For the last few weeks I’ve digging into the concept of sales.
It’s becoming more apparent that great companies have great sales teams.
Yes, it starts with a great product or service, but without sales there is nothing to connect the dot between the product and the customer. Sales is how the business earns enough to keep things rolling to the next level.
Business has changed over the years, but there are still marketing techniques of old that work just as well today. And there are a few new techniques, especially in the inbound world, that are working well for companies.
If you’re a modern business looking for modern marketing techniques you’ve probably considered some of these.
Here is an overview and how each plays a roll in today’s modern business world.
Paid advertising seems to have been around for as long as people have been selling things to each other and bartering for food and supplies.
Basically, the concept of marketing revolves around audiences.
Sometimes you’ll see people talk down at building an audience or focusing on the audience. The reality is that people segment themselves into different groups. Well, we do some of it ourselves and in other ways the segments are out of our control. But if you believe in free will then people for the most part segment themselves with others just like them.
And businesses have figured out that you can make products for like-minded people at market to them when they’re spending time in their segments or audiences.
The example I use most because I’m a fan of country music (segment example) is how a new artist builds their brand or markets themselves. When a new artist is starting out they need to build an audience in order to sell things – music, tickets, merchandise, etc.
That artist does all kinds of things to get access to people, which means they do whatever they can to siphon off people from audiences that are already established.
Now, the artist isn’t going to go after people they know won’t like they’re music. They give themselves the best odds. They find similar artists and they try to open shows for those artists.
But this part of the article is about paid advertisements.
As a business, you need access to people and doing inbound -type marketing takes time. If you need sales now you have to pay people for the audiences they’ve already built.
That’s how TV, Radio, Billboard, Online Media and all the other kinds of paid advertising work.
You pay for access to established audiences. Those entities built their audiences and you pay for the chance to expose your brand to that audience.
Paid advertising still works extremely well. There are numerous reports out there estimating an increase in online advertising over the coming decades. As younger generations get into their top spending years businesses are going to need access to them.
Sites that have audiences will benefit because they’ve built the audiences and they can sell that asset to the highest bidder.
I’m more of an inbound marketer, but I still think paid advertising is great. I think a good mix of all these marketing techniques can set your business up well.
On the surface, paid advertising is simple. Create a great ad (which is really great content) and pay for access to an audience that mirrors your ideal customer.
Under the surface, though, it can be tough to find the right audience. But once you find a paid model that leads to low cost customer acquisition you want to exploit it for as long as you can.
Sponsorships and Partnerships
This one is something I really haven’t thought much about until recently. I’m starting to understand why companies pay huge amounts of money to sponsor different things. I can see why companies partner with other companies and organizations.
Again, it’s all about the audiences.
One of the most interesting books I’ve ever read was a book about Deane Beaman, former chairman of the PGA Tour. In the book it talked about how Beaman worked to really push sponsorships on the Tour for each of the events.
They were able to figure out that by sponsoring a tournament like the Buick Invitational that a company like Buick would be getting approximately $25 million in what would equate to advertising.
During the week of the tournament the company gets all kind of exposure on TV and locally in the communities (the Buick Invitational is in San Diego).
Buick puts up a few million (I think around $5-10 million) to put on the tournament. This covers all the expenses including the purse for the players.
All the ticket sales that come in give the tournament a profit for the week, but all the profits go to charities.
So the company puts up some money, gives to charity and gets all the exposure or the tournament including recognition for being a sponsor forever in the tournament’s history.
What the PGA Tour was able to do was create an audience around golf and they are able to sell access to that audience to people. Through television contracts they sell that audience to TV networks that resell access to the audience to more companies.
Sponsorships often include money. It’s something that works.
Partnerships are a little different, but it’s all about the audience.
You partner with another company because you each have an audience the other wants. Money might not be involved because you’re partnering with the other in hopes of growing each other’s audience.
Direct marketing is where I would put the salesperson. I also would include things like catalogs and direct mail pieces.
This is the art of taking your pitch directly to the audience. In catalogs, you have to pay for access to audiences. If you’re a salesman you don’t always have to pay for the first introduction, but you have to be really good because you often don’t get much more than the first meeting.
Direct marketing sometimes gets a bad rap, but I think people forget how much they’re actually helped by direct marketing. The companies have to find a way to get to the customer. It’s a necessary way for people to discover things that make life better.
It might be a pair of shoes that makes us feel stylish or it might be a new software program that makes our business more efficient.
Direct selling is necessary. Don’t be ashamed of reaching out to people in an effort to offer them something that can make their lives better.
Now we get to the new kid on the block. Well, it’s not necessarily new on the block, but it’s getting more attention as more people use the Internet.
Inbound marketing is the way you get people to come to you instead of you going to them.
Word of mouth falls into this category, but it mostly has to do with having a great company, product or service. If you have that people will talk to each other and refer your company. There are a few things you can do to encourage it to happen more often, but for the most part it’s a result of your service and product. It’s definitely something you should focus on as a business.
Inbound marketing has really taken off with search and social media.
Basically, people are searching for things all over the Internet. They’re looking for answers and if you can provide those answers or the interesting content they’re searching for you win their attention. Your brand gets exposure and you win over new customers.
Again, it’s all about the audience. Companies like Google and Twitter have huge audiences. They have audiences of searchers and you can segment those searchers into certain segments.
Business blogging is proving to be a great way to implement inbound marketing. It gives you your own channel to create content for people to find.
It takes time, but if you commit to it all your blog articles work as assets that deliver customers through search, social and direct referral.
Marketing has always been about access to audiences.
That fact hasn’t changed over all the years, but there have been some changes over the years.
Today, successful companies are looking for multiple marketing techniques that lead to low cost customer acquisition. This is how a business grows and sustains success.