Campaign Checklist: Getting the most out of your LinkedIn campaigns

Whether you’re new to marketing or an experienced marketeer, you need to be considering LinkedIn campaigns as a powerful tool to connect with your target audience.

We’ve created this Campaign Checklist to help you get the most out of your LinkedIn campaigns.

It covers everything from:

  • Account set up
  • Campaign set up
  • Audience
  • Bid and Budget
  • Creative
  • After the campaign launches

Learn more and read the full checklist below.

If you’d like to talk more about developing your marketing strategy and developing your brand’s authenticity, get in touch today on 01392 796 702.

It’s time to humanise your marketing approach: why the H2H marketing trend is the key to better customer relationships

In the age of AI, machine learning, big data, and sophisticated automation, human-to-human marketing, or H2H, has emerged as an antidote. Recent times have been trying, to say the least, so where this new model succeeds where others previously failed is the primary focus is on nurturing human relationships and building trust.

H2H differs from B2C and B2B marketing methods. Rather than assessing audiences on data sets, it looks past these segments and focuses on building authentic connections with the people within them; after all, businesses comprise groups of real people.

Why does this matter, and aren’t most of us already doing it?

Well, yes and no, true authenticity comes from real conversations and honest relationships. So, while the individuals in a business might be strong advocates for rapport building, the brand they represent could be anything but, which isn’t exactly seamless in terms of a customer experience. Smart businesses put their people front and centre and speak to their customers with warmth, opening up an honest dialogue about their needs.

The pandemic has been something of an accelerator for H2H

You may have noticed an increase in H2H marketing on LinkedIn, we’ve certainly noticed a growing openness from brands, with many more businesses being honest about the challenges presented by lockdown and remote working, and of course, a welcome, wider conversation around mental health and employee wellbeing.

Brands that actively demonstrated their human-side during the pandemic hit the right note with customers. Pret a Manger offering NHS staff a free hot drink and 50% off other products, addressed what was going on in the world and inspired a sense of togetherness beyond a normal customer transaction. A Kantar survey of more than 35,000 consumers during the crisis revealed that 78% of consumers believed brands should help them in their daily lives, and 75% said brands should inform people of what they’re doing to help. This shows a growing expectation from brands to demonstrate their values and play their part in a compassionate and human way.

It’s also interesting two-thirds (64 percent) of consumers worldwide said that they would buy from a brand or boycott based solely on its position on a social or political issue. That’s not to say you should become an activist for issues you’re not passionate about; it’s simply demonstrating the power of alignment of beliefs and values.

Learn from the disruptors

Disruptor brands have always known the value of authenticity in marketing; speak to your customers like friends, encourage them to participate in your world and become invested in theirs. This is why some brands have enviable memorability, think Dove‘s long-running ‘Real Beauty’ campaign, it was designed for the people who actually buy the product and was based on creating a unique and relatable experience; changing the way beauty products were marked long before the Instagram and influencer marketing boom.

What do businesses need to do to embrace H2H?

Corporates need to think about the future and move from customer-centricity to human centricity not to miss the opportunity. It all starts with a conversation, so it’s important to encourage your organisation’s thought leaders to stick their head above the parapet and join the conversations that matter to your customers. If you’re not already doing it, think about how your culture and brand align. If you’re a fun and caring business behind a corporate façade, it’s time to step forward and change your image. Your customers will thank you for it.

If you’d like to talk more about developing your marketing strategy and developing your brand’s authenticity, get in touch today on 01392 796 702.

Need vs Nurture: the critical role Demand Generation has to play

Need vs Nuture

Imagine a perfect sales cycle where you could design a sales strategy furnished with known entities and completely transparent customer behaviour patterns. For example, suppose every last one of your many loyal customers made a healthy, guaranteed minimum annual spend with you every March. In that case, you could happily run your business at a predictable profit as a result. You could readily update your audience with new product information, solidifying their trust and loyalty. But even in this seemingly blissful scenario, what happens when you want to scale your business? You’ve already tapped into your organic audience; how do you then grow beyond that loyal base? There will be people who need your product who are happily buying from a competitor. There will be others who might be the perfect client, they have a clear need for what you provide, but they are new to the market and need education and convincing on even investing in the first place. 

So even in a comfortingly predictable scenario, there are limitations. The reality, of course, is starkly different but the point remains the same. Your future client base comprises prospects at various points in their journey with varying awareness levels of your products and services. Equally, your lead sources will vary from those who googled you with a specific need and proactively contacted you on your website, to others who you actively targeted as part of a campaign and followed up with a call or an email. You have no idea who will account for more of your revenue in three years. 

A successful Demand Generation strategy encompasses the whole journey from serving those with a need for your services to closing customers who are convinced and ready to buy. 

Prospects who find you: 

Even people who actively seek out what you provide need to a clear rationale to buy from you. That means your content and digital strategy needs to deliver a premium user experience, engage and educate your audience and convince them to request more information. Even at this stage, if your audience doesn’t feel like you are invested in their challenges and can’t see any direct benefit from browsing your website, then you are likely missing out on conversions. 68% of B2B customers prefer to research independently online but 90% of those searching haven’t made their minds up about a brand before starting their searchThis gives rise to a valuable opportunity, gather insights and serve the content your audience wants to see, show them why they should buy from you. 

