April 2016

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When Online Marketing Fails

What happens when your online marketing stops delivering for you?

Manny MandrusiakManny Mandrusiak
Managing Creative Consultant,
4 Bravo Marketing

Contributing Editor

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It is the most terrifying time in any new marketer’s career.  That moment when they are looking at their KPI dashboard and thinking that things are going awesome because their social media streams are rocking and there are several thousand dollars of Pay-per-click on the web every month.  That moment when they hear the hastened footfalls of a sales manager coming down the hallway to rip into them like a monkey on a cupcake because there are no leads for salespeople, and sales are hurting.
As an enraged sales manager yells the junior marketer does not understand when they are doing everything online that is possible to generate leads for sales.  I was this marketer once and I remember walking through the halls frustrated and confused and then I came across one of the company’s top sales reps and he provided me with a little advice.  He pulled out his antiquated flip cell phone and reminded me that I was a sales person before I was a marketer, and that I should remember that this is actually a phone.
The moment immediately took me back to when I was in the army training young officers in land navigation. Our platoon was conducting land navigation training in the cold unforgiving climate of northern Canada.  The candidates were using military GPS units that kept failing and the candidates were getting extremely frustrated because they were having trouble navigating with electronic equipment that did not perform well in the cold. As our group was stopped to do an equipment check the young officer candidates were complaining about the failing equipment when a seasoned senior instructor reached over and tapped one of the young officers on the parka pocket and reminded him that there was a perfectly good compass inside that pocket that was more than capable of working in the cold and would get him to his objective. I still remember his words” Never rely on just one means to get you to your objective and accomplish the mission”.

It was like a light went off inside my head.  That is exactly what I had done.  I got so blinded by all the new social media platforms, and blogs, and PPC campaigns that I had forgotten some of the classic methods that were tried and true lead/sales generators.

It is a common mistake that many companies make these days.  They invest in online-only campaigns because technology is moving quickly and in an age of smartphones, seems only natural.  The problem is that many companies are thinking this way and they are not asking themselves if the online mediums are the right market for them and their product lines?

I recently read an article that quoted a survey from a small business consultant named Manta, who reviled that 59% of small businesses don’t see a return on the investment that they make in their social media efforts. The article continued by stating that small businesses should continually revisit their online-only marketing campaigns to ensure they are getting enough ROI, and get little old school by adding some more traditional marketing strategies to achieve better results.

When I read the article I immediately thought of that senior instructor on the navigation exercise talking about using multiple mediums to achieve my objective.

Here are some of the strategies that I have used (and still use) to generate leads, close sales, and constantly prove to management that they are spending too much money, and relying way too much, on social media and pay-per-click.

  1. Your smartphone is actually a phone - There is not much more powerful in an age of email overload than humanizing your marketing / sales than picking up the phone.  It is amazing how many people enjoy talking to another human being making a sales call rather than a robot informing them that they have just won a cruise for two. We live in an age where everything is becoming automated in our lives, but under the hood, we are all still human beings and people relate best to other people.
  1. Make it about People! – The key to any cold call to a customer is to provide value to them.  Craft your message before calling and be confident, and light.  You need to prove that even though your call is in the end about making a sale, it’s primary focus should be all about a positive experience for the customer, and not just the sale.
  1. Set up face-to-face meetings - I do this constantly.  After a call goes well, I will move to you for a face-to-face meeting. It’s that little personal touch that wows customers because in these days of “every one is too busy” I took the time to ensure that every customer feels that I made time for them in my day because providing them with exceptional customer service is what I am about.  My job is to provide them with the tools/products that they need to succeed in their day and with their business.
  1. Network, Network, Network - When I mention going to play with others, management always cringes and feels that it will cost them money.  Not the case.  If you produce hardware seek software partners or integrators in your area and work together.  As a training provider I seek out integrators, educators, software vendors etc. Networking and maintaining great relationships does not mean that you are spending thousands of dollars on tradeshows.  It simply means that when you get a request for a product or service that your company does not offer…you know someone who does.  That referral means a lot to the customer as they build confidence in you and your company in that you are concerned enough about them to refer them to a trusted partner.  Those customers that you refer will call you the next time that they have a need because you looked after theirs.

If anyone takes anything away from this article it is to combine the best tools out there in online, and offline traditional marketing / sales, to increase your company's pipeline.  Online marketing is awesome, but everything requires measurement, and if you can’t measure the return on investment for your online campaigns, then why are you doing it?

Sales and marketing pros were doing business long before the internet, and if history tells us anything, they were doing some things right.


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