Reaching out with Marketing

Security marketers of products and services don't have to go it alone

Marketing communications should support the business objectives and strategic direction of the company. These objectives are directly impacted by many factors, some in the control of the organization and other excerting outside forces. These factors include:
* Market - the target audience you compete for
* Marketplace - the environment or where you compete
* Validations - information to support your presence in a market or marketplace
* External relationships - trends, regulations, economic impact, etc.
* Internal structures - operations or product supply to support growth
* Messaging - targeted, consistent and value/benefit-oriented
* Marketing communications - positioning and creating awareness
* Sales - cultivating leads and closing the sale

Marketing and business development must take the lead from the companies senior management and built on the built on the foundation of the companies mission, vision and growth strategies.

Successfully overcoming the unique and significant challenges of security marketing often requires a thorough examination of your company, your previous marketing initiatives and a review of your company's marketing expectations. Do prospective clients know your company and products or services? How does your company position itself in its respective markets? Are you fulfilling a need or providing key services to clients?

Answering such key questions is the first step in implementing a successful marketing strategy, however, follow-through is crucial, and as already discussed, limited resources and time constraints often hinder effective follow-through. When internal resources keep running up against the wall, it's often necessary to look for an external solution. Whether operating as a full-service marketing department or on a per-project assignment, outside partners can play a key role in helping your organization effectively achieve your marketing goals. Utilizing an outside resource that specializes in your particular need can not only limit cost while increasing exposure, it allows association marketing professionals to more effectively utilize their time to concentrate on other core objectives. Vendor resources also can be a valuable resource for information and feedback about best practices in a range of areas beyond the specific services they provide.

Set Goals and Manage Expectations

Successful marketing communications plans must set reasonable, measurable and agreed upon expectations for each initiatives with buy-in from the senior management team-CEO, CFO, COO, etc. and the business development or sales force. The expectations should include accountability for deliverables that are both quantitative and qualitative. Examples include: number of leads generated, number of articles placed in targeted publications, number of speaking engagements secured, projects completed such as reorganization of business development collateral, website update, or white papers authored.

Develop and Execute Results-Oriented Campaigns

Before spending any resources, financial or time, allocated to marketing, you should analyze several key factors from previous initiatives and profile results, such as:

1. What campaigns / channel mix / initiatives / value propositions / key messages generated the greatest number of leads or media placements within the last 2 years?

2. What was the conversion rate for each of these campaigns?

3. Which campaigns netted the most revenue for the lowest investment?

4. Who is your target audience and has that changed due to economic conditions, pricing considerations or new product and/or service offerings?

5. Who are your most valuable customers? How and where do they purchase your product or service?

6. What is the average length of your sales cycle for your product or service offering?

7. What are your competitor's offerings and are you tasked with increasing market share, revenue, leads or business from existing accounts?

8. What are your organization's strategic goals?

9. What in-house vs. outsourced resources do you have available, including copy writing, design, list acquisition, web or database support? Are your expectations supported by these resources?

10. What is your overall marketing budget?

These are just some of the questions experienced you need to consider in the development of an integrated, multi-channel, marketing communications strategy. Other considerations include:

* Focus on business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C), a mix, or marketing exclusively through distributor, integrator and/or reseller channels.
* Primary and secondary targets audiences and the impact or influence of others on the process, such as purchasing
* The level of awareness vs. education required in the messaging, and