Prospects with a defined need for your services: 

Perhaps they’re not ready to buy just yet and need to be nurtured. You need to earn trust and build confidence in your services and approach and vitally, stay in regular contact with valuable content. Marketing automation platforms like HubSpot are hugely beneficial in managing this process, giving you a clear view of your prospect database and the level of engagement within prospect accounts. Research shows that 79% of marketing leads never convert into sales and lack of proper lead nurturing techniques could be to blame. 

Prospects who are happy with their current service with another provider: 

Research shows that 35-50% of sales go to the provider that responds first, which is a compelling statistic for two reasons: firstly, it demonstrates just how responsive you need to be to win out over the competition. Secondly, it highlights that perhaps your competitor was merely responsive and you could offer a more personal service, far better product/service features or you’re culturally more aligned. There’s only one way to find out, actively target and nurture prospects consistently. If they’re happy with their current provision, respond with engaging and timely content that shows you understand their challenges and their industry. This way, when their contract is up for renewal, or you check-in with a call, they’ll have far greater brand recognition, which is the perfect platform for building rapport. 

If you would like more insight and guidance on putting together a demand generation strategy that actively nurtures prospects through your funnel, get in touch today on 01392 796 702. 

Looking for marketing inspiration during lockdown? Here’s our pick of the best resources to give you a fresh perspective in 2021

We’re all familiar with the hallmarks of lockdown life, it’s our third time around after all! And we also know, from our recent experience, that it’s tough to keep the momentum going and motivations high when the next day resembles the last. So where do you look for marketing inspiration at times like these? We’re not saying your daily walk or view from your kitchen window can’t be the source of great ideas, and nobody can argue with the merits of Tik Tok or your Instagram feed for some much-needed entertainment. But where can you find quality B2B content that really hits the mark?

We’ve curated this short guide to give you our pick of the best, just to get you started.

Free training and courses

Don’t be put off by the gratis nature of these valuable courses:

Google Digital Garage is helping people of all skill levels brush up on their digital marketing skills, absolutely free of charge. There’s 40 hours of learning available with accredited courses covering everything from online advertising to understanding your customers’ online behaviours, and helping you build your online presence. There’s content for everyone from total newbies, to seasoned marketing pros – it’sdefinitely worth a lunch hour browsing session.

For the sheer breadth of courses available, you cannot beat HubSpot Academy for both content and topic coverage. Their courses can help you build a winning social strategy, hone your content marketing skills and empower with the knowledge to execute your plan. Even if you’re not using their platform.

Global leader in the digital learning community, Udemy, have some gems available in their library of free content, courses that cover everything from entry-level programming to how to improve your day to day learning and creativity, there’s also some great personal development courses on creative leadership and agile thinking, if you want to shake up your approach to the day-to-day tasks.

The best of the rest

LinkedIn Learning and Facebook Blueprint have easy to consume, free content that can help you become a social media pro. So, if you’re looking to do more paid-for advertising, or simply want to extend your influence on their platforms, there’s plenty of resources to get you up and running.

Easy listening – marketing podcasts that will inform and inspire

Marketing over Coffee is a weekly podcast that covers the full marketing mix and even some throwbacks to classic campaigns, whether you’re interested in email marketing insights or you’re looking for copywriting tips, this podcast covers it all, including the latest thinking from academics. It’s also more interactive than the standard podcast as the hosts field listener questions and really get into topics.

Marketing Week (MW)an established and trusted voice in the marketing industry, MW’s podcast is exactly what you’d expect, engaging thought leadership from key marketing influencers. It’s a great way to keep up-to-date with the latest news and thinking, including insights from businesses on how they’ve pivoted their marketing strategies in the pandemic.

Salesforce: The Marketing Cloudcast – this weekly marketing and tech podcast delves into Account-Based Marketing and how to futureproof your team to create authentic customer ‘moments’ and experiences.

Not Another Marketing Podcast – a marketing and small business podcast that features big industry topics and interviews with leading digital marketing experts, this podcast is packed with practical advice on how to tackle marketing challenges as specific as ‘How to do personal branding on LinkedIn without shouting’, in an entertaining and candid style.

Resources and tools

The Chartered Institute of Marketing content hub is home to a wealth of articles, podcasts and webinars that challenge the boundaries of marketing ideologies and spark new ways of thinking, there’s plenty of macro thinking as well as quick reads that are useful for marketers in any industry.

HubSpot is a powerful marketing and sales automation tool, it’s also a CRM and can even be your CMS and social scheduler. If you’re looking for free marketing software that has everything you need to start managing your customer experience and building content all under one roof, it’s a great choice that grows symbiotically with your marketing plans. If you’re new to the world of marketing software, HubSpot’s knowledge base provides accessible guides for all common FAQs and some niche ones too.

Hotjar – if you’re looking for ways to improve your website user experience, or you’d like to see some more meaningful analytics on your visitors’ behaviour, Hotjar can offer some clues. You can view heat maps and recordings of sessions to give you a clear view of why users might not be engaging with your content.

