Small.Business.Marketing

New marketing demystified for Indian SMEs

Archive for the tag “leads”

Trends for the online advertising market

Reality Sinks In at Online Advertising Confab – Advertising Age – Digital

I wanted to draw your attention to this very important, if depressing message coming out of (predominantly) US. Online advertising is not as immune to recession as previously thought. There are firms fighting for survival as budgets get squeezed and the whole display advertising business is coming under question.
Basically, there are two reasons to advertise: 
- the short term goal is to generate enough sales leads for the sales force to chase 
- the long term goal of building your brand
As their clients fight for survival, the ad agencies are under pressure to deliver short term leads. However, quality is bound to suffer in this short term focus. I expect more creative, if loose, definitions of what a lead is. And, that will be sad, because that is just postponing the problem by a quarter. This current market is unlikely to get better in a few months and dud leads will be shown up for what they are. 
IMHO, the online advertising model(before the advent of Web 2.0) has basically been largely about putting the alphabet ‘e’ before the corresponding traditional media version. So, we have banner ads (e-advertising),  e-direct mailers and e-newsletters and webinars (e-seminars). In many cases, we have been seduced by the efficiency of delivering content but we have not been as worried about the effectiveness of the message as it is delivered.
What does this mean for Indian marketers? I firmly believe that the only way for small businesses to make an entry today in the market is rely more on the internet to drive product adoption. Given that online media is still vastly under-represented in the marcom mix of most Indian companies, big or small, I think the market will still grow, albeit slowly. Here we are still on the efficiency curve. Also, there is an election coming and Obama has inspired all our political parties to explore the internet as a means to connect with the population. Given these factors, I still think the online advertising market in India will grow, even if the growth rate is nowhere as much as was forecast even a few months back.

Why marketing must partner sales

I have had the good (!) fortune of being on both sides of the great sales and marketing divide in B2B S&M organizations. When in marketing, the lament was how all efforts go to waste because sales “does not follow through and close the leads we generated” and in my stints in sales, I was convinced that “marketing is clueless”- about the market, about customers and their needs. Their leads were of no use to me. It was as if our goals and priorities were different.
The truth is that in large B2B companies, local marketing in countries are focused on the heavy-lifting; running trade-shows, sending out mailers, placing ads. The accent is on getting things done rather than genuinely trying to listen to customers and integrate their feedback into the product or service introduction process.
So, marketing runs programs with no feedback loops. Any customer response, howsoever “raw” is passed on to sales as a “lead”. There is no way of telling a good lead from a bad one and since “lead-nurturing” as a concept does not exist; sales essentially starts working with a prospect who is at the very early stage of awareness.
What is the solution? Marketing and sales need to work together on an acceptable definition of a lead. This will vary from industry to industry and company to company but the agreement needs to happen so that marketing can work to create programs that nurture the raw leads further and pass on leads that interest the sales. On their part, sales could do more to spot the micro-trends in their industries, the customer pain-points and decision making roles in client organizations and log them formally. This will help marketing to create programs that address the right customer problems, identify the right solutions and target the right communication to the right customer contacts involved in purchase.

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