Engines refer to a repeatable customer acquisition/nurturing process that is efficient and measurable. Creation of an engine always depends upon specific objectives and current setup. Engines can be either program- or project-based. Start with a concept and validate through to execution/assessment. An easy path is to augment your existing in-house marketing capabilities to execute individual tactical components.
Target Specific Audiences
Every industry uses technology, but a pharmaceutical manufacturer might read about it in different publications, buy it from a different source, and use it in different ways than an bank. Until you identify which industries are the right targets for your “product”, you won’t be able to tell which companies to market to. Creating or tapping a community is a very specific activity that requires clarity of message. Within these industry communities are sub groups that require targeting as well. Who is the person that signs the check? Who needs to support your efforts internally or you’ll get ignored? Identification to the circle of influence around your buyer is just as important as situational fluency.
A good example to consider is the Manufacturing Industry. Manufacturing is a broad waterfront and too general for any generic message to have significant impact. However, a message directed at a Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Plant IT Manager will have a much more meaning. Assuming there are 3,700 Plants, there are approximately 586 early adopters your message will appeal to and even less (83) you should focus on. By focusing on the “key” individuals as early recommenders of technology you are allowed access to and rapid adoption by the mainstream. These influencing individuals are your targeted references so it makes sense to get the message right (not to mention its cheaper to go after them).
Identify the Business Problem or Heinous Consequence
Talk about issues that the community can appreciate. Most people have no time to figure out a use for your “product”. Instead of targeting generic issues, technology companies must do their TMI (Target Market Initiative) homework and promote a product which addresses the heinous consequences that really impact an organization and keep them awake at night. Some could be; customer satisfaction – poor call center response times, immediate revenue impact – lost transactions due to poor process, future revenue impact – lost batches due to lack of trace-ability …these messages are quantifiable and directly impact the business & jobs.
Highlight the Specific Business Value Delivered
Place the value of the “product” right in front of them. The goal is not to overwhelm them with detailed descriptions, technical specifications, features and benefit statements, but to discuss ways your “product” impact the business. Talk about real quantifiable ways you can increases customer satisfaction, drive new revenue, or increase inventory turns.
Use Real References
Before you hit the mainstream buyers most early adopters reference their own community. No organization is going to purchase products solely on the word of the vendor. Forrester Research states that the number one influence of technology purchases is recommendations of peer buyers. If you have to “buy” a reference by putting it in the quote or negotiating the deal way in advance – Do It.
Close the Loop
Leads are rented…by this we mean #1 you’ve only got a short window to act. #2 If you won’t work them someone else will. To this end there needs to be accurate and agreed to lead definition and tracking. Questions like: Is there an opportunity? Did they enter the Sales Funnel Process? Why / Why not? What other data-points did you need or would you like to have known? There are many versions of CRM tools out there that when used properly can assist in closing the loop but will not provide them in an of themselves. All tools need to be integrated.
Talk to them
The best marketing comes from the right mix of innovative strategic thinking, creative campaign design and data driven decision-making. Customer and prospect understanding is the key. Acquire the right audience; convert them into an avid user base and hang on to them as a community engaging them with the right message at all levels consistently. To do all of the above you need to be focused, relentless, and goal oriented. Happy to go into specific detail regarding strategies and tactics used I’ve used – Just reach out.