This list is just a fraction of the great resources out there. If you’d like to talk more about how we can help you leverage these tools (and others) for success, or work with you to find inspiration for your marketing plans in 2021, get in touch today on 01392 796 702.

Unlocking the power of Account Based Marketing (ABM). Could it be right for your business?

Awareness around Account Based Marketing (ABM) has boomed in recent years, but it’s been around since the early 2000s. For resultsdriven marketers, ABM is a dream opportunity to drive enviable ROI, with research showing it easily outstrips other approaches: 97% of marketers surveyed agreed ABM had higher ROI than other marketing activities. 

That’s greatbut what is it? 

Account Based Marketing is a strategic marketing approach whersales and marketing work closely together to target potential high growth and key accounts, either customer or prospect, with tailored messaging focused on their specific challenges. ABM campaigns include targeting individual decision makers within the selected accounts with messaging relevant to their operational challenges. 

With demand generation, the focus is on creating awareness to a larger market and then moving those interested parties through a marketing funnel until they’re ready to make a decisionWhereas ABM efforts focus on a smaller number of key target accounts and operate on the basis of winning high value opportunities, making the initial intensive efforts and investment worthwhile.

(Image: B2BMarketing.net)

There are many clear benefits to developing an ABM programme, including: 

Gives you more focus

Rather than a broad-brush approach, ABM encourages you to focus on those who really need and want your product or serviceBy tailoring the message directly to key decision makers, you’re effectively bypassing the usual awareness building approach and the reward is far greater. 

A higher hit-rate

This is a real opportunity to use highly personalised creative and messaging that cuts through the noise and directly responds to a specific company or department challenge, rather than a broader industry one. This direct response is engaging and rapidly builds trust and rapport, opening the door for a meaningful conversation, and as we’ve already mentioned yields far stronger ROI. 

True collaboration between sales and marketing

ABM requires sales and marketing to work together as a team, using all resources in a focused and efficient way. This means sales teams feel far more supported in their efforts and marketers feel much more engaged with the sales followup process. 

Getting started with ABM 

Now we’re not saying chuck out the marketing mix and put all your eggs in the ABM basket. For some business models, it’s not the right approach (we’ll touch on this later).  But if you’d like to give it a try there are some straightforward ways to get started. 

It’s vital that you set out what you hope to achieve from ABM at the outset of your campaign. Your goals may grow and change over time, but you do need to be clear on what would be a successful resultRemember to be realistic with your goals too, ABM is often a long-term strategy, so don’t expect to see results immediately. 

Do you have the team to execute in-house? It’s vital that you commit the time and the resources to an ABM campaign, if you can’t afford to do this in-house, would you consider outsourcing? 

Run a workshop between marketing and sales where you work out which clients or prospects would be prime for an ABM approach. Decide here if you wish to spread the risk and opt for a one-to-many approach, rather than a one-to-one. 

Now you need to choose your delivery model and start shaping your campaign. Measurement is vital so make sure you have the tools to track your efforts in place. If you’re using a marketing automation tool, ensure your contact data is up to snuff and you’ve mapped your accounts properly. Getting your house in order is crucial before embarking on a detailed and coordinated campaign. 

When ABM might not be right 

While ABM is a tried and tested marketing approach, there are circumstances when it might not be right for you: 

  • You don’t have a clearly defined audience and cannot easily isolate highvalue potential customers – without this knowledge, it’s difficult to get your ABM programme off the ground. 
  • You don’t have the insight to map accounts and create tailored messaging – which is essential for ABM success. 
  • Your sales are largely online rather than led by the sales team – so the sales enablement aspects of your campaign and tailored messaging wouldn’t add value. 
  • Your deal sizes are smaller, and you’d rather sell volume – ABM works on the idea of going deep with select accounts, if your business model is lower transactional value, high volume sales, there are better ways to market your offer (we can help you with those methods too). 

Using ABM to break into new markets 

We are currently working with a French technology company seeking to break into the UK, Nordic and Canadian markets. Our client can define their target market as large businesses processing big data, so it makes sense to target the C-Suite of large household brands. To capture the attention of their desired decision maker, they need to stand out, differentiate themselves effectively and offer maximum value. Their product and their buyer are perfect for an ABM campaign. 

We are validating our client’s target market data, undertaking additional research to build insights that will enhance their campaign and capture and nurture their target decisionmakers. 

Does Account Based Marketing sound like a strategy that could be relevant for your business? If you’d like to find out more about how ABM could work for you, we’d love to help you get started. Get in touch today on 01392 796 702.

Our top tips for creating your 2021 SME business marketing plan

Create your 2021 SME business marketing plan

A year ago, as people sat down to write out their predictions for marketing trends in 2020, nobody could have predicted global shifts in remote working that have changed the way that all businesses connect with their audiencesSMEs have certainly been affected by the pandemic – McKinsey research showing that 80% of UK SMEs have seen a revenue impact from the Covid-19 crisis. This makes an investment in marketing strategy even more vital for SMEs, with a focus on bringing in new customers and reaching new audiences. 

