, however, the basic marketing process is developing a company’s sales markets.
That means a core marketing process describes the direction, goal, and design of the marketing. The company and the respective products and services are positioned on the sales market, made known, and ultimately, customers are won.
According to Wikipedia, the marketing theory experts do not agree on the detailed components of the traditional marketing process. However, the individual components and the goals of the various models are similar.
The classic marketing process explained: At the beginning, it is about the detailed analysis of your own company’s potential and the target market. This is followed by the determination of the goals that should be achieved through marketing. Then a strategy and the actual measures to achieve the goal are defined, and at the end, there is always control of all marketing activities.
Now all of this is very theoretical and only describes the basic structure of marketing. In your day-to-day work, however, this theory is usually of little use. Nonetheless, reflecting on the marketing process can help break down and optimize stuck structures. Because as bland as the marketing process is, it is also effective.
Especially when it comes to structuring marketing, you can use this method as a marketing management process because it describes the individual phases and areas covered in every campaign and every marketing. If you orient yourself on this, it will help to precisely define the management and the structure and tasks of your marketing. In this way, you always ensure alignment with your target market and your goals.
You can also use the marketing process to review your previous measures and campaigns and, if necessary, to identify weak points and thus save money, capacity and time.
How do you save time and money with marketing processes?
Have you recently received a mail with a PowerPoint attached that you should make “pretty”? Or did you get a text – perhaps confused or stylistically immature – from a specialist department that should be posted on the website? Suppose marketing is not recognized as a specialist department by your own company, and you do not trust the actors there to have any knowledge or communication expertise. In that case, this leads to problems that hurt the performance of marketing and the motivation of employees.
Whenever marketing work, campaigns, or even individual measures run unstructured and haphazardly, this is a potential source of error and offers a high potential for wasting time, resources. Money – there is no elaborated marketing management process. Successful, coordinated marketing processes can enable structured, uniform, and efficient work here. This applies both to individual campaigns and to marketing measures and advertising materials that are used continuously. Marketing processes save you the effort to reinvent the wheel every time and still address your customers in the best possible way using an individual marketing strategy.
Missing marketing processes in marketing campaigns – these are the mistakes:
An example: You are planning to launch a new product and want to bring it to the market using marketing measures and make it known to the target group. Individual marketing and PR measures are now being used:
- A press release prepared by the PR department
- Social media posts, both organic and paid, used by the social media manager
- Advertisements and native advertising in specialist media. The marketing department controls these
- Mailings to potential customers that are triggered by sales
- A landing page on your company website – also designed and written by marketing
These measures make sense to make a product known and reach and convince the target group. However, all of these measures must be coordinated with one another, and the entire product launch campaign must be based on a strategy and a process. Otherwise, the following will happen:
The tonality, information, and critical messages of the individual measures do not match. For example, in social media posts, the product’s low price is put in the foreground – the focus of marketing. On the other hand, the PR report focuses on the innovative strength of the new product, and the target group’s problem is thematized on the landing page. In addition, the individual core information and statements in the marketing activities do not match: While one speaks of cheap on social media, the PR manager writes in the press release of innovation and the highest quality. Both descriptions suggest different advantages to the target group and speak different needs and different buyer persona. These vehement differences in tonality mean that your entire campaign does not appear uniform; it seems as if you do not know what the USP (Unique Selling Point) of your product is.
The graphics, layout, and design of the individual activities do not match. While you work on social media with authentic images and people in action with the new product, a drawn key visual is used on the landing page, and only product images can be found in the press release and the specialist article. This does not create any recognition value because when a user clicks on your social media post and lands on the product landing page, he does not recognize any graphic red thread. In addition, your brand cannot be transported due to the variety of images and graphics. Incidentally, this hurts a campaign and your entire marketing.
