Evolving economic systems, globalization, advancing technology, and other factors have created a climate where every aspect of business has been transformed. Likewise, the marketing world has changed a great deal over the past few years.
We have long since left the Mass Marketing Era, and are now in the Era of Pinpoint Marketing, where individual decision-makers will be harder to find, their job functions will change more often, and the means of converting them to customers will be different. Your ability to identify qualified prospects is a key determinant of marketing success, along with the ability to speak to their unique needs and deliver offers that are timely and compelling.
The answer to the changing marketing landscape is to adopt the Fusion Marketing characteristics that will not only help you to survive, but also thrive in B2B Marketing.
Characteristic 1: A Fusion Marketer Stops What is Hurting
Fusion Marketing is a “damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead,” style of marketing that is designed to focus on your objectives and leave your competitors to eat your dust.
The first step on the road to recovery is to stop doing that which hurts you or does not make a positive contribution to your well-being. Take a sober assessment of your campaigns, strategies, programs, expenses, etc., and immediately stop:
- Anything not supported by senior management.
- Lead generation programs that are not followed up by the sales team.
- Campaigns that do not reinforce your core message.
- Expenses that don’t contribute to the overall objective.
- Unnecessary and/or time wasting reporting and analysis.
- Working with people who are unreliable and/or unproductive.
- Anything you’re doing that impedes your staff’s ability to get their jobs done efficiently.
Remember that everything you spend time on has an opportunity cost – something more productive you could be doing. Likewise, everything you spend money on has to be evaluated against all the other ways you could spend the same amount of money.
Characteristic 2: A Fusion Marketer Plays to Win
I would like you to agree with me about something: You are playing to win. It is a lot more fun and satisfying if your mindset is to beat your competitors and win the game.
As I write this, the recession is still raging, companies are closing, layoffs are occurring, and people are scared. Even in a bad economy, there will be winners and there will be losers. Your place on the leader board will be determined not only by luck, but also by your attitude and expectations.
Keep in mind that there is a difference between playing to win and playing not-to-lose. If you play not-to-lose it is almost guaranteed that you will not win. It is much easier if your goal is to thrive and not just to survive.
Characteristic 3: A Fusion Marketer Practices Laser Focus
In an article published in Early to Rise, noted business strategist Rich Schefren stated that when people tell you something can’t be done, they really mean people can’t do it without taking themselves out of their comfort zone. To develop laser-like focus Schefren advises the “back pressed up against the wall” mindset. To do this, you pick a goal you have been struggling with—and then you tell yourself that if you don’t achieve that goal, the person you love the most in this world is literally going to die. If that were the case, your back would be pressed against the wall. You would suddenly get a lot more focused on achieving that goal because you would have to do it.
Thinking about the potential death of a loved one is a tough way to make the point, but the fact is, we do have a much better chance of achieving what we focus on, especially if we get rid of the many distractions that deter us from our path.
I have seen a lack of focus ruin two companies I was involved with and conversely, I’ve designed a laser-focused marketing strategy to help make several others highly successful. One of the two losing companies had great potential but literally changed its strategy on a quarterly basis in an attempt to placate hungry investors. The company could have been successful had they just picked one strategy and stuck with it.
Spend all the time necessary to pick your go-to-market strategy. Focus and persistence will win the day.
Characteristic 4: A Fusion Marketer Flouts Conventional Wisdom
If you want to stand out from the crowd, it is important you recognize some of the common fallacies that pervade the marketing profession.
Conventional Wisdom: Marketing is always expensive.
Truth: Expensive is not always necessary or even better. Many marketers overemphasize the upfront cost of an advertising program, rather than more important gauges that tell you if your program is profitable, such as cost-per-sale or cost-per-dollar-of-revenue.
Conventional Wisdom: Consumers are no longer loyal to products or organizations.
Truth: Consumers are not inherently disloyal, and they display this trait only to the degree that they are conditioned to be disloyal. Companies that place major emphasis on attracting new customers and minor emphasis on retaining existing customers should not be surprised when the latter start doing business with the competition. Relationship building is not only critical to the marketing function—it is one of the major attributes of a well-run organization.
Christopher Ryan is a noted expert in B2B marketing. Chris is founder and President of Fusion Marketing Partners and was formerly a senior marketing executive at companies like Stellent, Sybase, PeopleSoft and Group 1 Software. You can buy Mr. Ryan’s latest book, How to Create an Unstoppable Marketing and Sales Machine, at Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble.