Creating Your Marketing Strategy

May 4, 2009

I’ve often heard that ‘Alliance Partners aren’t marketers’ – even from Alliance Partners themselves. While it’s true that most Alliance Partners are started and largely staffed by engineers, the reality is that every company ‘markets’ themselves. Fundamentally, marketing is the process of obtaining potential customers. And, in reality, every interaction between your company and the outside world is ‘marketing.’

But, it is true that marketing services is very different than marketing products. Marketing services is more heavily based on market research than traditional marketing. In service marketing, you must proactively identify and target your customers rather than just advertise and hope they find you. We sometimes refer to this as ‘micro-marketing’ – an intense effort to generate awareness and build trust in a smaller, identifiable customer base.

Setting Your Marketing Objectives

But, before we dive to deep, let’s talk about some general concepts for your marketing strategy. First of all, what are your primary marketing objectives? Obviously, it is to generate enough leads to sustain and grow your business, but how many leads do you need? Is it possible to over-market?

leads-funnelOne way to derive an answer is to work backwards. Start with how many projects that you need to meet your business objectives for next year. Given that, how many proposals do you need to for that number of project wins? Now, determine the number of sales engagements required to create the opportunity for that many proposals? Eventually, you can come up with how many leads that you need.

This process helps you describe your lead funnel (or pipeline). In addition to helping you create more specific goals for you marketing and sales team, you create metrics that gauge how effective your process is. Where are the bottlenecks? How can you improve your efficiency?