Marketing doesn’t need to be complicated to work — in fact, it generates the best results when simplified and systematized. Many businesses
have a strategy, but they often lack or underuse marketing systems to turn those ideas into results. Understanding and improving your marketing systems is the key to scaling your business, especially when faced with massive changes in consumer buying behavior, technology, and competitive threats.
Additionally, it’s crucial that you integrate all of these moving parts into one cohesive system. Even one weak link in the chain can hold your company back from reaching its goals. That’s why routinely checking your systems is vital for identifying components that need extra attention and strengthening your processes.
What is a Marketing System?
A marketing system is a set of procedures that initiate and nurture customer relationships to maximize lifetime value and generate business. It’s a step-by-step routine that creates a repeatable process that can be measured and tracked, helping your team stay accountable to objectives.
Your marketing system consists of subsystems that when working in harmony, produce the greatest results. However, if you don’t know where your system is breaking down, then your business will struggle to grow. Regularly evaluating your systems will allow you to fine-tune your marketing for optimal performance.
The Difference Between a Strategy and System
It’s easy to confuse marketing strategy and marketing system because they both share the same objective of growing the business. Where they diverge is how they function. A strategy bridges the gap from where you are to where you want to be, whereas a system provides the steps to how you’ll get there.
Systems support the strategy and the strategy guides the systems.
It’s critical that they both work together to achieve powerful marketing. You can’t have an effective strategy if you don’t understand your systems and you won’t enjoy fine-tuned systems without a strategy. Before creating a strategy, evaluate your marketing systems
to ensure your decisions are based on real data rather than conjecture.
Benefits of Marketing Systems
Now that you understand what a marketing system is, next let’s take a closer look at the advantages it offers. Systematizing your marketing will allow your business to thrive in new and exciting ways! If you find that your system isn’t producing these benefits, then that’s a warning sign that it’s time to dive deep into your components to find out what needs to be improved.
Develops a Process
A repeatable process increases efficiency and productivity because it makes it easier to delegate tasks and helps workers do more in less time. Additionally, a repeatable process facilitates communication by delivering consistent messaging to your prospects and customers, which builds brand trust and authority.
Like a machine, a system only works if all the components are functioning. For example, let’s say you have offers on your website that generate leads, but your business lacks a follow up process to turn those leads into clients. With a system, you’re able to identify which components require fixing or tweaks so you don’t leave money on the table.
After you’ve identified weaknesses in the system, you’ll have a much better idea of what to focus on. We recommend evaluating your marketing system’s health every quarter to guide your team’s priorities for the next several months. Not only does this help to reduce inefficiency, but it also brings your team together by creating clear objectives that they’re all working toward.
A system enables you to track your marketing’s performance. Without measuring progress, you’ll be in the dark about which changes are supporting your goals or hurting the bottom line. That’s why it’s imperative to check your marketing system throughout the year to see if your efforts are moving the needle in the right direction.
As a business owner or manager, you know how important accountability is for reaching goals. When there isn’t a sense of responsibility, workers get lax and productivity goes down. A system generates accountability for your marketing by outlining what needs to be done and showing whether those efforts are paying off.
A system enhances all facets of your marketing. It’s not enough to understand your dream client’s needs or have an impressive website if the other components in your system are nowhere near as strong. Your marketing will improve over time when you develop and optimize a system that supports your strategy.
Signs Your Marketing System Needs Upgrading
Even seemingly well-running systems have room for improvement. Additionally, what worked before doesn’t mean it’ll always be effective. There are a variety of factors that can impact your systems like market shifts, new technologies, and regulation changes. Here are the top signs that your marketing system needs an upgrade:
- You’re not meeting strategy objectives
- You’re not seeing the ROI you want
- Your business isn’t getting enough traffic
- Your market share is shrinking
- Competitors are outpacing your business
- You’re not generating enough leads
- Your lead conversion rate is weak
- Your customer retention rate is low
- You’re unable to measure results
- The system’s components aren’t working together
- You’re attracting the wrong audience
- You’ve had the same system for years
If you spot one or more of these signs in your business, then it’s time to review and update your marketing system. One of the best ways to strengthen your system is to regularly check its health and implement any necessary upgrades.
