Okay- things seem to be ready to start back up. Can life really go back to something close to what was normal? Will the Browns finally get past the “rebuilding” stage? That all remains to be seen. But what you cannot do is wait to find out what happens to everyone else before you make your next marketing decision.
If you ask football fans what is more important- offense or defense you will likely get many different answers. That’s because it depends on so many factors. But the winners are the ones that find the magic combination of both. The right mix for that team, with those players, during that season. So while there is no fool-proof formula, there are commonalities among those that have success.
There are are also common themes among companies that have made it through the toughest of economic times. What you might be surprised to learn is that they weren’t the ones that cut costs the most nor were they the ones that tried to outspend the downturn.
According to a recent Harvard Study, companies with the best success rates post crisis found a balance between being more efficient with less and investing enough to grow. The optimal combination of offense and defense, just like a winning football team.
Becoming more efficient is key. Efficiency in football is comparing success to league averages- seeing who can do better. With a business, you can look at cost efficiency, trying to get better results for less money.
The smartest way to cut costs is to find things you won’t miss. Or better yet- costs that you can combine to make your business simpler. As a tech company marketer, I think we’re all guilty of getting excited about new tools and software. The options are overwhelming and it’s very easy to keep adding and adding to your marketing stack.
Now is the time to go back and take a look at what you have and be very brutal in your decision making. Are you paying for multiple tools or services that have considerable overlap? Systems like Hubspot can replace a slew of separate tools, bringing everything together into one integrated system. Don’t be afraid to cut a tool that you have elsewhere in your stack, or one that no longer serves you. Think of it as cleaning out your martech closet!
Agility is the same in any sport- it’s the ability to change direction without losing control. At this stage in business recovery things are still constantly changing. Those who are able to adapt and learn at each stage will be far more likely to have success.
Making changes doesn’t mean you have to throw everything out, however. Take a good look at what you had planned and see what can be preserved. Sometimes it’s a matter of being more creative and being ok with things being slightly different. You might even find that some things are better- did you increase your content output and find that your audience is responding better to more blogging for example? It’s like being able to read the line and call an audible rather than what you had planned. There are just times when you have to make a change based on what you’re seeing in the moment- even though it might be risky.
Legendary teams have a superstar, at least one player who seems to change the outcome for the whole team. Not only is he amazing, but he makes the rest of the team more amazing too. The same holds true for marketing. As the digital landscape becomes more crowded, quality will become more important. Lots of mediocre marketing won’t get noticed- more isn’t better, better is better. Your content needs to be your superstar.
Try adding in some truly stellar pieces of content. By finding out what people are searching for and then spending extra time to create something special, you can jump-start your results. There are multiple tools (Google, SEMRush, and Bombora for example) which can give you a peek into what topics your personas are currently searching for or reading online. Develop those superstar pieces of content and tailor them to your audience. These can be the core pieces that help your sales pipeline fill up again!
We can’t talk football without mentioning the coach, can we? Love them or hate them, they are the ones that decide the strategy for the team. And as we know, those decisions can make or break the whole season. The same can be said for your marketing strategy.
As a tech marketing superstar, you need to do your homework and gather as much information as possible to “coach” your strategic plan to success. Implementation is key: once you have a well-researched plan in place it’s time to act. Find the balance between hesitancy to execute and blindly pushing forward while ignoring the cues of those around you.
Consider your updated marketing strategy as your playbook built from things like personas, customer journeys, KPI’s, brand messaging and design to name a few. Also, remember that it’s never all carried by one person- the head coach has a staff of specialists that help within their focused areas. You can’t know all about everything, it’s more about using your resources wisely and knowing when to consult an expert or get more opinions. This could be from your internal staff, industry resources or an agency.
The End Zone
In the end a winning tech marketing strategy is all about balance. If you’re able to keep your plans agile, review efficiency (or lack thereof), research trends while creating superstar content, and coach yourself into pulling the trigger on your new strategic playbook you will succeed.
As the great NFL player Peyton Manning remarked, “Pressure is something you feel when you don’t know what the hell you’re doing.” You KNOW what you’re doing--let that pressure go as you take your well researched, meticulously crafted marketing plan and assets onto the tech world’s grid iron. You’ve got this!