When Marketing Efforts Help, and When They Hurt
I’ve spent my career differentiating myself as a consultant, listener, and creative thinker. I have to break through preconceived notions of a pushy, interrupting salesperson, and sometimes, if the client has experienced trauma from a previous sales experience, this can be quite difficult to do.
Here’s another confession: In order to succeed, great salespeople NEED great marketers.
I have worked for enormous corporations, as well as smaller privately owned companies, and a few in the middle. I have experienced marketing departments that are well-oiled machines, and I have also done it all myself. I’d like to share how each end of the marketing spectrum can impact your sales department, and either help or hinder their efforts to hit their number.
Salespeople and Marketers alike are obsessed with one thing – Hitting the Number. We approach it in different ways, but ideally, you want the two departments to compliment each other and be in alignment with goals and strategies.
With a large internal corporate marketing department, the quarterly promotions flyer was shipped to the sales team over a month in advance. We had regular communication with marketing managers to drive our focus. We would discuss what new products were launching soon, what target clients we would contact first, where to access literature, case studies, product videos and other marketing materials. They had the testimonials ready to go, target customers loaded into the CRM under a campaign, and all we had to do was learn the product and GO SELL.
With a smaller local company, they didn’t have a marketing department. They relied on customer referrals, but I was hired to go gain NEW clients. I found low brand recognition in the community, and all I had was a boring business card. The website was unappealing. We were informed of new products AFTER they had launched, and there was no strategy communicated on how to market it. I had to be creative – start my own prospect lists, create flyers for key product segments, generate content for LinkedIn to educate the business community, and find creative “leave-behinds” to gain attention on cold calls.
Confession: This was all fun for me as a creative person, but it was HARD. It took SO much time away from sales activities, and it had a big impact on my ability to gain access to target prospects. It made the sales process much longer and prevented access to the largest prospective clients.
Studies show that salespeople only spend 1/3 of their time actually selling. It’s a terrible statistic, but I confess, I believe it!
We have studied and trained for hours, years, and decades to craft and curate our sales skills, so why do we spend only a few hours a day actually selling?
I believe that most often, salespeople are hindered because the marketing strategy is either non-existent, or simply not in alignment with sales goals. If the marketing department launches a campaign that generates poor leads, sales numbers will stagnate, and it’s back to the drawing board. If salespeople are spending their own time identifying target account and contacts, ranking them, tracking buyer engagement, and creating their own marketing materials, then you are robbing them of precious time to interact with the client and SELL. This also results in inconsistent messaging if many salespeople are just doing their own thing.
If you can find the right balance of consistent, professional marketing strategies to compliment your sales goals, then you can empower your sales team to do what they do best. We do like to be creative and put our own personal touch on our work, you can’t expect your sales team to do it all. You need consistent messaging, powerful branding, and clear communication of the plan. Maybe you can’t afford the enormous marketing department like the Fortune 500 companies, but you certainly can’t afford to have no plan at all. Work to find that balance, seek experts to help craft the story line and support the efforts of your sales team, and you will then confess, it’s totally worth the effort.
---Sarah Heath, Contributing Writer
Grammatical errors, misspelled names, fragmented sentences that don’t make sense, like this one. Most of us don’t flinch when we see imperfect writing on personal social media posts or in comment sections. It’s different, however, when there are glaring mistakes in a company’s brochure or website.
Marketers who use quality writers tend to see their businesses grow faster and more effectively. Anecdotal evidence has shown that bad writing can lead to customer distraction and potential loss of business. Marketers can appear to be less credible or trustworthy if their written product is less
Here are three reasons why you need great writers to attract prospects and keep your current clients:
1. They can reach your audience
Great writers have the research skills to help companies with effective marketing. They ask their clients the right questions and do the research to make sure they’re targeting their audience with the most appropriate words and tone.
2. They can keep your audience
Experienced writers know how to capture customer attention. Through clear and concise writing, they can transform even the most tech-laden message into a digestible action item for readers, which leads to sales.
3. They translate to your audience
Great writers are in-tune with their marketing colleagues, while also filling the role of advocates for reader comprehension. This is helpful because as your business goals change, writers can help translate new information to your customers.
--- Takisha Roberson, MAB Staff Writer
Like many across the country, The Marketing M.A.B. mourns the loss of civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis.
Lewis gained national prominence on the front lines of the bloody campaign to end Jim Crow laws in the 1960s. He spent the remainder of his life fighting for civil rights and serving as the ‘Conscience of Congress.’ In remembering his life, The New York Times retold fascinating stories of his bravery and wit.
In a hotly contested 1986 campaign, Lewis defeated front-runner Julian Bond for a Georgia congressional seat. During one of their debates, Lewis delivered a powerful line that’s worth repeating.
“I want you to think about sending a workhorse to Washington, and not a show horse,” Lewis said during a debate. “I want you to think about sending a tugboat and not a showboat.”
This quote from Lewis accurately sums up our M.A.B. mindset. For most of our careers, we’ve been workers, doing the grunt work in the marketing and communications industry — the writing, editing, graphic design and project management.
Many other agencies will focus solely on marketing strategy. They’ll bill you for lengthy brainstorming sessions and create a marketing strategy for you to implement, regardless of whether you have the personnel to carry it out. Those agencies are bigger, flashier and often can charge clients more for their pomp and circumstance.
Instead, for us being a ‘workhorse’ and ‘tugboat’ means keeping our focus on the tactical execution of marketing. We specialize in marketing content. We partner with clients to implement their marketing plans through completion for a solid return on their investments.
