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INTERVIEW WITH LINSAY DUNCAN FROM MARKE2ING

The way businesses are marketed has changed phenomenally in recent years with the explosion of digitalisation, and following the introduction of the new GDPR regulations we expect to see things shaken up further still with new strategies being implemented and devised. For businesses to grow their reputation and get a stronghold in their respective industries, it is more important than ever before to utilise the expertise of industry professionals. This is where Marke2ing come in. The senior team each possess a minimum of 15 years B2B marketing experience and have a proven track record of delivering results. Corporate LiveWire recently spoke with Marke2ing co-founder Linsay Duncan to find out more.

What does marke2ing offer to SMEs?

The sweet spot for Marke2ing is ambitious businesses – from around 10-years old up to large established corporates – looking to fundamentally change their marketing for the better. From building marketing from scratch to coming in to fix specific issues, our flexible marketing director support drives results. Our mix of strategic and hands-on support gives us an edge to agencies and consultants. We direct, we do, and we mentor.

To what extent does the budget impact results?

The right marketing strategy coupled with savvy spending skills can make marketing budget go a long way. With so many free and cost-effective digital channels available (self-publishing content being right up there) there are many opportunities to make yourself seen and heard. Similarly, partner marketing and teaming up budgets on smart initiatives can make investment go even further. That said, having the experience to know how to maximise those channels is essential for success. Expecting junior marketers to deliver a revenue-smashing strategy is a risky approach.

For businesses with ambitious growth targets and an aggressive timeline, increased investment should be considered – all the more so in markets where competition levels are high. When amplification is needed this is where sponsorships, PR, advertising and other profile-boosting activities become key.

How do you quantify the results of your services?

We measure success in three ways:

  • We look at the numbers that indicate the performance of our client’s campaigns and marketing initiatives – that might be anything from helping fill their sales pipeline, gaining traction with their network, raising their brand profile or telling engaging stories about their business.
  • The way our clients’ prospects and customers react and engage to their marketing is another clear indicator of us doing our job well. If they’re hearing positive things, we know we’ve done our job.
  • Naturally we also ask our clients how they think we’re doing and enjoy regular open feedback sessions. We’re delighted with our feedback to date.

Can you give us an example of an effective project you have recently led?

For the last six months, we’ve been supporting a rising star in the RegTech space. Brought in to boost their marketing performance, we’ve improved the visibility of marketing within the business, building a marketing dashboard the business can use to track success. Taking their messaging and brand up a gear to reflect the business they’d become was also essential. In Q1 we developed a strong set of messages, then in Q2 we began reflecting that in new content and across their website. Tied into this was a refresh of their brand, giving their website, social media presence and collateral a more confident, professional look and feel.

With the business taking a new and ambitious direction, our help in scoping out the potential market, shaping the budget needed to support growth and product naming all came into play. Laying these foundations is what Marke2ing does day in day out, yet still we enjoy the excitement that comes with promising projects like these.

Integral to making all of this happen was guiding their marketing manager and becoming a part of their leadership team, whilst partnering with sales. Open to change and embracing our professional advice and experience, the team here were a dream to work with. They welcomed new process, structures and ideas, some of which challenged the status quo.

The internal reaction to the messaging and brand refresh was a delight, and the results which are now coming through are pleasing to see. From the market’s perspective, we’re hearing that our client is being seen in new and more confident light. Exactly what we set out to achieve.

One of the biggest hesitations companies have regarding any type of outsourced work is whether they will effectively grasp the working culture or brand. How does marke2ing circumnavigate this issue?

The key difference between Marke2ing and other agencies is all our marketing directors are from in- backgrounds, with a minimum of 15 years B2B marketing experience. We understand the ins and outs of working inside a B2B company and bring that with us. We work inside the business, on the leadership team, partnered with sales – a true marketing ally.

What are the biggest mistakes clients typically make before utilising your expertise?

We see three common mistakes play out:

  • Relying heavily on lead generation and outbound communications, relentlessly hitting the same prospect audience repeatedly, is a dangerous approach. Without a good level of brand awareness these efforts become null and void, and risk even annoying your prospect audience. There is a crucial balance to be struck across new business, brand building, nurturing and retention efforts in any marketing strategy.
  • Investing in full-time junior marketing resource and expecting them to drive forward a game-changing marketing strategy is unrealistic. Particularly where there is no other senior or experienced marketing in the business to guide them. Businesses who think more flexibly about how their investment in marketing people and activity can work, typically see better results.
  • The “me, me, me” approach, without businesses realising they’re doing it, is alive and kicking. This is where their marketing is all about them and dangerously oblivious to the customer. It is no longer sufficient to talk about the pedigree of a company, the wonderful features and benefits of its products and services and other self-centred aspects. Customers expect to see their painpoints reflected back in marketing materials, to learn about how a product or service can help and to see proof. Case studies and testimonials that demonstrate how good a business is speaks volumes, and go infinitely further than self-made claims. Keep the client at the heart of all marketing efforts and you give yourself the best chance of success.

What are the biggest challenges currently facing marketing professionals?

We still see businesses where sales and marketing are at loggerheads, which all stems from poor alignment, lack of shared objectives and ineffective working processes. Ignore sales and marketing alignment and you’ll never reach optimum performance. For marketing to do a good job it’s imperative to be immersed in the sales process, going out on the road with sales, listening in on sales calls and truly understanding the client. Meantime sales must keep the flow of market information fluid into marketing, also feeding back on lead quality and understanding the role different marketing channels play in the buying process (and that leadgen is not the be all and end all). Businesses where sales and marketing work harmoniously will by far reap greater rewards in terms of revenue, client satisfaction and productivity.

With GDPR having changed the landscape, this will continue to challenge marketers. Not only will strict contact data rules and processes need to stay in place (and the rest), but more innovative ways of reaching people now takes priority. Revisiting more traditional channels should be a consideration as is having good legal advice at hand to assess new routes to market with GDPR in mind.

How has the marketing landscape changed during your career?

By far the most significant shift in marketing is down to the growth of the internet and explosion of digitalisation. Search Engine Optimisation, online advertising, social media, retargeting are just some of the marketing practices now part of many business’s core marketing mix. This has made the marketing landscape undoubtedly richer, but marketers like us who have seen the before and after will know what I mean when I say there’s still nothing quite like a well-written, timely letter or DM piece. Understanding the value traditional channels can still bring, and combining that with digital nouse makes for a very powerful marketer.

How do you ensure you stay on top of the latest trends and strategies?

Through our brilliant partner network we are kept very well informed on new technologies, trends and B2B marketing benchmarks. As inquisitive marketing directors we naturally tune into publications, forums and networking events to stay current.

Do you have any final comments you would like to make?

Now that we’re into the second half of the year, it’s an important time to take stock, see how marketing is performing against its objectives and rejig where needed. Reviewing performance and recommending adjustments is a standard practice we regularly carry out with all our clients. Visibility of performance at senior management/board level, and of next planned steps for continued growth, will ensure marketers get buy-in and the support they need from the business.

 

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