Why Automation is Essential for Systems
is a powerful tool that increases efficiency, lifts revenue, and lowers customer acquisition costs. According to Instapage
, 80% of marketing automation users experience increased leads while 77% see increased conversions. Given these benefits, it’s not surprising that a 2018 Forrester study
predicts global spending on marketing automation will reach $25 billion by 2023 — a 14% annual growth rate.
While there are certain tasks that will always require a human touch such as strategy, planning, and audience engagement, many time-consuming processes can be handled by automation:
- Lead generation
- Audience segmentation
- Lead nurturing
- Lead lifecycle management
- Customer relationship management
- Cross-selling and up-selling
- Customer retention and loyalty
- ROI measurement
If you want your marketing system to run like a well-oiled machine, you’ll need to invest in technology that will allow you to streamline, automate, and measure your marketing workflows. Doing so will increase efficiency and help your business grow. Plus, your marketing and sales teams will have more time to spend on those tasks that require a human touch, producing a higher quality of work!
Components of a Healthy Marketing System
Simply having a marketing system won’t automatically generate the results you want, like building your customer base and increasing revenue. If your system is missing components or has ineffective processes, you’ll be fighting an uphill battle to scale your business. Before evaluating your system, it’s important to understand what it should include so you don’t miss any improvement opportunities.
Here are the components of a robust marketing system to attract prospects, convert them into customers, and retain customer loyalty. Each subsystem plays a key role in making the whole marketing process work. Strengthening your system’s weak components will elevate your marketing and fuel growth.
Be honest — how well do you know your ideal customer? It’s easy to overlook this step in your system, but it’s vital that you take the time to truly understand the needs, hopes, and pain points of the people you serve. Even if you know the market pretty well, there’s always more you can uncover.
Learn about your market by talking to customers, researching competitors, and getting insights from other departments like sales, production, and IT. Stay on top of industry trends by following thought-leaders and keeping up on current events to identify situations that may impact your target audience. By knowing the market like the back of your hand, you’ll be able to craft messaging and offers that will speak to customers.
Without offers, prospects won’t give you their contact information or do business with you. However, it’s not enough to have offers, you need to make them irresistible! Create a strong offer for every major product or service. Avoid loading your offers to just a couple of your products or services as this will lead to an imbalance in your business.
Also, leverage A/B testing to see which offers elicit a high conversion rate to maximize results. There’s no point in keeping an offer on your website, promoting it on social media
, or running PPC ads
if people aren’t interested in it.
In our hyper-connected digital world, your website
is often the first impression prospects have for your business. After all, what’s the most common way people learn about a company or find a solution? They turn to Google. For your business website to be successful, it must provide a good user experience (e.g. secure, mobile-friendly, easy navigation).
Whether your business is e-commerce
or B2B, the website should also be clear about what you sell, what your offers are, and how to buy from you. Prospects won’t stick around for long if they can’t find the information they want quickly. Improve website usability
to keep visitors on the page for longer, which increases the chances of a conversion such as a purchase, email signup, demo request, etc.
A customer relationship management (CRM) system is a type of automation
software that funnels, segments, and tracks leads to move them along the buyer’s journey. Your CRM software should be able to send targeted emails and provide contact management and notes capabilities. By segmenting your audience, you’ll be able to create personalized messaging that resonates deeper and generates more conversions.
Already have a CRM? Find out if your sales and marketing teams use it on a daily basis. It won’t matter what the software can do if your teams don’t take advantage of it. If you find that your CRM isn’t being used by team members, it could be due to a lack of tracking or knowledge about its benefits. Set up training sessions (e.g. monthly, quarterly, yearly) with your teams to demonstrate capabilities and new features so they use the CRM more often and effectively.