Like Lewis, we can never lose sight of where we started. As the M.A.B. continues to grow, we’ll keep that workhorse-tugboat mentality.
The ancient Egyptian scribes were exclusive personal writers for members of the government and royal court. Think of ghostwriters as modern-day scribes. We have a certain panache when it comes to storytelling for our clients, who typically are not members of some official royal court. They are everyday folks with something important to share, but either lack the ability or time to execute it.
I’m Jason Roberson, a seasoned ghostwriter. I’ve drafted speeches for CEOs of Fortune 100 companies. I’ve ghostwritten book manuscripts for professional athletes, politicians and business executives — none of which I’m contractually permitted to discuss in detail. I’ve even written a book on cooking with quinoa, and I don’t eat quinoa.
I got my start at an early age. In high school, I helped my dad write his Sunday morning sermons. For my undergrad degree, I majored in news editorial journalism. I then spent 20 years as an award-winning business reporter and editor for newspapers and magazines across the country. In between journalism roles, I worked for large PR firms, often taking on the responsibility for coaching fellow associates on the art of writing.
As a ghostwriter, my role is to be water — shapeless, universally appealing and agile. The client’s needs structure my writing. I divest myself of personal writing preferences and become the client’s voice. (Simple water typically means avoiding words like ‘panache’ used in first paragraph.)
First, I interview the client. I’m listening to how they talk, what they want to say in the work for which I’m being hired and how they want to be portrayed by the audience. We then set a project timeline and a schedule for how often we’ll meet. To stay on task, I now use specific software and lean on my business partner Jarrod Fitch.
One recent politician client kept an extremely busy calendar, often flying across the country every week on speaking engagements. We front loaded our time together to make sure we had a solid outline and a firm understanding of the objectives. We then committed to chatting by phone for 30 minutes every week. The result: I wrote this client’s bestselling book in less than two months.
Not every client wants a book. Clients have hired The M.A.B. for speeches, white papers, case studies, magazine columns, etc. The nature of the project doesn’t matter. We have a panache for serving refreshing water to our royal court of clients.
We take the best you have to offer and amplify it. We start by trying to fully understand
your message or the cause by which you want to be identified. Do you want to be a public
speaker? Book author? Columnist? Perhaps a combination of all three? Next, we conduct
a market analysis that includes social listening to predict how your intended audience
will receive you. We leverage our decades of experience in working with executives and
our vast support network to help move you onto the center stage. As we work to curate
your strengths, we also vigorously protect your online reputation. We use industry leading
software to pinpoint any online information that could potentially weaken your brand. Our
goal is to put you in the driver’s seat of controlling your narrative.
What are some of the most common misconceptions business owners have about marketing?
M.A.B. founders Jarrod Fitch and Jason Roberson met in the late 1990s at the University of North Texas while pursuing their undergraduate degrees in journalism. They graduated, married their college sweethearts and went their separate ways.
Jarrod spent 20 years helping companies with planning and implementing high-impact growth strategies. He became a hybrid marketer, skilled at maximizing awareness through corporate events, trade shows, innovative campaigns and original sales and graphic marketing collateral. He became driven by the key performance indicators of increased visibility, market share and profitability. Jarrod earned his Certification in Trade Show Marketing and Certification in Marketing Strategy from Cornell University.
Jason spent 20 years as an award-winning business reporter and editor for newspapers and magazines across the country. He broke national business stories for the Dayton Daily News, Detroit Free Press and Dallas Morning News. He also managed crisis communications, speech writing and story development for several Fortune 100 clients. Jason became a sought-after ghostwriter for book manuscripts among celebrity and executive clients. He earned his MBA from Texas Christian University.
Those are brag-worthy bullet points, for sure. But no story is complete without a struggle. Jarrod and Jason have both suffered career setbacks. Unbeknownst to each other, they were living separate but mirrored lives. Both endured economic downturns, employer dismissals and emotional distresses throughout their careers. The two would reconnect sporadically through social media and meet up for kids’ birthday parties over the years, while never knowing their career similarities.
In 2019, Jarrod reached out to Jason through social media to discuss their different paths since their undergrad days. They quickly realized they were both fed up with career stagnation and the dearth of effective corporate storytelling in the marketplace. They bonded over mutual setbacks — but became emboldened by the vast entrepreneurial opportunity within reach.
In July 2019, they started The Marketing M.A.B. (Managing, Advertising, Branding). The M.A.B., simply put, is the corporate embodiment of their separate talents for writing and campaign management, but shared passion for simple storytelling.
As with other 2020 graduates, Covid-19 has tempered our celebration of co-founder Jason Roberson earning his MBA from Texas Christian University’s Neeley School of Business. It’s ironically fitting that he would graduate during this unprecedented pandemic. One of the keys to a successful business is maintaining the agility to deal with unexpected forces.
At this stage in our careers we don’t need fancy schmancy degrees to signal our competence, but rather our compassion. It is more of a service to our customers. It means we understand the pressures you’re fighting off and those you choose to embrace, from the threats of new competitors to your strategy for protecting bargaining power with suppliers and customers.
Business isn’t static; you’re operating in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous environment. Your mind is busy processing capital requirements, speed of expansion, scale and scope projections, fluctuations in size of your market, strategic alliances, changing risk assessments and so much more.
We’re proud to be among the employers celebrating the Class of 2020. Covid-19 may have delayed their cap and gown celebrations, but not their willingness to address the challenges that await them.