Marketing is the imperative in a tough economy

Every morning, I pour a cup of coffee and open the Wall Street Journal — my morning tradition for over 25 years. Recently, my routine is different. Every morning today I read a litany of woes:

“Job losses are the worst since 1974.”
“Week on Wall Street. It’s Raining Job Cuts.”
“Retail suffers the biggest drop in 30 years in November.”

My God, Mr. CEO, what are we to do now?

Here is one man’s prescription for an ailing company — go back and focus on the basics. Tear down and rebuild. Here’s how to do it:

Start with the product. Who is it for? What business outcomes does the customer get from using it? What are the measurable results? From those questions, identify and refocus on your ideal customers.

Next, get to know those customers — very, very well. Develop personas on them. Who are they? How are they involved in the decision process? Where do they consume information? What are their Pains? Document these personas.

Next, bring those two together and craft a new Value Proposition. For an expert, please consult Jill Konrath of Selling to Big Companies. Document the business outcomes your target customers get in clear, simple, specific language.

Once you are comfortable with your new Value Proposition, start looking at the Customer Buying Process. (Please refer to an earlier article on Buying Process.) Think through what is foremost in the customers’ mind at each stage. For instance, the first stage is what I call Untroubled/Unaware and the customer is asking “Why should I consider changing?” Develop marketing materials that address each stage. For example, a very professional white paper is good for this stage.

You have lots of information at this point, so go back to your website and make sure it matches. Is it easy to navigate? If I were a prospect in a certain stage, could I find the information I need? Now is the time to look at Search Marketing and ask what keywords people would use to find my products. Here you should also look at adding video and good content.

Now we know everything about our ideal customers, their buying processes and what makes them tick (persons). This is the time to start building your foundation marketing database. We want great data on all our prospective customers. This database will also enable us to personalize our approach.

We’ve come a long way in a short time, but the journey is not over. Now we need to find experts, social networks, and other ways of taking an educational approach. White papers, e-books, webinars, email, etc. all need to be put in place.

Okay we’re almost done. Now we need to get our ears on and implement good marketing software, like Eloqua, vtrenz or Marketo. Our infrastructure is built so we can get real traction from this software now.

What most companies do is take an ad hoc approach, doing this piece-meal. Unfortunately, that is like building a house without a plan — it doesn’t work well. Instead, a step by step approach is needed.

If you are looking for a real expert in sales and marketing, please email questions to

For companies looking for best practices in b2b lead generation who wish to improve the way they acquire new customers, Find New Customers is the place to go.  CSO Insights says companies need to improve the way they generate leads and implement processes for business to business lead generation.

Jeff Ogden, the Fearless Competitor, is a demand generation expert and sales leader, as well as the President of Find New Customers, a lead generation company, who helps businesses create lead generation campaigns and continually publishes the best lead generation ideas, so his readers can determine the best lead generation strategy to find new customers.  He can be reached at (516) 284-4930 or

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