Looking ahead

We can look to the future with hope and research suggests many SMEs are doing just that. A Veem report showed that 53% of small business owners actually expected to see uptake in their business in 2021This is a really encouraging sentiment that demonstrates that for many SMEs, the opportunities that existed before the pandemic still exist. It’s just having a plan to navigate the barriers. That’s where we can help. We’re experts in helping SMEs define and connect with their target market and helping them grow. 

Here’s our 5 top tips for shaping a pandemic-proof marketing plan that’ll help your business fly in 2021: 

1. Digital is the new normalget your house in order

Digital experiences have much higher value than they did pre-pandemic. This means your website and your social media presence needs to be on point, on message and showcasing the benefits of your products and services. User experience remains very important – your call to action and customer journey needs to be clear. Make it easy for customers to get in touch with you online and offer an experience that is as seamless and enjoyable as possible so they stay with you for the whole journey. 

2. Develop a content strategy 

If getting your online presence updated is the equivalent of cleaning a house, then an apt analogy for developing your content strategy would be all the valuables inside. Your content strategy is your plan to communicate what your customers need to know and would find useful in ways they’ll enjoy consuming. 

For example, a blog is a meaningful way to combine product benefits with industry insights and will help drive organic traffic through to your site. If your customers enjoy reading your blog, they’ll share it. If it genuinely resonates with their challenges, they will visit your site. You can publish it in more than one channel and adapt messaging and themes for your social content. 

3. Up your social game

This neatly brings us on to social media. It’s more vital than ever that small businesses are active and engaged on social platforms. This means engaging on your page and demonstrating that you can solve a customer’s problem and care about their experience. It’s a shift from transactional selling to a relationship based one but it’s a valuable differentiation to make and one that will ensure greater customer loyalty and advocacy in the long-term. We can help you develop targeted social campaigns and shape messaging that will resonate with your customers on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. 

4. Authentic and socially conscious

Influencer marketing is set to continue growing in 2021 but don’t worry if you haven’t got an A-list budget, some of the best performing posts on social come from users and advocates. 2020 has seen a shift towards heightened value on meaningful digital experiences, increased authenticity and higher engagement with socially conscious brands. This is a natural reflection of the times we live in, so don’t be afraid to stand for something. If being a brand activist isn’t for you, that’s okay, just work on communicating with your customers in an honest and straightforward way and if you can get them to sing your praises on social, it will resonate with your desired audience.

5. Boldly uncover new opportunities

In tough times it’s tempting to play it safe and refrain from starting something new; the catch 22 is that new activity is exactly what will guarantee a healthy supply of new customers in 2021. If your inbound enquiries have dropped off, we can work with you to create demand generation campaigns that will build and nurture your key prospects and relationships and convert them into engaged customers. We use all of the aforementioned tactics and mediums plus more to deliver relevant content and messaging to your target audience and produce marketing qualified leads (MQLs) for your sales team to follow up. 

If you’d like to talk more about how we can help you create a marketing strategy that will ensure your business grows and thrive in 2021, get in touch today on 01392 796 702. 

What it means to you, to work with a HubSpot Solutions Partner marketing agency?

Last month Roots became an official HubSpot Solutions Partner. Our team were very excited because for an ambitious start-up like Roots, we love the idea of being affiliated with such a huge, successful brand. 

But – what’s the benefit of this new affiliation to our prospects and clients? Because ultimately, they are more important than just a great new title. 

We completely agree, we are not the sort of agency that runs after fluffy titles and affiliations just to make us sound good. In fact, that is the exact thing that we advise our clients not to do, so we certainly wouldn’t be doing it ourselves. As part of our partnership discussions with HubSpot, we did a lot of our own exploration to fully understand what this partnership will mean for our prospects and client base. 

So, what does it mean? 

The biggest and most obvious benefit is accessing HubSpot. There are many, many different CRM systems available on the market but there are very few at sensible price points for B2B businesses that allow marketing, sales, service, and IT teams to collaborate, removing friction from the buyer’s journey. HubSpot use inbound as a methodology for growing your organisation. It’s based on building meaningful, lasting relationships with your prospects and customers through valuable content and experiences. It’s also about valuing and empowering these people to reach their goals at any stage in their journey with you. 

Alongside this inbound methodology, the other big benefit is having all touchpoints under one roof creating ‘one version of the truth’. By this we mean that many businesses fall into a similar situation where – sales use the CRM (when they remember), marketing are working from that CRM but also from an emailing platform, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google AdWords, WordPress etc and service or Account Managers are using spreadsheets or another separate system to manage clients/customers.  

This structure means that data is stored in many different platforms so you may not see a clear picture of your prospects or clients/customers – not being able to see a clear picture means you’re restricted in making overall decisions on customer journey, touchpoints, marketing success because your data points are not joined up. Whereas, getting all this data within one platform opens up huge opportunities to understand more about your customer journey, your marketing and sales touchpoints and the ability to pull reports on this data to better understand and compare it.

Image courtesy of HubSpot. 

As HubSpot Partners we are constantly understanding more efficient and effective ways to manage your marketing within this platform. This means that we are focused on crafting programmes of marketing activity which is entirely focused on delivering results aligned to your objectives. Utilising the HubSpot platform to deliver, optimise and transparently report on this activity. This is something that Roots has been passionate about since it’s inception but partnering with a piece of technology that enables us to achieve this more efficiently is of huge benefit to our prospects and clients. 

Do you now have to use HubSpot to work with us? 

In short the answer is no. We are always open to working with clients who use other CRM systems or are launching themselves so have CRM in place. But it will always be our recommendation to have a system, like HubSpot, that allows all your data to be kept in one place to make our marketing efforts and your marketing investment more efficient to deliver success. 

If you are looking for guidance on your marketing strategy or activity, or you’d like to discuss HubSpot as a CRM for your business, get in touch today to find out more. Call us on: 01392 796702.

Make them buy into you! Build and leverage your personal brand on LinkedIn.

We all know the phrase first impressions count. Thanks to social media, that first impression now happens before your first meeting with a client. Your social presence, specifically LinkedIn, is a fantastic opportunity for you to breathe life into your business, showing people the personality behind the brand.

Research shows a direct correlation between time spent on developing your personal brand and consumer trust. 82% of customers trust a company when their senior management members are active on social media (GoGulf, 2013).89% of top performing sales people say social networking platforms, such as LinkedIn, are important in closing deals and are part of their sales strategy (SuperOffice, 2020)So this tells us the old adage still rings true – people buy from people and connections matter.

Check out the competition

This is an important litmus test. Before you can start developing your social strategy and content plans, it’s vital to research what your competitors are doing on LinkedIn and use it to your advantage. Look at their most successful posts. What types of content do the people in your desired market engage with? What are the key themes that people are discussing? Think about how you could create content that responds to the conversations you’re seeing in the comments, or start a conversation that matters to you.

Define your tone of voice

When everyone is talking, it’s hard to cut through the noise and make an impression. It’s not about being bold and extrovert. Ithat’s simply not you, it won’t ring true with your audience. Try to find your authentic voice, own your material and don’t be afraid to voice your opinions. Remember, you’re an expert in your business and there’s nobody who knows that story better than you. If you need help telling it, that’s OK. A trusted provider can help guide you on that and draw out the key elements your audience will find most engaging.

Getting started

A basic but important first step is to ensure your profile is up to dateAs mentioned previously, first impressions count and if your profile doesn’t reflect your current role or campaigns you’re working on, it’s going to jar with your audience. Take control of this and let people know you’ve got it covered. Think of it as your own personal elevator pitch. Let people know that connecting with you will open the door to interesting content and opportunities.

Consistency matters

It’s easy to get caught up with posting furiously when you start out because enthusiasm is high, then letting it slide during more hectic times. Consistency is the key to success. An easy way to stay on track is to put together a content schedule. Planning ahead doesn’t mean a dearth of creativity – mix up scheduled content with more spontaneous posts that capitalise on topical industry news.

Content rules

Everyone talks about engaging content but think hard about what this means to you. Maybe you’re a natural storyteller who finds it easy to weave the fabric of daily business life into anecdotes and thoughts that spark ideas. Maybe you’re a direct person who sees something incredible and can’t help but hit share. Whatever your preferred methods, write content that’s enjoyable to read and include relevant hashtags for your industry and target audience. You can even see how many people are following that hashtag just by searching for it (no magic required!).

Get connected

LinkedIn is all about connections; even the biggest influencers send regular InMails and invest time and attention to growing their network through quality, shareable content. They do it because they know it’s the key to staying relevant and part of the conversation.

Join the industry groups that are relevant to your business. This is not only great for refining your content strategy; it provides valuable insight into your customers challenges. If you see a conversation where you can solve a customer problem or offer relevant advice or insight, don’t be afraid to join in. The same principle applies to companies in your target markethit follow, pay attention and engage with their posts.

Connect to people you’ve met at events and webinars. You have a golden opportunity to check in and take that conversation forward. When you’re connecting to people within your industry and target audience – always use a personalised messageThe personal touch will be appreciated and give you the opportunity to have a meaningful on-going conversation that could lead somewhere mutually beneficial.

Don’t forget to review the ‘people also viewed’ section. The great thing about LinkedIn is even with a free account you can build a solid base of qualified contacts, and a little desk research can help you build out a decision-maker map that could be extremely valuable for future campaigns.

Beyond the basics

If you have a company page, utilise the 100 credits available per month to invite your connections to follow the page. 1 invite = 1 credit. When the invitation is accepted, the credit is returned for you to use again, and you’ll receive 100 new credits on the 1st of each calendar month. Don’t let them go to waste as this is a quick and effective way to grow your audience.

If you have the means, it’s worth upgrading to a Premium account or Sales Navigator to take advantage of additional features such as CRM integrations and custom lists. Consider sending regular InMails to engage with your audience – it’s a valuable campaign tool you can easily align with any other regular digital communications and email marketing campaigns.

Invest the time and you will see the benefit

Schedule time in your day to work on your personal brand. If you don’t have the time and headspace to give it the attention it deserves, we can help.

