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Smarketing, schmarketing?

Smarketing, schmarketing?

When started nearly two years ago, we were working on ad-hoc content-related projects. But recent strategy work has gotten us trying to figure out which content marketing piece works best at which stage of the sales cycle.

In reality, marketers are under pressure to deliver revenue or leads for each marketing dollar spent. Those with longer-term vision from the top can afford to spend on brand-building activities but the same questions crop up – what do you do, when and how?

Content marketing helps with the backstory – it gives your brand some character, gives someone a peek into what you stand for as a company, instead of a one-dimensional ‘buy-me buy me’ cardboard figure. It may become your ‘secret sauce’ to generate leads (and revenue) if it fits with where your prospect stands in the sales cycle.

This Smarketing Funnel came from our ‘Aha!’ moment. This is our take on how sales and marketing can be aligned to reduce friction and ensure that both departments speak the same language.

Smarketing funnel

We’ve basically fitted in typical content marketing tactics into each stage of the buying cycle.

For example, if you’re still targeting an early-stage Suspect, you should be focusing on fixing your web pages, updating your blogs, going into brand-building conference sponsorship and engage analysts in your target space. Those in the Suspect stage are still at the information-gathering stage and may be unaware of your brand so you need to be where they are doing their search and help them along with useful information.

The Leads stage is for when the buyer is starting to explore options and is looking for expert or peer validation. By this stage you would also know who you want to target e.g. heads of digital strategy or heads of compliance or the high net-worth with $1m-$5m in investible assets. Here you’ll need to start thinking of more targeted activities tailored to the prospect’s needs such as field events, white papers, search engine marketing and short video guides.

Even after the Close stage, there are still opportunities to Engage & Upsell through social media, client events, testimonials and client newsletters. It’s typical textbook marketing but getting customers excited about your products/service is your next best marketing investment, especially in the high-value, low-volume space.

We have also developed KPIs that can be aligned to each stage of the Smarketing Funnel. For example, at the Suspects stage, you might be looking at fans/followers and website visitors but at the Prospects stage you start measuring lead conversion rates for every marketing dollar spent.

This is not set in stone and we love to hear your thoughts. Talk to us to find out more or just to get a copy of the Smarketing Funnel that doesn’t require a microscope.

(Credit goes to our fab designer, Seowyee, for helping to condense everyone’s ideas into one chart)

Tags: B2B Marketing, B2C Marketing, Brand Activation, Content Generation, Demand Generation

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