Without a systematic approach to manage your marketing activities, it’s far too easy to waste significant amounts of time and money by getting completely off track.

The purpose of this article is to help you get the payoff you should from your investment in marketing. We will walk through the 7 parts of a Sustainable Marketing® system that must work together to create a successful marketing program for your company.

We will cover the concepts behind getting the types of customers you want. We’ll show you how marketing can make your customers feel valued and, in turn, recommend your company to their colleagues. We’ll also discuss the importance of measuring and analyzing data so you can repeat your successes and fine-tune them to continuously improve your results.

What Is Sustainable Marketing?

Sustainable Marketing® is about creating a system of branding, promotion, and advertising that focuses on long-term results. It involves thoughtful planning, effective implementation, and continuous improvement.

Sustainable Marketing is built around 7 key areas that are critical to the long-term success of your business.
1. Strategy
2. Customer Experience
3. Content Creation
4. Lead Generation
5. Closing Sales
6. Customer Service
7. Continuous Improvement

Who is Sustainable Marketing for?

Sustainable Marketing® is for organizations that struggle with one or more of the following marketing challenges:
Standing out from the competition
Getting more qualified leads
Creating valuable content
Generating brand awareness
Increasing traffic to your website
Improving your rankings on Google
Positioning your company as experts in your industry
Using marketing automation effectively
Connecting the dots between marketing and revenue growth

Creating Your Sustainable Marketing System

Part 1: Sustainable Strategy

Your marketing strategy is created to improve your revenue and profit, and it takes a collaborative effort to make that happen. Your marketing and other department managers—sales, operations, accounting, etc.—should all be involved in developing and implementing your strategy. They should be able to describe it in detail and know what their roles are.

To ensure the success of your marketing strategy, you must be willing to require cooperation from all departments, to work towards long-term goals, and to be held accountable for how well your results are stacking up against your goals.

Consider these five key areas when creating your marketing strategy:

Your Vision
Your vision describes the big-picture view of why you are in business and how your company will contribute to the future of the world. Your vision is something you believe in and are always striving for.
Your Customers
Your marketing will be more effective if you clearly define the qualities and characteristics of your buyers. Creating customer profiles will help you understand who your customers are, how they view products such as yours, and how they buy.
Your Brand
Branding is your effort to influence or change the way people think and feel about you, your business, and your products or services. It clearly defines the essential elements of your marketing, such as what to name your company, how you differentiate yourself from competitors, and your customer service experience.
Your Visual System
A visual system defines your logo, typography, colors, layouts, and other imagery that should be used company-wide. Formalizing these decisions helps maintain brand consistency, helps build trust, and helps you produce content more effectively and efficiently.
Marketing Campaigns
Your marketing campaigns are made up of multiple tactics working together to achieve a specific time-bound goal. There should be many measurable points within a campaign so you can analyze your results and make improvements.

“Marketing strategy is a series of integrated actions leading to a sustainable competitive advantage.”

—John Sculley, former CEO of Pepsi-Cola and Apple

Part 2: Customer Experience and The Buying Process

What problems do your customers face? What matters most to them? What is the process your customers have to go through to buy your products or services?

The more you know your customers, the better you’ll be at delivering relevant messaging and the more likely they will want to do business with you. Look at the buying process from your customers point of view. Make it a good experience.

Let’s take a look at the table below illustrating the three stages of the industrial buying process, what the buyer is trying to achieve, and an example of how marketing can influence buyers to choose you when it is time to make a purchase.

Stage

Researching

Buyer’s Objectives

At this point, buyers have a lot of questions and are searching for answers. They are looking for possible solutions to their problem or for vendors that can provide the specific products/services they need.

How Marketing Helps

Blog articles that answer your customer’s questions are invaluable at this stage of the buying process. These types of articles rank well on search engines, demonstrate your expertise, and help your buyers understand how to fix their problem.

Stage

Evaluating

Buyer’s Objectives

The buyer has found different options and begins evaluating each in depth to narrow down the list to the most suitable candidates—usually three—to call, request more information, or setup a meeting.

How Marketing Helps

Case studies that provide real-world examples will show your buyers how you can help them. Other types of articles that build trust are comparisons, testimonials, and reviews.

Stage

Purchasing

Buyer’s Objectives

The buyer has made their decision and is ready to buy.

How Marketing Helps

Even though the purchasing stage is handled by sales, marketing still plays a supporting role by creating presentation materials, email communications, etc. It is important for your messaging to be consistent. What your sales person says to your buyer needs to match what they saw on your marketing collateral. If there is a disconnect the buyer will feel uneasy and may change their mind.

“78% of industrial buyers turn to suppliers’ websites during research, 70% use search engines like Google, and 53% talk to colleagues.”

—GlobalSpec, Industrial Buy Cycle Study

Part 3: Content Creation

Gaining trust and building a presence in your intended market is necessary for growth. But it’s no easy task. To accomplish this, your Sustainable Marketing® system relies heavily on your website content. Resources like ebooks, articles, and whitepapers attract people to your site and demonstrate expertise.

The best place to start when creating content for your website is to answer common buyer questions. Your sales and customer service departments are great resources for the questions your customers are asking. Create content that explains the answers in detail.