Roots to Market help individuals and businesses unlock the power of a thriving personal brand. We build intelligent marketing capabilities using a mixture of proven marketing tactics to reach your target audience and produce marketing qualified leads for your sales team.

If you’d like to talk more about how we can drive tangible results from your social channels and personal branding strategy, get in touch today on 01392 796 702.

Responding to market changes

Let’s not dwell on the obvious that Covid-19 has been tough for almost every business, in every country across the globe. But instead of this being a blog to discuss the challenges this pandemic has presented, the need for businesses to ‘pivot’ or indeed the ‘recipe’ to solve the problems we have been facing – this blog is going to focus on the thing that we can do something about – the future. 

We don’t know what the state of the future looks like yet, but we know that collectively as businesses we must be responding to market changes, adapt and thrive to be successful. So, where do you start? 

Time to review 

Now is the time to review – look at what marketing activity and campaigns you have run previously. Take the time to really analyse the contributions they made to your business both from a brand, pipeline building and sales perspective. Use this review time to pick apart and really question what saw good return-on-investment (ROI), what learnings you can take and utilise in the future, and what you know you wouldn’t repeat. 

This is true of all functions within your business, not just marketing. Investing the time in reviewing now will help you scope out the ‘plan of attack’ when the markets begin to turn. 

Take this review and create a big picture 

One of the recommendations we share with clients when we are working on strategies is to look at the bigger picture and then break that down into sub-sections or projects which fit within departments. The big picture should be holistic and joined up, driving the business in the chosen direction. Each departments goals and directions should then feed off of this overall picture. 

For example – if your business is made up of direct customers and resellers, your overall big picture goal might be to move your business towards a model that sees 75% of your sales coming from resellers and 25% coming from direct customers. If your marketing team then went away and spent 60% of your marketing budget with a campaign focused purely on driving more direct customers into the business rather than resellers – it would be totally misaligned to the big picture direction of the business. 

Each key department needs to understand the big picturebe bought into the journey and have departmental goals that are aligned. 

Re-strategise 

Many businesses will have had a strategy they were working towards before Covid-19 struck. A small number of businesses may be able to continue working on this strategy if it is still correct to their business and they were not as affected by the pandemic. 

For everyone else, it’s time to re-strategise with your big picture in mind. 

For many businesses, the pandemic will have lost you customers who cancelled, paused or simply didn’t begin working with you at the time. For some businesses it will have lost you staff, and you are now facing running the business without certain skills or the same amount of resource available to satisfy your strategy. 

You need an up-to-date strategy that is going to work for your business of today, not your pre-Covid-19 business. Not only have you changed, but your market is likely to have changed also  buying confidence levels are unlikely to be where they were a few months ago, so how you engage with your market maybe different. Your conversations maybe different, your pipeline timingscontent may need to change, and ultimately your sales process may actually be longer or shorter and you have to be prepared for that. 

A step ahead  

Being a step ahead, even if the prospect of the future is unsure is healthy for your business. Utilising the time to review, begin to re-strategise, take time to understand the current economy and start responding to market changes. 

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” – Charles Darwin 

If you’d like our help with marketing strategy, get in touch today or call us on 01392 796702 to find out how we can help your business. Our sister company Air Marketing has more advice on responding to market changes in their blog: Whatever you do, don’t stop selling.

What to consider when looking to outsource your marketing for the first time

This is an interesting question that came up recently whilst we were speaking with a prospect. Having never worked with a marketing agency before, it’s understandable that you don’t know, what you don’t know. If you’ve only ever had internal marketing resource before it can be difficult to know how that translates into an agency relationship, and how to outsource your marketing effectively? If you are not a marketeer yourself but you are responsible for marketing (we’re thinking of some roles such as MD’s, Commercial Directors, Sales Directors, Revenue Directors) being able to truly test and measure any marketing resource can become more challenging. Questions that have come up in these conversations before having been the likes of: 

What makes you the right agency?

How will it work having an agency working with our internal marketing team? 

What should my internal team work on, and what should I outsource?  

Having discussed this in detail with prospects on many different occasions, we thought it would be really helpful to share this with you all. Now for us, sales and marketing are hand-in-hand functions. Ultimately, they are the revenue engine for your business and therefore they have to work together, not separately, for optimal effectiveness. For this reason, we find it is important to begin with your business aspirations and direction. 

Do you know your direction? 

The level of detail in answer to this question varies hugely amongst different businesses. The automatic response for many is, growth. A direction, but for us not a very clear one. What we’re looking to understand from your direction is: 

  • What is your overall business looking to achieve? An increase in 20% revenue on last year? An increase in 30% profits on last year? Sustained 10% yearonyear growth? These are all examples, but by providing us something much more tangible to understand your level of business growth, gives us important insight into the mindset of your business.
     
