To paraphrase Maugham: There are three rules for creating great marketing. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.

Adding urgency ("For a Limited Time Only," "If you call in the next 20 seconds") can be an appealing strategy for impulse consumer purchases. But it can be off-putting. Especially in business-to-business environments.
Here's a mouthful: Sales is developing a deep understanding of a significant client problem so as to propose and defend an appropriate solution in the form of a value proposition.

Here's another: Marketing identifies qualified prospective clients with appropriate problems and provokes them to ask for help in developing effective, efficient solutions.

The above is an attempt to describe the relationship marketing should have with sales efforts. Marketing does broadly sweeping things, touching many in the search for a few. It does so in a wide variety of ways, each with its own strength and often in combination with other marketing efforts. But the goal of marketing isn't merely to touch.

Marketing strategies should search for and qualify prospects whose problems are the sort that the marketer can solve. An obvious difficulty is determining what an appropriately qualified lead is. Where the sales process is inexpensive and marginal profitability reasonably high, a large number of semi-qualified prospects is attractive. Failing to be successful with some of these leads isn't financially painful. So a lower success rate among a large pool is a sound strategy.

Where the sales process is costly and/or long, prospects should be more carefully screened in order to assure a fairly high rate of conversion to customer. Qualifying prospects means selecting audiences correctly, making offers that appeal to those with urgent needs, narrowly describing the solutions available and making calls to action that require some commitment. Communications of this sort screen out those with marginal interest.

There is a difference between a call to action and a provocation. A call to action is part of most marketing efforts. It asks a prospect to do something that will further the sales process. Call (800) BUY-THIS for instance.

But you can provoke people in a broader sense, moving them from a level of unawareness or disinterest to a more attentive state. Repeated touches do that. They change the willingness of an audience to respond. They should be simple, even iconic, and memorable. Having detail available is a good thing, until it gets in the way.

Product design, pricing, competitive positioning, prospect selection, offers, pitches, terms and media are all variables in the process. Quantify everything and if that's not possible, very carefully define differences. Because if you can't measure what you are doing, you can't learn from or manage the results. Without good data we are all doomed to repeat our mistaken inclinations.

As mentioned in our overview of Fuse services, sales and marketing efforts often overlap, supplementing one another in various ways. The same is true of the processes described here. Coordinate your intentions whenever possible.

© 2017 Fuse & Company. All Rights Reserved.