A quick Google and you’ll find most Marketing degrees defined as a Bachelor of Arts (BA). Not a Bachelor of Science (BSc) as you would, say maths. However, I believe that Marketing IS a science and I’ll tell you why…
Far removed from any colouring-in department, I started my career in a sales department. As one of a team of two marketing assistants, who made up the finance sales and retention team’s whole marketing arm. I had a baptism of fire for 2 and a half years, learning the numbers behind the success. Our job was simple, get data that needed to be pulled out of the CRM and ensuring the targeting was correct and in line with the goal. Making sure that the team had enough people to call that meant they hit their sales figures.
In my first ever marketing role, 18 and straight out of school. I learned the fundamental rules of what a funnel could look like and how to work backwards to ensure success. I learned the importance of these figures and how they gave you a good starting point to ensure that you could change the broken and capitalise on the success.
For anyone that has met me since and thinks I’m obsessed with data, I’m sorry!
I continued on from that job with my marketing fire ignited. The curtain lifted on what business could be like and how pivotal a marketing function is to business success. Its ever-evolving purpose and ties to all sorts of other departments in the business.
I was hooked!
I went on to work for retail in print marketing, hospitality marketing in brand, business to business marketing. Then, I moved on to working in client engagement and finally a 360 back to working directly in sales. But, this time, sales are the product and not just the team.
A trend appeared through all these roles. No matter how clever the caption, pretty the picture or engaging the video the key to every piece of success was tracing, testing, changing and learning. You needed big picture thinking, logic and process. You needed to understand what you were being told. How this aligned with success or failure – It started to remind me of science experiments at school.
Science is a subject I took all the way to A-level and loved, art I dropped in Year 9 due to misunderstandings with the teacher, although I am sure this doesn’t affect my summation of the two here! Science was always something that made sense; it had structure, could be broken down into sections and had no definitive outcome apart from the one you could prove via test and learn.
It was simple, change one thing and see what happens.
Always the same starting point, what is your aim, what are your variables, and which are you changing for testing. Look at many marketing briefs today and there is a very similar structure in place.
I have worked with some brilliant designers who are artists in their work, copywriters who could be acclaimed authors and production teams who are incredible at what they do, and we would not have marketing success without them! But, if you don’t know what you want, how it’s going or what you need to change to make it better you could have the greatest picture in the world, it makes no difference.
Creative, sound and visual media are often what we become in awe of when we see it as consumers. The clever Netflix campaigns on billboards or client engagement pieces by Spotify. Still, the unglamorous numbers drive marketing. That’s why I think marketing is arguably a science and should be looked at as one.
We are not the colouring-in department, but some of us can draw VERY pretty pictures!
Monet McGee – Head of Marketing & Operations at Intelligent Talk
If you enjoyed this blog, you may enjoy another of our recent pieces on aligning Sales & Marketing.
Published: 18th January 2021
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! It’s also a huge productivity killer and being motivated isn’t always the top priority.
The Christmas season is a time to celebrate and enjoy yourself, but – can you do this while staying productive at work?
We’ve put together our Top 5 Tips to stay productive, without becoming a grinch!
The first thing that can do wonders for your productivity is planning. December is here so set aside a little time to note down that all-important to-do list. It’s so satisfying to cross something off your list and helps keep you on track when you can see what is still left to do.
Don’t Over Commit:
It can be tempting to take on one last project before the Christmas break, but nothing kills motivation more than an unachievable goal. Use your list from step one (check it twice!) and make sure you have enough time to add a new commitment if not, it can wait until the New Year!
The best way to keep yourself and your colleagues motivated during the festive season is to enjoy it! Arrange small ways to celebrate together – have a festive feast in the office where everyone brings their favourite Christmas snacks or if you’re working remotely, arrange a virtual Christmas party or arrange a remote Secret Santa.
Engage With Your Customers:
Christmas is the perfect time to really interact with your clients. Send out Christmas cards, check in with a pre-Christmas call or consider an interactive social media campaign: It’s the ideal chance have fun and strengthen relationships!
Wrap It Up:
We’re not talking gifts here! Knowing you’re coming back to work with a list of goals you’d like to achieve in 2021 can give you that much-needed boost to get you through to the end of the year. You know you’ll have a headstart for getting back into the swing of things!
Jingle all the way…
… to a motivated and fun end to the year! Remember to take some time off to decompress, but don’t lose sight of yours and your clients’ goals too! Think about what you want to achieve, and we’ll be right here cheering you on and bringing in the holidays with a big plate of mince pies!
Have you got any more tips for staying motivated during the festive season? We’d love to hear them – let us know in the comments!
Published: 21st December 2020
Marketing works. Sales works.
Independently these teams function, but when they work together, it can be incredibly powerful.
Think Shaggy and Scooby, Batman and Robin, Mario and Luigi, Buzz and Woody.
These all have one thing in common – they’re all fantastic duos where you can’t imagine one without the other. I mean you probably could, but they’d be nowhere near as good!