  • Next up is sales. What are your sales team looking to achieve? What are their targets and how is this split up? What percentage is from retaining revenue, new business and customer upsell/cross sell strategies? This is more important information for a marketer. The sales targets will link back to that overall business target, and in the same way your marketing targets and activity should support your sales targets. If we know that more than half of your targets are focused on client upsell/cross sell strategies, then we need to work with your sales team to target this market. In that example, we may focus in on CRM focused email marketing, providing Account Managers with the sales collateral required to help upsell/cross sell conversations, and look at web traffic behaviour utilising practices such as re-marketing to your current customer base.
  • This all then comes down to understanding your direction with your marketing. As mentioned above, your marketing targets and activity should clearly align to sales, thus the overall business. But you need to clearly set out what marketing should be working towards. How many new business leads do your sales team needSo, what are the channels to be utilised to obtain these leads? Can you clearly see a conversion rate from previous activity of MQLs (marketing qualified leads) to SQLs (sales qualified leads) to then proposal and purchase? If so, what is that typical conversion rate? This will inform us of how many MQLs are needed to feed your sales team. If past data tells you that traffic to your website converts at x% depending on the channel, how much more traffic do you need to attract to the website to meet the targets your sales team have? If you have personas for your target audience and you know that one is lower value but required continually to help run rate and one is high value but longer term pipeline – you need to create unique strategies to be reaching both of these concurrently to maximise effect. 

We’d recommend being prepared with understanding your direction before detailed conversations with an agency, as this will help the agency to really understand what you need from them. You can then move on to understanding ways of working with agencies.  

Ways of working with agencies  

Every agency will be slightly different when it comes to this, but we’re going to give you the example from us at Roots to Market 

We have clients who utilise us typically in 3 different capacities: 

  1. They look to us to create their marketing strategy and then to deliver it for them. This maybe the case if they have no marketers in-house and don’t wish to hire in-house, or if they have junior marketers who would really benefit from the support of an agency to work alongside.
  2. They already have a marketing strategy defined by their Marketing Director or Commercial Director and they are looking for an outsourced team to deliver against it as they don’t have any other marketers in-house and don’t wish to hire in-house.
  3. They have an internal marketing team who have defined and are delivering against the marketing strategy, but they have an element of the activity that they don’t have resource for or don’t have the specific skills in-house to execute themselves. In these cases, we slot into their marketing team to deliver an aspect of their marketing alongside the rest of the team. 

Each of these examples will pull on different members of our team and their skill sets and will require different approaches. But from our experience we’ve found it vital to be as flexible as possible and cater for different client needs.  

We’d recommend exploring what an agency can offer you in terms of ways of working from the outset to ensure that it will work with your current business set up and what you had in mind.   

A final thing to then consider is… 

Understanding how to measure the success of the relationship  

Marketing is an investment after all, so although you may not get to the numbers within this conversation being able to understand the ‘how’ of the measurement is required.  

We often find that within this part of the conversation we discuss KPI’s/targets that can be set before activity begins between us and the client, reporting methods and frequency, examples of other successes, ‘what good looks like’, how detailed and integrated the reporting can be, etc.  

It may take time to agree and sign off on all this detail to your relationship but starting the conversation so that both parties understand where each other are coming from allows you to go away and further build on this.  

We’d recommend being honest and transparent from the beginning on this measurement of success. It can really damage a relationship, if goal posts are drastically moved during activity because they were simply incorrect from the outset. There will be aspects of marketing which are still more difficult to measure such as offline advertising, but this should be discussed before the activity begins to ensure everyone is on the same page.  

Get in touch 

We hope that if you’re wondering what to consider when looking to outsource your marketing for the first time, then this has been helpful.  

At Roots to Market, we offer tailored, blended services of inbound and direct marketing, automation and complete tactical campaigns, dependent on clients’ needs. If you’d like to talk more about how we can help you with your outsourced marketing activity, get in touch today on 01392 796702. You can also read more about our results here.

Why it’s so hard to run a start up marketing agency but so worth it

I can personally attest that launching a start-up marketing agency is no picnic! The sleepless nights, the unrelenting hours and the sheer uncertainty are a rollercoaster not everyone is clamouring to ride. Like a new parent taking the first tentative steps out of the maternity ward with their precious cargo or a well-meaning volunteer for a charity skydive… you’re not quite sure what to expect until you’re in the thick of it, and at that point you just have to hang on tight. But like both the aforementioned examples, there are so many moments of joy, pride and exhilaration that make it all worthwhile, when you hit an unexpected milestone or bag a new client in spite of stiff competition from longer established agencies.  

Businesses will always need marketing services, for a startup the real challenge is getting them to choose you. Gaining the trust of new clients is not easy. At this point they’re taking a chance on you to deliver for them based on what you promise, but not necessarily a large track record. That’s why face-time (or virtual face-time) and a personal approach is so important, you can’t yet show them reams of high profile projects but you can show them exactly what they’re buying… YOU! And your word. Once a project gets underway you know they’ll enjoy dealing with someone who is passionate and hungry to achieve the best for them. They aren’t just another client on your roster, they can enjoy VIP status.  