Automation software is perfect for creating a bullet-proof follow up process to convert leads and retain customers. Otherwise, you’ll end up losing sales and relationships. If you have a follow up process set up, it’s crucial that you detect any areas where leads fall through the cracks. Furthermore, send automated emails to keep your brand top of mind.
It’s also important that your communications are timely. Don’t let customers and leads forget about you because too much time has passed! Automated email campaigns allow you to set up timers for each email so your audience receives the right message at the right time.
You need traffic to build your business. Whether you have little traffic or your visitors don’t stay long, it’ll be difficult to generate leads and sales. Review your traffic in Google Analytics to see how visitors interact with your website and which traffic sources need improvement. Pay attention to key metrics such as sessions, new users, average session duration, bounce rate, goal completions, and goal completion rate.
Common traffic sources are organic search
, paid search, direct, and referral. It’s crucial that you have multiple sources so you don’t “put all your eggs in one basket.” One day a source might generate a lot of traffic and the next it’s only a trickle because of an algorithm update or software change. That’s why having a comprehensive digital marketing
strategy is best for driving traffic from multiple places.
Retaining customers costs less than attracting new customers, yet most companies tend to pour their efforts and resources into generating new business. Instead, prioritize building up the total lifetime value of your customer base. A good rule of thumb is to invest 10% of your marketing budget for customer retention.
Oftentimes, it doesn’t take much to keep customers. Simply staying in regular contact with customers and showing your appreciation goes a long way in keeping their business. Also, incorporate marketing automation into your customer service
to help meet product/service expectations every time and provide a consistently positive experience.
How to Analyze Your Marketing System
Developing a marketing system is just one part of the equation. You must also analyze it periodically to ensure that all of the components are working. If certain processes are missing or breaking down, then your system won’t be as robust as it could be. Again, we recommend reviewing your marketing system every quarter to identify weaknesses, guide priorities, and measure progress.
It might sound time-consuming, but it doesn’t have to be! Sales & Marketing Technologies
has created an easy and repeatable process that takes less than 15 minutes to evaluate your marketing systems. Plus, it’s FREE! Follow the steps below to learn how to analyze your systems and improve them over time.
Step 1: Get Your Free Scorecard
The SMT Marketing Systems Scorecard
is a visual representation of your overall marketing system that includes key components like market, offers, website, CRM, follow up, traffic, and retention. Download and print the Scorecard to analyze the current state of your system and have a record of your marketing’s progress.
Step 2: Answer Questions
The Scorecard comes with a list of thought-provoking questions to help you rate each section. Answer the questions honestly to ensure accuracy. Each section contains five to seven questions designed to dig deeper into the system’s components and spark ideas for your marketing.
Step 3: Rate the Scorecard
After completing the questionnaire, next you’ll have a rating for each component. Mark the Scorecard with your ratings and connect the dots. This visual representation of your marketing system will show you which areas are strong and which need work.
Step 4: Repeat and Keep Track
While the Scorecard reveals a lot about your marketing system, you’ll get the most benefit out of it by repeating the process multiple times throughout the year and keeping track of your progress. Over time, you’ll see the shape change and expand as you make alterations to your system and see improvements.
Take Your Marketing to a New Level
Strategy and planning typically get all the attention, but without a marketing system to support those goals and tactics, it’ll be challenging to scale your business. However, having a system isn’t an automatic guarantee for success. All of its components must work together in harmony to achieve maximum performance.
Whether you use the SMT Marketing Systems Scorecard
or develop your own evaluation process, it’s critical that you regularly check the health of your system. It’s only through ongoing analysis and improvements that you’ll be able to take your marketing to a whole new level.
Want to know more about how you can improve your marketing system? Call 1-800-434-0339 and schedule a time to speak with one of our marketing systems consultants.