Types of helpful content you can create:
Blog Articles
How-To Videos
Ebooks
White Papers
Step-by-Step Guides
Comparison Charts
Photo Galleries
Case Studies
Testimonials
Webinars
Interactive Tools

“If you are unable to understand the cause of a problem, it is impossible to solve it.”

—Naoto Kan

Part 3: Lead Generation

You probably know that digital marketing offers many marketing and advertising benefits. While many digital tactics work well, it’s not a good strategy to replace traditional marketing tactics all together. In order to accomplish your organization’s objectives and make your marketing efforts sustainable, it is important to blend the two together.

Digital marketing campaigns can include:
Blog Articles
SEO
Calls-To-Action
Landing Pages
Lead Capture Forms
Pay-Per-Click Advertising
PR
Traditional marketing campaigns can include:
Product Samples
Direct Mail
Print Advertising
Trade Shows
Strategic Partnerships
PR
Signage
Vehicle Graphics

Create Sustainable Marketing® campaigns by combining digital and traditional tactics.

You can make your traditional marketing tactics measurable. Let’s use jobsite signs and vehicle graphics as an example. Before digital, the only way you would know if somebody saw your sign or vehicle is if they told you.

By incorporating a dedicated phone number and short URL you will know how many calls and website visits your outdoor advertising is generating. Including both options is important because some people prefer to fill out online forms while others just want to call.

“57% of B2B buyers have already made their purchase decision before ever speaking to a sales person.”

—CEB Global

Part 5: Closing Sales

An important aspect of your marketing system is supporting your sales team with forms and procedures that qualify leads, marketing automation that keeps new contacts interested, and presentation collateral that gets attention.

Tools you can use to help close sales:
Emails & Marketing Automation
Presentations
Education Materials
Pay-Per-Click Remarketing
Workshops
Trial Offers
Demonstrations
Questionnaires

Even if a potential customer is not ready to buy, it is important to keep in contact. Providing them with useful, relevant content reinforces your position as the expert and reminds them that you still care about their needs. Keeping in touch lets them know that you are there to answer all questions and concerns. When they are ready to buy, they will think of you.

“As marketers, we should be changing the mantra from always be closing to always be helping.”

—Jonathan Lister, LinkedIn Ad Sales Chief

Part 6: Customer Service

Many people don’t think about customer service as marketing, but it is one of the most important marketing activities you will do.

You may remember that 53% of industrial buyers talk to colleagues before making a purchase. You definitely want to come up in these conversations in a positive way. You’re also 60-70% more likely to make a sale to a current customer versus a new one. These are two very good reasons why it’s important to focus marketing efforts on your current clients.

Marketing tactics you can use to provide excellent customer service:
Onboarding Emails
Help Desk
Customer Training Program
Surveys
Referral Program
Customer Events
Special Offers

Consider providing valuable content to your customers through email newsletters, following up after a sale, or offering loyalty programs. Make your clients feel valued by always providing support after a sale for any and all issues. Customer service doesn’t have to be expensive or elaborate—it just needs to be genuine.

Take a handwritten thank you note included in your packaging for example. It costs nothing, takes you maybe two minutes to write and yet makes your customer feel important and truly appreciated.

Building productive and profitable relationships with customers is the key to sustainable, long-term business success. If a customer likes you and continues to like you, they will do business with you. If they don’t, they won’t.

“Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.”

—Albert Einstein

Part 7: Continuous Improvement

Setting Your Goals—The purpose of marketing is to help you grow your business. In order to determine whether it is working or not, there are a few questions you need to answer before you can measure the results.

First, start with your revenue goals, then work backwards to determine how to accomplish them.
How many sales do you need to reach your revenue goals?
How many customers do you need to make those sales?
How many qualified leads will it take to get those customers?
How many contacts does it take to get one qualified lead?
How many people do you need to reach to get one contact?

Measuring Your Results—Review and analyze your marketing campaigns. Look at your pricing strategies, KPI dashboards, metrics, and other analytical data. What can you do better in your next marketing campaign? Remember, continuous improvement is about making small, incremental adjustments instead of large overhauls.

“Measurement is the first step that leads to control and eventually to improvement. If you can’t measure something, you can’t understand it. If you can’t understand it, you can’t control it. If you can’t control it, you can’t improve it.”

—H. James Harrington

Is Sustainable Marketing Right for You?

Sustainable Marketing® is a long-term strategy that takes time—probably 6 months to a year before you will start seeing significant results. By setting up the right elements, you can ensure that the right actions are happening to improve your marketing and grow your bottom line every day.

Ask Yourself These Questions when developing your system:
What is your marketing budget?
How much time can you dedicate to marketing?
Do you have the internal resources or do you need to outsource?
Are you willing to wait for long-term results?

If you make the commitment, however, the time and effort will be well spent. Developing a marketing system that focuses on long-term strategy will give you a competitive advantage that is certain to accelerate your profit growth in the years ahead.

We can help you carry out each item that was discussed in this article. If you are interested in working together, call (970) 744-3611 or send us an email so we can talk about what that would look like.

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Warren Diggles
President and Creative Director
Warren Diggles - President/Creative Director

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