In 2020, business moves fast, people have high expectations and they need to work with a marketing agency that understands the challenges they face and can deliver a plan in line with that. Downside being that businesses under pressure are often looking for a silver bullet, so they experience a tough month and that marketing agency they were relying on to deliver can suddenly fall out of favour. Becoming the trusted partner is tough, it requires over-delivering, relationship building and quite frankly, the ability to be straight up about what will and won’t work. In those early days it can be tempting to deliver whatever the paying customer wants, but give them the benefit of your expertise and your listening skills if you want to be there for the long haul.  

Your team are everything. In a big corporate there is the luxury of time and resources for formal team building, long recruitment processes and testing and even retreats. In a start-up marketing agency the only retreat your team are getting is a post-office pub sesh (when allowed due to Covid-19 guidelines) where you’ll probably end up talking shop. You have to take a chance on the people you employ just as they have to take a chance on you, and it’s about so much more than just credentials, you need to know they’ll have the humour and resilience to deal with those challenging early months. You will look back on these early campaigns and wonder how you pulled it off, and you’ll laugh a lot and maybe even cry a little but it’ll be worth it.  

In the end when clients start coming back for more and you can see your plans coming to fruition, your team gaining new skills and your client base consistently growing, you can calmly exhale safe in the knowledge that you weren’t a misguided glutton for punishment, rather someone with a sensible vision. When you can see the impact on your client’s business through the projects you’ve delivered for them and the collaborative efforts of your team, you know it was all worth it.   

Roots to Market are nearly two-years old and I’m yet to find a grey hair (yet), I can’t lie and say it’s been easy but I can be honest and say it’s been a blast to work with such a fantastically talented team and be entrusted with some incredible global brands. We’ve seen our clients’ businesses and our own business grow thanks to so much hard work and enduring dedication.  

Want to know more? 

At Roots, we build intelligent marketing capabilities using a mixture of proven marketing tactics to reach your target audience and produce marketing qualified leads for your sales team. We offer tailored, blended services of inbound and direct marketing, automation and complete tactical campaigns, dependent on what you need. If you’d like to talk more about how we can help you see results, get in touch today on 01392 796 702 or fill in our form here. 

Opinion piece by Verity Studley-Wootton, Associate Director.

The marketing trends you shouldn’t ignore in 2020

Marketing is a fast-changing and often fickle landscape; how do you really know if today’s buzzwords will translate into a meaningful line in your future strategy. Marketing in 2010 is a far cry from marketing today and that’s just the job titles. The growth of digital has changed everything, bringing businesses closer to customers than ever before – it’s been a steep learning curve with brands striving to meet the seamless technology and customer experience expectations of today’s consumer.

Then there’s the searching, no pun intended, questions; is everything offline pointless? Where should I be focusing the marketing strategy?

We can’t see into the future but here’s our take on the trends to watch in 2020.

AI is here to stay

Artificial intelligence (AI) has powered big strides in marketing efforts in 2019, with data insights helping build a more accurate picture of target audiences, campaigns can be much more predictive and focussed. And that’s just the start, AI allows marketeers to target content to potential buyers and deliver a refined content strategy personalised to their interests, which allows marketeers to predict trends. Past research suggested that by 2020, businesses that leverage AI to power customer insights could make $1.2 trillion more than their comparatively less-well informed peers! So it’ll be interesting to see the up-to-date figures this year.

Conversational marketing

In 2020 real-time matters. Immediacy is the new ‘we’ll get back to you in 24 hours’, with research showing that 82% of consumers rate an “immediate” response as very important when they have a question. Interestingly, only 36% of companies use live chat for marketing, sales or customer service enquiries (Hubspot, 2018). There’s a huge opportunity here for businesses ready to invest in their real-time marketing efforts. Chatbots can make this truly scalable, offering your customers true responsiveness. The challenge for businesses is ensuring those scripts are well researched and provide the answers consumers need. It goes beyond product specs and must replicate a friendly, authentic conversational experience.

Customer Experience (CX) really matters

Businesses across the board are recognising the shift of power towards the consumer. Gone are the days where customers gleaned the benefits of your product from your carefully crafted magazine advertorials; today’s consumer comes armed with research, making your website an absolutely crucial first touch-point. Your entire reputation is predicated on how customers perceive you, how easy it is to interact and buy from you. The value of your interactions and approach adds to the buying experience. That means everything from your Instagram videos to your customer service conversations has to be seamless, intuitive and in-line with consumer expectation.

Video just makes sense

It’s easy to generate, and a versatile and imaginative storytelling medium. People love consuming video, whether it’s for learning or educational purposes or to hear others’ experiences – it’s arguably the most powerful tool for brands wanting to win hearts and minds and it’s set to stay that way. In fact, your customers are far more likely to share a brand/ product video than anything else you produce. According to Optinmonster, video marketeers get 66% more qualified leads per year with video marketing achieving a 54% increase in brand awareness. Additionally, 93% of marketeers say they’ve landed a new customer thanks to a video on social media.

At Roots to Market, we build intelligent marketing capabilities using a mixture of proven marketing tactics to reach your target audience and produce marketing qualified leads for your sales team. We offer tailored, blended services of inbound and direct marketing, automation and complete tactical campaigns, dependent on clients’ needs. If you’d like to talk more about how we can help you design a future proofed marketing strategy that delivers results, get in touch today on 01392 796 702.