The same should go for your sales and marketing functions.
It’s not all smooth sailing:
Bringing these two teams together can be a tricky process for several reasons. It isn’t easy to measure and takes a lot of people management but, if you want success for your business – it has to be done.
The more sales and marketing work in unison, the more successes the business will see. Most companies will have separate sales and marketing teams, but to reach your customers from all angles, they must work together.
Marketing campaigns are put in place to build brand awareness and inform customers of your services – this then generates leads.
The sales team are there to convert those leads into new business opportunities by following up with the customers and giving more information.
Marketing works well on its own but where’s the sense in generating leads with no sales team to follow them up?
Sales can also generate their own leads, but this tends to be a much slower process, and why should they do it all themselves when they could be utilising the marketing leads too?
Time to make improvements:
The first thing to do is identify where you are right now:
- What are the goals of your sales and marketing teams?
- Do they have any common goals they could work on together?
- Do the teams hold regular meetings together to understand each other’s activity?
- Is there anything that needs to be addressed to streamline processes?
Once you’ve pulled all of this together, you can start to get a plan in place.
- Set common goals. If team objectives don’t align with one another, both will have issues converting leads.
- Involve both teams. 68% of marketers think their sales team don’t utilise their content correctly to generate leads. If sales were more involved with marketing processes such as creating customer personas, there would be more interest and buy-in from the sales teams. Keeping sales involved also gives your marketing team much better insight into who the customers actually are. It’s sales that interact with them the most after all!
- Keep in contact. A crucial part to aligning any business areas is communication, sales and marketing are no different. Dependant on workload and company goals these should be held weekly, monthly or at the very least quarterly. Create a setting where both teams can share what they’ve been working on, collaboration opportunities moving forward as well as key areas of success and needing improvement. Meetings are also an excellent opportunity to cover new content ideas; not everything has to come from marketing!
The really important bit:
You must be able to measure the successes of your teams. Knowing what you should be measuring is even more vital. Metrics such as marketing qualified leads or ‘MQL’s help the marketing team keep track of different steps in their process, but not a huge amount else; so they’re not giving much back in the way of reporting.
If your sales and marketing teams don’t know what they learn each month from analysing their reporting data, chances are they’re reporting on the wrong metrics.
Key areas to track improvement are:
- Lifetime customer value
- Lead generation through your website and socials
- Sales qualified leads
Keeping your marketing and sales teams informed not only of what their goals are but also how their success is being measured will ensure the alignment between to two teams will continue and bring further successes to the business.
Food for thought:
Not everything needs to be internal. There is any number of reasons why you would want to engage an external agency to support your business growth plans:
- You need your sales function to have support through team alignment changes.
- You’ve never had much success with internal sales, so you’re outsourcing completely.
- You’re launching new products and need a separate team to market it, but don’t have the resources to hire a whole new team.
Whatever the reason, Intelligent Talk has the solution.
If you think your team could do with an optimised sales stack – check out our advice here.
If you’re looking for a bit more heavy-duty support, get in touch and let’s see how we can help!
Published: 14th December 2020.
We know that marketing planning season has usually been and gone by now. However, this has been a challenging year for us all. So don’t feel bad if you’re still catching your breath and haven’t finished planning for 2021 yet.
CMI’s recent research shows that 69% of respondents expect their budget to stay the same or decrease through the end of 2020 with more cuts expected into 2021.
Challenging times can often mean challenging budgets. All is not lost, when you focus on the right things a lot can still be achieved.
As the new year fast approaches, we’re hoping that our tips for making the most out of your marketing will help you to put your best foot forward for 2021!
There are many things to consider when making sure you get your budget right. Now more than ever it’s important to get it right! So we’ve put together a top ten list to help you make every penny count:
1. Past marketing campaigns
Focusing on what worked and what didn’t is a great place to start. Of course, 2020 has been anything but a standard year so it may be best to consider 2019 & 2018 campaigns too, so you get the best picture of your successes.
2. Individual items
Items that come out of your budget will be expenses that cover direct marketing costs, social media and marketing staff/agencies. What you need to consider is all the projects that may come out of your budget that you wouldn’t necessarily think would be attributed to marketing. An internal communications project for example.
You may think it should come out of the HR budget but they’re thinking it should be from marketing, always double check so you’re not caught out!
3. Annual expenses
Check for annual expenses increases that may need to be accounted for. Have your subscription prices increased, or new team members mean new licenses for software need to be bought? Another thing to check is price increases from agencies or freelancers that you use, the amount you allocate for them may not match their new prices.
4. One-time expenses
Is it time for a rebrand? A full website overhaul? One-off projects like these only occur once within the year and need separate budget allocation to make sure they are completed to the best standard.
5. Industry trends
Does your company run trend or event specific campaigns that will require additional marketing? This could be the need to implement a campaign around an industry conference or a large-scale event like the Olympics.
