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The Hard, Sweaty, Smelly Part of Marketing

One of the reasons that CEOs of growing tech firms don’t always appreciate the value behind the marketing investment is because too often “marketing” seems like random, immeasurable folly that can’t be tied back to the main goals of the business. These goals are usually related to revenue or sales achievement. A reason for this is that the marketing team often has no real insight into who the true money-paying customers are or are going to be. Marketing people often discuss casting wide nets to get many suspects into the sales funnel. It often doesn’t really matter who the companies in the sales funnel are, as long as they’re alive. It’s the butts in seats mentality. If we fill the room for a seminar, we’ve done our job.

I’ve always found this cast-a-wide net approach without really caring who’s in the database to be insane. One thing I’ve noticed everywhere I’ve been is that on January 1 (give or take) of each year, there is always a list of companies that have purchased from us, otherwise known as customers. I always thought, wouldn’t it be great if we knew who those companies were before we started marketing?

We call this process the hard, sweaty, smelly part of marketing. It requires research, enquiry, and prospect database development. It’s spending the weekend researching companies based on SIC and NAICS codes. It’s looking up companies on Hoovers and Linked In. It’s checking and double-checking who the executives are at the prospects and then putting everything into a marketing database to accelerate the sales and marketing communications efforts.

This is the core of what the marketing professionals at tech firms should be investing their time in, especially in the early stages. Marketers who don’t sweat during this phase will not offer the total value their company needs.

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