It is not clear who you want to reach and convince and how. From an internal perspective, a product always has an incredible number of advantages, and there is virtually no competition on the market. Viewed neutrally, however, this is not always the case. You have to be aware that every product and service is replaceable and that your competition is also using marketing to the courted target group.
Therefore, you always have to address your potential customers’ wishes and requirements as precisely as possible. However, you can only do this if you have previously worked out a strategy that shows precisely how, where, and by what means you can achieve and convince them. If marketing measures are used “blindly” without you having given them specific thought beforehand, and these measures do not interlock, then you may be wasting resources that are of no use to you.
For example, if you place ads on Facebook but your target group does not use this social network for professional purposes, the performance of these ads will be relatively poor. Or you use a specialist medium that addresses CEOs and managing directors. However, the need for your product is only discovered by the production manager – so you spend a lot of money to reach the wrong target group.
You can avoid all of these mistakes if you develop and implement a specific campaign strategy. To be used across departments and for all marketing measures, you must also introduce marketing processes to adhere to this strategy.
How to use marketing processes in campaigns
Of course, the marketing strategy should also fit the respective higher-level process. To understand the classic marketing process as a kind of template with which you can ensure the efficiency of individual campaigns. If the campaign planning does not adapt to the process, it can quickly become chaotic, and errors can occur.
In the example above, this template can be used as follows: Instead of assigning individual tasks and ToDos to the respective tasks, a campaign manager is determined who secures the process of the campaign.
- The first step is analysis; the critical questions are as follows: What is the current starting point? How and how do we get from the current to the current state?
- The second step: The objective of the campaign results from the following questions: What do we want to achieve and what do we have to achieve so that our work is profitable and efficient and at the same time is in the best interests of the customer? It is best to define KPIs (key performance indicators, e.g., conversion rate, leads, traffic) that you can use to measure whether you have achieved your goals.
- The third step: The strategy of the campaign is developed. The framework conditions for your approach are the first two steps: The analysis of the status quo and the definition of the goals determine how you can achieve these goals.
- The fourth step: the marketing measures. To determine this as precisely as possible, answer the following questions: How and where do I reach my target group, how and with what do I convince you, and what should my communication be like to arouse interest and attention among potential customers?
- The fifth step takes place after the start and at the end of the marketing campaign: reporting. Evaluate all-important KPIs such as reach, social signals, leads, inquiries, sales, and feedback. If these KPIs show poor performance, you will have to redesign the campaign based on the marketing process.
A briefing is now drawn up for all those involved in the project based on this marketing process. So they know
- Why the campaign is being done at all
- What the common goal is
- How to proceed
- How the measures and communication work
- How the performance and the achievement of the goals are measured and which requirements have to be met
This ensures that everyone has the same goal in mind and that communication is aligned correctly.
Digitization as the key to more efficient marketing processes
A great advantage that is offered today is the numerous digitization options that marketers can fall back on. This is a plus, especially when working with other departments – maybe also other locations. You can use project management tools to distribute, control and review tasks. This makes marketing campaigns transparent for everyone involved. Project management tools also help to map and adhere to processes digitally.
In addition, the cloud enables you to work on documents simultaneously or forward and exchange files quickly and transparently. Especially in the Corona crisis and in times of home office, companies that had already mapped their marketing processes digitally and were also able to work together digitally had a decisive advantage: They were not dependent on person-to-person communication and could also work quickly home and work effectively.
Marketing automation can also be a relevant factor for standardized marketing processes. Because automated marketing – after it has been strategically and well-thought-out – usually runs without manual intervention and is ideal for carrying out the theoretical marketing process operationally.
Of course, such tools or even cloud systems are initially associated with an investment, and the cost savings only pay off in the medium term. Furthermore, such structural changes are not only in marketing but must be borne by the entire company. However, there are also quick wins with the digitization of marketing processes: there are some project management tools, such as Asana, whose basic version is free of charge. Here you can store and map campaigns, tasks, documents, templates, and processes and work with a team across departments and locations.