6. Product or service launches
Are there any other plans that would require additional marketing efforts in planning or strategy capacity? If your company is planning on rolling out a new product or service, it will require a boost in marketing to get it launched successfully and maybe even its own branding.
7. Seasonal fluctuations
Are there times of year that income fluctuates? For instance, does the business see a drop in revenue when school starts in September? Consider a boost in marketing for July and August to off-set the drop – just remember to allocate budget for these months accordingly.
Your competitors have a huge impact on your success so you should be keeping an eye on them too. How much are they spending on marketing? Are they planning on launching a new service or campaign? Remember, their audience is likely your audience too! Without the right intelligence and response on your part, their marketing can lead to loss of market share and leave you by the wayside.
9. The tipping point
There is always a level of investment that is ideal for getting the highest ROI, on the flip side, under spending doesn’t make a whole lot of sense either. Overspending will decrease ROI, but underspending means you won’t reach enough people to make a positive difference for your company – find that balance!
If there is one thing that COVID-19 has taught us all, it’s to be flexible. This year we have seen that cultures, lifestyles, businesses and customers can be fluid. There needs to be room to adapt throughout the year so that you can adapt to any challenges or unforeseen changes.
Budgeting for the year can be scary at the best of times and trust us, we know it’s even more daunting right now.
Setting and sticking to your budget is very important, so is choosing the right partners to work with throughout the year to achieve your goals.
At Intelligent Talk, we pride ourselves on helping our partners to thrive. We serve as an extension to their internal teams and care just as much. We are respectful, honest, collaborative and always have our clients best interests at heart.
So now you’ve got an idea of how to tackle your budget plan, check out our blog here on how to cinch those deals!
Published: 7th December 2020.
We’ll make a confession. Some of us in this office are Apple people. We work on a Mac, have an iPhone, and also use Airpods. They love the modern, clean lines. Like the way all my devices integrate seamlessly. Even covet the boxes they come in. At this point, there will be some readers shaking their heads in disbelief and maybe shouting ‘no!’ at the screen, but that doesn’t make any difference to us. Some of us here are simply wedded to the Apple brand, and so are lots of other people.
It’s no surprise then that Apple has grown from a value of $42 billion ten years ago to a cool $260 billion in 2019.
Brand can be your best tool for sales growth
Brand is often separated from sales, with marketing taking charge of the look, feel and messaging. Using brand within a sales focused growth strategy is rarely on the agenda for sales teams. But we’d argue that it should be. According to Marketing Week,
“The majority of 270 B2B and B2C marketers surveyed (72%) agree that a combined sales activation and brand-building approach to marketing is the most effective at generating growth.”Marketing week
The link between brand and growth
If we define a winning brand as one that is experiencing revenue growth, then they seem to have some things in common. They are more likely to integrate brand building with sales activity. Rather than being viewed as a cost that can be easily cut, marketing is seen as an investment, with budgets that increase each year. They believe the combined sales/brand approach plays a crucial role in their success, and they take a long-term view of their growth rather than focusing on short-term wins that sales activation alone may bring. And they are more likely to focus on innovation. Sales activation has been described as the key to unlock the financial value of an organisation’s brand.
How brand sets you apart
So why do we choose Apple? For me, it feels different to all of the PC brands. The products are designed to be ultimately usable and fit for purpose. It offers a design look that others emulate but never beat. Having had to choose Windows laptops for others and found myself totally confused as to how to specify one, Apple products are easy to buy. In other words, it is different in a way that is meaningful to me. Apple – and others – have achieved this by being absolutely clear about the purpose of their brand. And all of their brand attributes, whilst undoubtedly conceived by marketing, are carried right through the sales process, whether you buy on-line or go into an Apple store.
How to incorporate this into your sales efforts
Anyone can create a brand. All you need is a well-defined purpose and a structure organised to deliver it. But that alone will do nothing to build value. It needs to be meaningful and relevant to your customers. It must address their true needs, and be priced to deliver what they perceive as value. That’s where sales comes in. The expert salesperson will take the brand and demonstrate how it solves their clients’ problems or meets their desires. They will show what great value their brand delivers.
As a final thought, it’s important to understand the power of the emotional bonds that connect customers to brands. The loyalty is created when customers believe that what you are offering genuinely relates to them. This is where the marketing messages and sales delivery combine to make the brand powerfully relevant to your audience.
Have you consciously sought to integrate brand and sales? If so, what success have you had? Let us know by commenting below.
Published: 15th July 2020.
It is October 2019, almost a year and a half into GDPRs legislation release. We have had 14,000 data breaches reported in the first year alone within the UK, and the two largest recorded fines to date being dished out to UK firms British Airways and Marriot totaling £300m in July of this year. It would appear GDPR has impacted data and marketing communication in the UK. But how much of a bearing has GDPR had on marketing and sales activities? And is it affecting B2B marketers and lead generation in the same way as B2C?
Furthermore, what happens with Brexit? If we are no longer part of the EU, do we still need to follow GDPR, which only applies in law to EU countries?